Pittsburgh Hockey Digest

Robert Morris

Colonials sweep Penn State with wild 6-5 win

Brittany Howard chases down a loose puck. -- BRIAN MITCHELL

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-8-34-35-amSTATE COLLEGE, Pa. — With captain Rikki Meilleur out indefinitely, redshirt junior Brittany Howard has stepped up in a big way for Robert Morris.

With the white ‘A’ of an alternate captain sewed onto her chest Howard, a St. Thomas, Ontario native, has been a dominant force for the Colonials both offensively and defensively. Howard added two assists in Robert Morris’ wild 6-5 win over Penn State Sunday to give her four assists in two games against the Nittany Lions and extend her current point streak to eight games.

Howard, who plays with bolstering speed and soft hands, has helped Robert Morris develop one of the best lines in collegiate women’s hockey. Playing mainly alongside Amber Rennie and Jaycee Gebhard, the entire first line for the Colonials is averaging over a point per game. Robert Morris head coach Paul Colontino praised the performance of the team’s top line after the game.

“[Howard] and her line come to practice everyday and work hard, their consistency throughout the week is amazing and this is something that everyone can learn from,” he said. “Their statistics are a great reflection of just how hard these girls work on a daily basis.”

Howard has been so consistent, in fact, that she has recorded points in 16 of the team’s 18 games this season.

“If we can have three players that we can rely on to have a point per game, it’s nice because ideally we’re looking to put two or three goals in the back of the net each game,” Colontino said. “When you put those numbers together, combined with our defensive zone coverage and keeping other teams under two goals, it helps us remain successful in the win-loss column.”

As the standings currently show, Robert Morris has been extremely successful in the win-loss column. The Colonials are now 12-1-5 on the season and remain unbeaten in their conference, holding a record of 7-0-1. Their sweep of the Nittany Lions pushed their lead in the conference to five points and bumped Penn State into third place.

“That’s what’s exciting about it,” Colontino said. “If we have one line scoring on a consistent basis, as well as having others lines chip in, then we have the making of a great offensive season.”


The Colonials received two quick first period goals, courtesy of Gebhard and Amanda Pantaleo, to give Robert Morris an early 2-0 lead. After holding three goal leads of 3-0 and 4-1 throughout the game, the Colonials were dominating Penn State for much of the game.

Coming out of the second intermission, though, the Nittany Lions scored two quick goals early in the third period to bring the game within one. The momentum quickly evened out and Penn State had life.

The teams exchanged goals throughout the period, and even when the game seemed to be over after an empty net goal from Mikaela Lowater, the Lions kept the game interesting and scored with only 12.9 seconds left in the hockey game. Penn State made one final rush to score but the Colonials held on to win.


Gebhard, a first-year right-winger recorded two goals and added an assist on Sunday against the Nittany Lions. Scoring her 11th and 12th goals of the season, the Plenty, Saskatchewan native maintains that she is just simply just a part of the team’s overall effort.

“We just try to help the team win however we can,” Gebhard said. “Other lines have been amazing by chipping in goals and three other lines have scored today as well. We’re just doing whatever we can to win”


Win the win on Sunday, Coach Colontino is now only two wins away from 100 career wins. While his milestone has yet to come, one player for the Colonials met a special achievement on Sunday. Jessica Dodds, the senior netminder of the club, recorded the 50th win of her career against the Nittany Lions.

“[The win] was definitely awesome because you see where the program first started, and in our inaugural season they didn’t have too many wins, and since then the team has continued to progress each year,” Dodds said.

Robert Morris has grown miraculously since the team’s inaugural season and is now enjoying their best start to a conference season in club history.

“It’s been great that we’ve been able to stay undefeated, and since this is a team game, I wouldn’t be able to win without them,” she said

Dodds team has helped her tremendously up front, and even with injuries to the lineup, the team has continued to perform at high offensive pace.

“We talked about adversity in the locker room before the game and we know that we’re never out of the game,” she said.

Even with their captain missing from the lineup, Dodds maintains that the Colonials have yet to miss a beat.

“Regardless of what the situation is, even like the game going back and forth, our team finds a way to fight and battle through it. I’m really proud of the team and glad that we were able to get the win,” she said.

The Colonials are off for the Christmas break until Friday, December 30th, where they will face Brown University in a set of back to back games.

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