Welsh dominates but Howard-less Colonials tie the Nittany Lions


Photo credit: Morgan Torchia

Samuel Anthony

A strong showing from Kirsten Welsh and the Robert Morris defense wasn’t enough to stave off the Nittany Lions of Penn State in a 2-2 tie.

Despite missing star forward Brittany Howard with an upper-body injury, it appeared the Robert Morris Colonials didn’t miss a beat as the team began the scoring early.

“It was definitely different,” said defenseman Kirsten Welsh “But I mean we are just as good without her as we are with her. We just have to fill the role and work off each other,”

Kirsten Welsh was the first one to make a dent on the scoreboard with her 10th goal of the season, giving the Colonials a 1-0 lead just five minutes into the game.

It was all Colonials throughout the first period, as RMU outshot Penn State 14-4 in the first 20 minutes.

Milne-Price spent most of her first period in net watching the impressive Colonials offensive effort while the Robert Morris defense did its job disrupting at the blue line.

The most impressive performance from the defense came on the penalty kill, despite two power-play opportunities in the first period, the Nittany Lions still struggled to muster up many strong scoring opportunities.

Natalie Fraser battled her way into the front of the net early in the second period and appeared to give RMU a quick 2-0 lead in the game’s second act. But after review from the officials, the goal was overturned much to the displeasure of RMU head coach Paul Colontino.

From there, it was the physical style of play and the penalties that come with it which plagued the second period. A total of eight penalties spread out over the length of the second period left it up to each teams’ special teams unit to make their impact on the game.

Gifted with a 4-on-3 opportunity thanks to a hooking call on Penn State’s Natalie Heising. Kirsten Welsh put in her second goal of the game and her fourth in the past three games.

“I personally like the physicality,” said Welsh “I think the penalties today were kind of, weren’t necessarily accurately called but that’s something we have to play through,”

The goal marked Welsh’s second multi-goal game of the season.

Carrying a 2-0 lead into the third period. RMU looked to lean of Goaltender Elijah Milne-Price the keep the Colonials lead intact for the rest of the game.

But Abby Welch and Penn State had something to say about it, putting in a quick goal right at the 17-minute mark early in the third period, putting RMU on their heels to defend their lead.

But again penalties would lead to offensive chances as a checking call on Sarah Lecavalier opened the door for a Natalie Heising goal to knot the game up at 2-2 with five minutes left.

With both teams failing to score, five more minutes would be put up in the overtime period to determine if there could be a winner.

Colonials shots seemed few and far between as the Nittany Lions applied to pressure and pounded shot after shot on Milne-Price.

RMU defenders continued to do their best to block the onslaught of Penn State shots, blocking a total of 27 in the game.

“We don’t only come out offensively but we also can provide defense for our team and that’s one thing we focus on is blocking shots,” said Welsh.

It was a game which got away from Robert Morris in the final period of play as the Nittany Lions were able to grind and battle their way to a 2-2 draw to end the evening at Colonials Arena.