NEVILLE TWP., Pa. — The Robert Morris women’s hockey team outshot non-conference foe RPI 58-18. The Colonials dominated with the puck, forcing goalie Lovisa Selander to hold her ground all afternoon. Unfortunately for the Colonials she did just that and shut out the Colonials 1-0, pushing them to 1-4 on the season.
Head coach Paul Colontino blamed their lack of finishing the overwhelming amount of opportunities presented to them on their inability to start. Colontino was quick to point to the maturity of his team leading to the start. He sees the slow start correlating to being unable to finish in front of the net.
“We need a higher level of maturity from our upperclassmen,” Colontino bluntly stated. “We need a group that shows poise, and confidence, but yet has a strong work ethic from the start to the end. I thought we were too soft in the first period- too slow to start.”
The way that Colontino sees it, the slow start got the team off of their game. The Colonials did what it took to get opportunities, and Colontino admitted he thought the chances were good. However, the team did not put in the effort he knows they can to finish those opportunities. In a snowball effect, the failure to capitalize on chances led to restlessness, causing them to miss even more opportunities.
“As the game went on they put more and more pressure on themselves,” Colontino stated. “Sometimes you grip the stick too tight. We worked for pucks, and we had chances, we set plays up, we did not finish. That’s the hardest part for so many people. Everyone can get 95-percent of the way there, but that extra five sometimes never gets done.”
The players agreed with the sentiment and looked only to themselves for the loss, despite a 58 save performance on the other end.
“There was a definite disconnect between effort and communication,” added sophomore Emily Curlett. “We should have been ready to go from the drop of the puck through the end of the third period. Their goalie stood on her head, but we had chances.”
“The chances were there, obviously,” added senior Amber Rennie. “We need to be ready to take advantage every time they are there.”
The Colonials will now have revenge on their minds as they host RPI tomorrow, hoping to take advantage with a second chance.
Curlett, Iron Woman
One player who did put in the full effort from the puck drop to the end of the game was sophomore Emily Curlett, leading her team in blocks and shots.
“Emily had a great game right from the start,” Colontino noted. “She was one of the players we talked about that put in 60 minutes.”
Curlett has been a revelation this season after joining the team last year. As a first-year, she led the conference in blocked shots and holds the team record for goals by a rookie. Through the first four games, Curlett was leading the team and conference with 13 blocks. She added to that on Friday with another five block performance.
“Part of it is luck,” Curlett laughed off when asked of her success when it comes to getting in front of the net. “One of my goals is to block shots, keep them from the net in the first place. It is a small part of the game that you do not notice, but it goes a long way.” she added.
It is inspiring to see Curlett having an impact on both sides of the ice. Curlett is establishing a defensive reputation but has always prided herself in being the defensive weapon who can step up with offensive momentum if needed.
“My offensive side is kind of my pride point,” Curlett admitted. “I just try to contribute any way I can offensively or defensively,” she added.
Her effort is not going unnoticed. Paul Colontino sees a player helping on both sides of the ice, and playing from start to finish. With that in mind, he is not shocked at all to see the stats start to show Curlett being an impact performer.
“Her consistency and mental awareness and mental toughness help those stats,” Colontino gloated. “She is playing all 60 every single night. When you do that you create more chances. She is there every single play. When you miss a period here or there, they add up on the stat sheet. So over time, you see a positive trend for her on the stat sheet because you are not seeing her miss a period.
The impact of Curlett is showing in the secondary stats in early into her sophomore season. If Curlett continues to put in full efforts every night, those stats are going to turn into goals scored and games won.
Robert Morris closes the series with RPI at Colonials Arena at Robert Morris Island Sports Center at 3:05 on Saturday. The showdown with defending CHA Champions Mercyhurst looms shortly in the distance, next Friday and Saturday at the Mercyhurst Ice Center.