It is the ninth year for the Robert Morris University women’s hockey program, and 24 games into a 34-game regular season, the Colonials continue to raise the bar of success.
RMU (19-3-2) has been ranked in nationwide polls for seven straight weeks, and moved up for the third consecutive week to No. 7 this week in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll. Robert Morris stayed in the No. 8 slot in the United States College Hockey Online poll (USCHO.com).
Over the weekend, Robert Morris extended its nation-leading unbeaten streak to 13 games, tied the school record for wins in a season at 19, and gave head coach Paul Colontino his 53rd victory at RMU, thus making him the leader in career wins in program history. The 19 wins in a single season was set in Colontino’s inaugural season of 2011-2012.
Only two schools in NCAA Division I have as good or better overall records than the Colonials. They are Minnesota at 22-1-1 and Wisconsin at 19-3-2, both members of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Robert Morris is 12-3-0 at home and 7-0-2 on the road this season.
The Colonials tied No. 10 ranked Quinnipiac on the road on Friday night 1-1. The Bobcats got on the scoreboard 18 seconds into the third period on sophomore defenseman Cydney Rosesler’s goal. RMU fought back and senior defensman Anneline Lauziere found the back of the net on the power play at the 15:32 mark. Freshman goaltender Jessica Dodds turned away 36 of 37 shots on the evening.
On Saturday, Robert Morris unleashed four unanswered goals in the second period and finished off the Bobcats 5-1 to get victory No. 19. Both of junior center Rebecca Vint’s goals in the second period came on special teams as she scored while shorthanded and on the power play. Freshman left wing Rikki Meilleur’s first goal of the season was at even strength in the second, while Lauziere lit the lamp on the power play to close out the scoring barrage. Senior left wing Thea Imbrogno added a goal at 15:39 of the third period while Dodds made 25 saves to improve her record to 16-0-2.
Vint’s efforts on Saturday were noteworthy as she now has over 50 goals and 50 assists in her career as a Colonial. The two-time All-CHA First Team selection became just the third player in Robert Morris history to surpass the 100-point plateau joining Imbrogno and Brianna Delaney.
The Colonials are 8-1-1 in College Hockey America, maintaining a one-game lead over the second-place Mercyhurst University Lakers (7-2-1). The two Interstate 79 rivals will face off at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday in Erie, Pa., with first place in the CHA on the line.
The first round of the CHA Tournament begins the weekend of Feb. 28. RMU won the championship back in the 2011-2012 season. Winning the regular season and conference championships could get the victor an invitation to the NCAA tournament. That would be another new achievement for the Robert Morris women’s hockey program in a season of excellence.
Larry Snyder is a staff writer for City of Champions and the public address announcer for RMU men’s and women’s hockey at 84 Lumber Arena. Find him on Twitter @Larry_N_Snyder.