Pittsburgh Hockey Digest

NWHL

Third-year pro Rebecca Vint still connected to RMU

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Vint skates in a game during her senior year at RMU. -- JENN HOFFMAN

Rebecca Vint was a dominant player for the Robert Morris Colonials for four seasons, with her last being in 2014-15. Over those four seasons, she amassed 134 career points, which ranks second in program history. Her name can be found all over the RMU record book, as she ranks in the Top 10 for all major offensive categories. She especially stood out with her goal-scoring ability, tallying 73, including 18 game-winners and seven short-handed goals, all program bests.

After graduating, she spent two years with the Brampton Thunder of the CWHL, where she continued to demonstrate her goal-scoring prowess; over two seasons and 43 regular season games, she had 27 goals. She also represented her team in the 2017 CWHL All-Star game.

Vint’s headshot for the 2017-18 NWHL season with the Beauts – Michael Hetzel/Buffalo Beauts

This year, she decided come back to America to play hockey, with the NWHL’s Buffalo Beauts. After two successful years in the CWHL, she is excited for this new opportunity in her hockey career.

“I initially showed interest in the NWHL in their first year as I graduated from college, but decided that I wanted play in the GTA and live at home,” she explained. “When the opportunity arose this past August to have that opportunity back to play for Buffalo, I thought ‘What is there to lose?’ I am just excited to be playing back on the American side of the border.”

Vint continues a long list of RMU connections with the Beauts. Brianne McLaughlin, Ashley Vesci and Morgan Beikirch, alumnae of the program, won the Isobel Cup with the team last year. Kelley Steadman, RMU’s former director of hockey operations was also on that team. Current Colonial, Brittany Howard, was drafted by the Beauts in the 2017 draft, putting her in line to play for the squad after graduation.

The Beauts’ season recently began, and the team is 2-2 through its first four games. As she looks to contribute to a new team, especially one that had so much success last year, her goal for the season is clear.

“Plain and simple- Defend the Crown and make memories,” she shared.

LOOKING BACK

Vint made an impact in all four years with the Colonials. In her first year, she had a team-leading 44 points and won the CHA rookie of the year. She went on to lead the team in points in the next two seasons, and then captained the team as a senior.

Vint feels that her time spent on campus – both on and off the ice – has really contributed to her success after college thus far.

“​It (my time at RMU) gave me the ability to play with and against some of the top female hockey players in North America,” she said. “The hard work and dedication that becomes routine in college really helps you with more than just your post-college hockey career. It helps set a foundation of time management and responsibility that is essential for life after hockey.”

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Vint battles for a puck in front of the net against Penn State — JENN HOFFMAN

Along with her individual accomplishments, Vint was on some very noteworthy RMU teams. In her first season, the first of the Paul Colontino era, the team won the CHA championship for the first time. That team went 19-9-4, and defeated rival Mercyhurst – ranked sixth in the nation at the time – 3-2 in the CHA championship game.

The next season, the team played the longest game in program history, the team put 92 shots on net in a playoff game against Lindenwood, but strong goaltending by Nicole Hensley extended the game to great lengths. Eventually, they prevailed, winning 2-1  in triple overtime. As she looks back on the memorable moments of her RMU career, both of these stand out.

“The CHA Championship my freshman year is obviously at the top of the list, but I am going to go with the thrill that came when we beat Lindenwood in the third OT in playoffs (as the top moment),” she explained. “I think it was in the 108th minute of play where we rushed it in Lindenwood’s end to finally get it in the back of the net. We never gave up that entire game. We all stuck together as a team and fought through right until the end.

“It was amazing, and it’s moments like those where you can see the real passion and determination we all have for the game.”

RECENT SUCCESS

The Colonials of course enjoyed their most successful season in program history last year. Even though she has moved on to professional hockey, she has still followed along with her college team to this day. The fact that the program has continued to grow is something that she has enjoyed witnessing.

“It has been awesome to see what the girls are putting together each year, even each game,” she said. “Obviously like any Alum, we just want the best and are happy for our program and their success!”

She got to witness their greatest accomplishment first-hand this past March. The CHA tournament took place in Buffalo, where the top-seeded Colonials would go on to win their second CHA post-season title in program history. This win also earned them a bid into the NCAA tournament for the first time. Vint, who of course was on the only other team in program history to win the CHA title, was happy to have been able to be there to see it.

“It was amazing,” she exclaimed. “I am fortunate enough to live not far from the Harbor Center, so I was able to come by and support the girls with a couple alum teammates as well and watch the girls become CHAmps again.”

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Vint takes a face off against a Syracuse player — JENN HOFFMAN

Vint had overlapped with a few players on last year’s squad, as they were freshmen when she was a senior. This year, Howard is the only player that she shared the ice at the Island Sports Center that remains on the team.

It seems fitting that she is the last connection between the two, as they are arguably the two best offensive players in program history to this point. Howard passed Vint on the all-time scoring list to take over the top spot in Colonials’ history, which is something that Vint expected.

“Britt is a great player,” she replied. “She is quick, smart, and her shot is amazing. I had no doubt she would be the first one to surpass my career points.”

Howard has a great chance to be yet another Colonial to play professionally after her collegiate career. Given the emergence of more professional opportunities for women to play hockey, this is something that a large number of college players can consider after graduation. As someone who enjoyed success both at the collegiate and professional ranks, Vint shared some advice for current women’s college hockey players.

“Do what makes you happy, follow your heart,” she shared. “If you love the game and you’re not ready to give it up, then work hard and keep playing.”

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