Women’s hockey takes break during nine game road trip.

Matt Polaski

Alyssa Benson, Assistant Sports Editor

  On October 21, 2011 the Robert Morris University women’s hockey team set off to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) to begin the first series of their nine game road trip.

  Road trips can be particularly stressful to a team, which is why head coach, Paul Colontino, believes preparation is key when on the road.

  “Road games are interesting,” he says. “Sometimes you get a little more quiet time because you are in hotels, and there aren’t as many distractions. You’re able to get some meals, do some homework, settle in, and get a good night sleep. With those parts it’s more or less being prepared to be on the road.”

  Most would think that freshmen would have trouble adjusting to being on the road so often, however Courtney Vinet thinks it has been relatively easy.

  “There hasn’t been any trouble adjusting to it because our pre-game rituals are usually very well planned out,” she said. “We have a pre-skate the morning of our Friday games and have a team walk through on our Saturday afternoon games as well as very good meals. They make it feel as though we are right at home.”

  Sometimes an important factor to being successful on the road is keeping your pre-game routines the same.

  “Being a goalie, I try to do all the same pre-game rituals at home and on the road,” explained junior Kristen Di Ciocco. “This keeps everything consistent.”

  The Colonials began their road trip with a sweep of the Engineers, and Brianna Delaney’s record breaking point was the highlight of the trip.

  With the nine game road trip being so early in the season, Colontino believes the team will have the ability to become closer.

  “I think what’s great about it being early in the season, is that it’s a great opportunity to get closer, learn a little bit more about each other both on the ice and from a social standpoint,” explained Colontino. “We should bring the team a little bit closer together over the next nine games.”

  Gaining team camaraderie is never a bad thing, so the fact that the Colonials have four weekend away trips as well as a weeknight game against Colgate will be a huge help.

  Despite road trips having the potential of bringing together a team, they can also be physically stressful on the athletes.

  “I think long road trips can take a toll on the team,” Di Ciocco said. “With road trips we’re often missing classes and sleeping on busses or planes which can definitely take its toll.”

  Thus far on the road trip the Colonials have gone 3-0-1, which is a successful four game stint. They are currently coming off of a bye weekend, which will hopefully regenerate the team and get them ready for the second half of away matches.

  “Having this weekend off is definitely beneficial so that everyone can get rested up,” said Di Ciocco. “We don’t need people falling behind in their classes or getting sick from being run down.”

  Assuring that team members don’t fall behind in their classes is important, because of the fact that their most important job is being a student.

  “You realize that they are student athletes, which means they’re a student first, and an athlete second,” Colontino said.

  The Colonials will face off against Lindenwood, Colgate, Yale, and a team to be named later. They will return to the Island Sports Center on December 9 and 10 as they take on College Hockey America foe Syracuse.