There’s no place like home


Photo credit: Sarah Heastings

Sarah Heastings

The Robert Morris University women’s ice hockey team won its first regular season home game on Oct. 7. Robert Morris outscored their opponent, RPI, 6-3.

As soon as the puck hit the ice, RMU was on fire. Showing their dominance and aggression early on, the Colonials quickly gained momentum.

Barely a minute into the game, an interesting bounce off a skate left the puck on the tape of freshman forward Jaycee Gebhard’s stick. Tapping it past RPI’s goalie Kira Bombay, Gebhard gave the Colonials an early advantage. She was assisted by teammates sophomore forward Amber Rennie and junior defenseman Katherine Murphy.

She was far from done, however. Six minutes later, at 7:23, Gebhard found the net yet again, only this time on the power play. She was assisted again by Rennie as well as sophomore defender Maggie LaGue.

RMU’s next goal came from junior forward Jessica Gazzola on the power play at 18:37. She was assisted by teammate senior forward Maeve Garvey, making the score 3-0.

The crowd in 84 Lumber Arena went wild.

Moving into the second period, momentum started to shift away from Robert Morris and favored RPI. Physical play became equal and the Engineers were nearly able to out-shoot the Colonials.

However, momentum had shifted, and it was inevitable that the crowd was going to witness a RPI comeback.

At 5:51, junior forward Amanda Pantaleo was sent to the box for hooking. Cashing in on the opportunity, the Engineers’ Hannah Behounek found her way past sophomore goaltender Lauren Bailey to give RPI its first goal of the night.

At 10:41, Megan Hayes would extend that score to 3-2 with an even strength goal. She was assisted by teammates Blake Orosz and Sam Nolan.

RMU wasn’t going down without a fight, however. The team’s poise and skill showed through, helping lift them to success.

“We definitely kept the pressure up,” said Gebhard of the team’s perseverance, “We needed to get it [the puck] out and get deep smart plays. We settled it down and held them off.”

At 11:35, Pantaleo gathered in the puck and buried it behind Bombay, putting the Colonials up 4-2. She was assisted by freshman forward Natalie Marcuzzi and sophomore forward Sarah Quaranta.

Both teams headed to the locker room with two goals each, and the determination to control the third period.

Stepping back out onto the ice for the last 20 minutes of play, both teams were ready for a battle.

Starting the period, Rennie found the net at 3:39 with the help of junior forward Brittany Howard and junior defenseman Natalie Fraser. That gave the Colonials a comfortable 5-2 advantage.

RPI pushed back, however, and closed the gap to 5-3 four minutes later with an even strength goal from Makenna Thomas.

The Colonials were not done, though. Ending the game strong, Garvey tapped in the final goal of the game at 19:07 with less than a minute of play left. She was unassisted in this effort and sealed the victory for her team.

Though RMU started the game off dominant, RPI managed to make a comeback. The surge may have been intimidating, but as the Colonials calmed down their play and went back to the basics, they were able to settle down and control the puck.

The Colonials will face the Engineers again on Oct. 8 at 3:05 p.m. at 84 Lumber Arena.