NEVILLE TWP, Pa. — No. 8 Robert Morris and Syracuse concluded their weekend series at the Island Sports Center Saturday, with the Orange defeating Robert Morris by a score of 4-2 and earning a weekend split.
The Orange jumped out to an early lead on a goal from defender Jessica DiGirolamo. DiGirolamo pinched and picked up a Brooke Avery rebound, depositing it behind Robert Morris starter Elijah Milne-Price. The Colonials were unable to respond until Sarah Lecavalier placed a backhand shot behind Edith D’astous-Moreau in the early stages of the second.
Senior Stephanie Grossi scored the first of her two on the night for the Orange nine minutes later, and the teams went to the locker rooms with Syracuse leading Robert Morris 2-1. Savannah Rennie took a slashing minor early in the third, and after only five seconds the Colonials capitalized on a one-time effort off the stick of first-year defender Emily Curlett.
Stephanie Grossi collected her second power-play goal of the game at during a Kirsten Welsh interference minor, and were able to fend off the Colonials for the remainder, adding a late empty net goal en-route to the 4-2 victory.
ADJUSTING FOR DIFFICULTY
Since being in at least one of the rankings over the past year-plus, the Colonials have seen an increase in effort on behalf of their opponents. After splitting series with Ohio State, Mercyhurst, and Syracuse, it’s not hard to see that other teams are starting to take notice in their success.
“When you start out hot, you have a little bit of a target on your back where at times you get everybody at their best,” head coach Paul Colontino explained. “I thought Syracuse on the first night played great, they played their system very well, gave them chances, and today they did the same thing and raised the bar a little bit.”
Robert Morris fell to 3-3-1 in their last seven games after the loss, the club’s fourth of the season. The Colonials’ fourth defeat of 2016-17 didn’t occur until Feb. 17, 2017 — a 3-2 loss to Penn State.
Edith D’astous-Moreau made her first career start for the Orange, stopping 24 of the 26 shots she faced on the evening. The Laval, Quebec native made routine save after routine save to
“Its tough because we have no film and we don’t really know what her weakness is,” Amanda Pantaleo explained. “But at the same time you don’t really want to over-think it because at the end of the day she’s just another goalie in net. It was a great start for her.”
Leah Carey’s first period minor for interference was the first penalty for Robert Morris on the weekend. The Colonials registered their first penalty-free game all-time on Friday. … Both Curlett and Lecavalier registered their fifth goals of the year in the affair. … The loss drops Robert Morris to 6-2-2 in College Hockey America play, however coupled with the win against the Orange yesterday, the lead remains at 3 points over both Syracuse and Mercyhurst.
BACK FOR MORE
Robert Morris prepares for a matchup with No. 7 Ohio State this weekend- the culmination of the home-and-home series with the Buckeyes. The Colonials earned a split with Ohio State at the Island Nov 24-25 on the back of a Brittany Howard overtime game-winning goal.
“I think we definitely earned confidence from them. If you remember that first game we came out so flat to the point that we couldn’t even come back from it,” Pantaleo said. “We completely turned it around and it was a wake-up call that we were physically capable to play with these girls and we are a better team.”
Syracuse heads back to the Tennity Ice Pavilion on a short turnaround and will host No. 5 Cornell on Tuesday.