Women’s hockey wins third consecutive CHA regular season championship

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Women’s hockey wins third consecutive CHA regular season championship

Photo credit: Avin Patel

Photo credit: Avin Patel

Photo credit: Avin Patel

Photo credit: Avin Patel

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PITTSBURGH — With a dominant 5-0 win over Syracuse (10-20-3 overall, 10-7-2 CHA) on friday night, the Colonials (14-13-6 overall, 12-4-3 CHA) have clinched firstborn place in the conference, as well as a first round bye in the upcoming CHA playoffs in Buffalo. This marks the third consecutive season RMU has been able to accomplish this, with this one being the first time at home.

“It just shows how excellent this program is and how each and every person that comes into it is on the same page. Each and every girl in there wanted to win that game by a mile, and we went out and played just like that, and i’m so proud of everyone,” stated Natalie Marcuzzi who scored her eighth goal of the season in the contest.

“To win one at home like this was pretty cool. I think it is a good feeling for the players too, they got the families here, there in their own rink, and in their own locker room,” stated head coach Paul Colontino.

To the surprise of many, Arielle DeSmet got her second consecutive start despite it being senior weekend for the colonials. This proved to be the right decision by the coaching staff as DeSmet earned her first collegiate shutout with 25 saves on as many shots. With this being Lauren Bailey’s last year at RMU, DeSmet is starting to look like the goalie of the future for the women’s hockey team.

“It will be great to have this experience for next year, and I can’t wait until I come back in the pipes next year,” DeSmet stated.

“Obviously for any goalie getting a win like this is a great moment and a huge accomplishment. Arielle gets the call for starting and she did just a phenomenal job with her role. I think it gives great confidence for her, and great confidence for the team,” Paul Colontino added.

Unlike any other friday first periods, RMU came out firing on all cylinders. It did not take long for the Colonials to tally their first marker. With their power-play doing what it does best, Amber Rennie buried home a nice pass from Lexi Templeman and RMU led 1-0 at 3:49 into the first.

“Definitely working with each other and being with each other for so long helps with chemistry,” stated senior Amber Rennie when asked about the chemistry she has with her power-play teammates.

Consistent goaltending and zone pressure tilted the ice for RMU in the first, and it was only a matter of time before they scored again. Anjelica Diffendal was the one to do so as she scored at 14:00 in the first from Gebhard and Rennie.

Despite intermission, the style of play for RMU did not change at all. The team consistently worked hard and grinded with zone pressure and impressive cycling. At 14:30 they strengthened their lead to three goals, with Lexi Templeman potting home her sixth goal of the year. Natalie Marcuzzi would add to the lead on a three on one chance gone right for RMU at 18:28. With the game pretty much in the bag to Robert Morris, that didn’t stop them from playing just as hard as they did in the first.

“We bend and we don’t break, we continue to play hard, talk, and communicate. All these things that are a colonial style hockey that are really important has made us really successful,” stated Natalie Marcuzzi.

It is also worth mentioning that junior defender Sarah Lecavalier left the game with an apparent leg injury. She was escorted to the locker room on a pair of crutches and was spotted after the game in a leg boot. This does not mark the first time the Colonials have had injury trouble on the blue line. Lecavalier missed time earlier in the season, and just recently Kirsten Welsh missed a handful of games

Speaking of Welsh, with one of the prettiest goals RMU has scored all year, another senior Kirsten Welsh, danced into the zone and scored making it 5-0 late in the third period. The goal came on the Colonials’ deadly power-play at 14:57 and is Welsh’s first goal since her aforementioned injury. RMU closed out the game with a five goal lead and win the 2018-2019 regular season CHA championship for the third consecutive year.

“You are just really happy and proud of them, because to do what they did, especially the girls that have been around for all three, that is just a heck of an accomplishment. I think to try and do it three times in a row is very difficult. It weighs in on you, because you want to win it and your trying to do it three times in a row, and you are playing teams that also want to win it that know you have done it twice in a row, and they want their turn at it. So to do that with a bullseye on your back, I thought our team handled it very well and again, we are just proud of them,” Paul Colontino remarked about his team.

While the Colonials are certainly happy with this win, they still have work to do. Tomorrow at 3:05 pm will mark the last regular season game of the season against Syracuse again. The game is at home on the island and will be senior day honoring six seniors. These include tri-captains Amber Rennie, Kirsten Welsh, and Maggie Lague, as well as Sarah Quaranta, Caitlyn Sadowy and goaltender Lauren Bailey. After Saturday, the team will head up to Buffalo for CHA playoffs where they have a first round bye and eventually look to do some damage this year.

“Goal number one has been achieved, and once Sunday hits, we reset the clock and start gearing towards the next goal,” said Paul Colontino.

“Obviously it doesn’t end here, and we are all really fired up in that dressing room to continue to keep rolling,” said Natalie Marcuzzi.

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