RMU Women’s Hockey: Preview Of The College Hockey America Conference Quarterfinals


Coming off a sweep of Penn State last weekend to close out the regular season, the Robert Morris University Colonials open the first round of the College Hockey America Conference tournament at home this weekend against the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers at the 84 Lumber Arena.

RMU sophomore goaltender Jessica Dodds made 33 saves in last Friday’s 4-1 victory over the Nittany Lions. Senior center and team captain Rebecca Vint recorded two goals in the Friday matchup. The Caledon, Ontario native’s unassisted short-handed goal started the comeback in Saturday’s 4-1 win. Senior defenseman Katelyn Scott assisted twice on power play scores.

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Besides being on a two-game win streak, RMU has gone 5-3-2 in their last ten contests. They Colonials claimed the third seed based on a season series tiebreaker against the Nittany Lions. The last time RMU hosted the CHA Quaterfinals was against Lindenwood in 2012-2013.

RIT (11-18-5 / 5-12-3 in CHA, 13 points) points) finished last in the six-team CHA conference. The Tigers are 3-5-2 in their last 10 games, but are coming off a 1-0 victory last Saturday over Syracuse. The Orange and Brown are not to be overlooked as they eliminated the Colonials in the 2014 CHA Semifinals.

Tonight, the two programs will meet at center ice at 7:05 p.m. They split the regular season series 1-1-2. Robert Morris opened with a 2-0 victory at RIT on Friday, Jan. 9. The Tigers captured a 3-2 victory at home the next day. When they renewed their battle on Feb. 13 and 14 at 84 Lumber Arena, both games ended 2-2.

RMU has played 33 games overall this season and 20 in the College Hockey America Conference. Here is our Tale of the Tape for Paul Colontino‘s squad:

Robert Morris Overall Record: 11-17-5

Colonials At Home: 6-8-5 / On The Road: 5-9-0

Goals Scored: 67 / Goals Allowed: 87

Power Play Percentage: 14.67 (3rd in CHA) / Penalty Kill Percentage: 85.3 (4th in CHA)

Penalty Minutes – Average Per Game: 8.85 (4th in CHA)

College Hockey America Conference Record: 8-8-4, 20 points

CHA Home Record: 4-2-4 / CHA Road Record: 4-6-0

CHA Goals Scored: 45 / CHA Goals Allowed: 43

The Colonials’ sophomore class has been difference-makers this season. The second-year group includes center Mackenzie Johnston, who led the team with 21 points on 11 goals and 10 assists. Defenseman Mikaela Lowater was second in points with 17 on two goals and 15 assists. In addition, she led the team with 82 blocks. Center Rikki Meilleur was third as she contributed 10 goals and six assists for 16 points.

Between the pipes, Dodds went 9-14-4 with a 2.54 goals-against-average and a .918 save percentage. She started every game of the 5-3-2 surge at the end of the season. It should also be noted that since January, the London, Ontario native has put together a 1.76 goals against average and a save percentage of .944.

Among the seniors, Vint put up 11 goals and four assists for 15 points while left wing Katie Fergus recorded three goals and 11 assists for 14 points. Right wing Maddie Collias had four goals and nine assists for 13 points.

At the other end of the ice, RIT senior goaltender Ali Binnington turned away 26 shots for her 18th career shutout in the 1-0 win over Syracuse. The 5-foot-9 netminder went 8-10-3 in 22 starts this season. She compiled a 1.90 GAA and a .931 save percentage. The Oakville, Ontario native also tied the school record for most shutouts with her efforts last Saturday.

Senior forwards Celeste Brown, Kolbee McCrea, and Lindsay Grigg lead the attach for RIT. Brown led the way with 10 goals and six assists for 16 points. McCrea and Grigg each recorded 15 points this season.

Special teams could come into play as RIT is the second most penalized team in the country, averaging 5.15 trips to the sin bin per contest. They have surrendered 28 power play goals to the opposition.

Let’s fire up the zamboni, refresh the ice, and take a look at what the experts in college hockey are saying about Robert Morris and the opening of CHA tournament play.

Along The Boards‘ Al Daniels has his picks ready for his readers as the CHA quarterfinals commence this weekend.

Gabriella Fundaro examines the opening round games and who to watch out for at the At Even Strength blog.

RMU Sentry Media‘s Josh Yost looks back at freshman Katherine Murphy’s switch from forward to defense this season for the Colonials.

Over at USCHO.com, Arlan Marttila has his CHA Tournament Preview laid out for this weekend’s matchups.

My Prediction: Robert Morris in three with all the games by one-goal margins. There will be no blow outs this weekend.

Up Next: The CHA’s Best of Three quarterfinal series continues Saturday, Feb. 28 as Robert Morris hosts the RIT Tigers at 3 p.m. for Game #2. The third contest, if necessay, is set for Sunday, March 1 at 3 p.m. on Neville Island.

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