Robert Morris women’s hockey team seeks to climb conference

The ballots have been collected in College Hockey America’s preseason coaches’ poll and the Robert Morris University women’s ice hockey team was selected to finish third in the conference for the upcoming 2013-14 season.

Gathering five first place votes in the coaches’ poll, was last season’s regular season champion and tournament champion, Mercyhurst University. The Lakers, with a total of 25 points overall, grabbed the top spot. The Syracuse Orange finished second with 19 points and then it was RMU with a total of 18 points and the final first place vote.

Rounding out the final three spots were the RIT Tigers in fourth place with 13 points, followed by the Lindenwood University Lions with nine points and the Penn State Nittany Lions with six points.

The Colonials finished the 2012-13 season with a 15-15-3 record, and won a CHA Tournament game for the fourth consecutive season. Among those 15 victories was a two-game sweep of then No. 4/5-ranked Mercyhurst in December, and the Blue and White brought home a triple-overtime CHA first round tournament win over Lindenwood.

Now in his third season as head coach, Paul Colontino enters the upcoming 2013-14 season with a record of 34-24-7 at RMU. In his first season as head coach, Colontino won both the CHA and “Coach of the Year” awards in 2011-2012. Also under his watch, the Colonials were one of eight programs nationally to allow fewer than two goals per game during the 2011-2012 season.

Coach Colontino has brought in a group of eight freshmen – five forwards, one defenseman, and two goaltenders – for the 2013-2014 campaign. The rest of the 24-player roster breaks down as follows: five seniors, seven juniors and four sophomores.

This year’s Blue and White squad has 13 forwards, eight defensemen, and three goaltenders. They will be led by junior center Rebecca Vint, who had 16 goals, 17 assists for a total of 33 points for the Colonials. She also had four game-winning goals last season. Vint comes into her junior campaign ranked fourth in program history in career points with 77.

Senior left wing Thea Imbrogno led the team last season in power play goals with five. She also finished second on the team with 11 goals, 12 assists, and tied for second in total points with fellow senior forward Kristen Richards with 23. Imbrogno put together multi-point efforts in five different games for RMU.

Richards played in 32 out of 33 games for RMU last season. She contributed nine goals and 14 assists, and was ranked third on the squad with 105 shots.

Some of the young Colonials to watch this season include freshmen forwards Rikki Meilleur and Brittany Howard, and freshman goaltender Jessica Dodd.

The Colonials will begin exhibition play this Sunday against the Toronto Aeros. Faceoff is set for 1:05 p.m. at 84 Lumber Arena, part of the RMU Island Sports Complex, located on Neville Island.

Colonials Clipboard: On Saturday, Sept. 21, the Robert Morris University women’s hockey team participated in the Pittsburgh 2013 Walk to Cure Diabetes at Schenley Park in Oakland, PA. The event was hosted by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Colonials raised a total of $3,868.54 to support the cause.

Back in August , former RMU goaltender Delayne Brian was selected by Team Alberta in the second round of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League Draft. Brian becomes the first Colonial to be drafted in the CWHL since Brianne McLaughlin, who was selected 24th overall by the Burlington Barracudas in the 2010 CWHL Draft.

Last season, Robert Morris women’s ice hockey accomplished a conference best 21 selections on the CHA All-Academic Team. Student-athletes must post a 3.0 GPA or higher during the 2012-2013 academic year to qualify for the CHA All-Academic squad.

Sophomore forward Katelyn Scott was recognized as one of a conference-record 11 athletes named CHA Student-Athletes of the Year. This honor is given to players that post a cumulative GPA of 4.0.