In a hard-fought College Hockey America duel over the weekend, the No. 8/7 Robert Morris University and the Mercyhurst University women’s teams racked up one game apiece in Erie, Pa.
In Friday night’s contest, RMU (20-4-2, 9-2-1 CHA) extended its nation-leading unbeaten streak to 14 games, set a program record for wins in a season and built a two-game lead for first place in the conference by beating Mercyhurst 3-1. The previous mark for victories was set in the 2011-12 CHA championship season, coach Paul Colontino’s first behind the bench.
With its weekend split against a league rival, RMU maintained its No. 8 ranking in this week’s USCHO.com poll. The USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine ranking, in which the Colonials were seventh last time, is due out Tuesday.
After a scoreless first period Friday, the Colonials brought all muskets to bear in the second period starting with freshman center Mackenzie Johnston’s second goal of the season at 2:51 of the period. Johnston got the rebound off of freshman left wing Maeve Garvey’s shot and tapped it past Mercyhurst sophomore goaltender Julia DiTondo.
RMU got back on the scoreboard at the 8:43 mark, when junior center Rebecca Vint took junior right wing Maddie Collias’ pass and fournd the back of the net for a short-handed goal to put the Colonials up 2-0. Johnston lit the lamp for the second time in the game at the 13:59 mark, and made the score 3-0 in RMU’s favor. The Lakers made a goaltending change, and junior Amanda Makela came in for relief for the first time this season.
Picking up her 17th win of the season, Robert Morris freshman goaltender Jessica Dodds turned away 22 of 23 shots. The Lakers lone goal came on the power play with 1:30 left on the clock in the third period from junior defenseman Molly Byrne.
On Saturday afternoon, Vint broke Brianna Delaney’s school record for career goals by putting up a hat trick in the Colonials’ 5-3 loss to Mercyhurst (15-7-3, 8-3-1 CHA). She has 17 goals on the season and 55 for her career.
The Caledon, Ont., native scored on the power play for all three of her goals. Two of the goals came in the second period with the first at 9:09 mark and the second at 16:51 mark. Her third goal was at the 4:00 mark in to the third period. Senior left wing Thea Imbrogno had an assist on each one of Vint’s goals.
Mercyhurst got a power play goal from senior left wing Christine Bestland at 10:14 of the first period while sophomore right wing Emily Janiga made the score 2-0 at the 19:42 mark of the first. Junior center Shelby Bram and senior right wing Kaleigh Chippy added back-to-back power play goals in less than 30 seconds in the second period. Chippy had her second goal of the game just ten seconds in to the third period. Byrne had three assists on the day.
Dodds went 31 of 36 between the pipes and gave up her first lost of the season to see her record move to 17-1-2. Makela improved her record to 13-6-3 to go along with her 17 saves of the game. Each team made 12 trips to the penalty box during the game.
RMU will wrap up a six-game road trip this weekend when it travels to Wentzville, Mo., to take on the Lindewood Lions at 7 p.m. on Friday and 2 p.m. on Saturday. Mercyhurst heads to Syracuse for a pair of games with the Orange this weekend.
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.