NEVILLE TWP., Pa. — Facing hot Lindenwood goaltender Jolene DeBruyn, Robert Morris decided to send some rubber her way.
A lot of rubber. The Colonials attempted 71 shots, with 45 of them finding the frame, but DeBruyn fought just enough of them off to hold on for a 2-2 draw Friday afternoon at RMU Island Sports Center.
Robert Morris got a first-period tally from Lexi Templeman on a pretty deke to even the score after Taylor Girard had given the Lions an early 1-0 lead on a power-play goal.
But pretty wasn’t going to be the answer for the Colonials. When they had open looks, shots ticketed for the corners frequently sailed high and wide and head coach Paul Colontino said that was one of the reasons only 55 percent of RMU’s attempts found the frame.
“The only shots we got through were are field goals — the ones that went five feet wide,” Colontino said. “That’s the truth of it. We had some great opportunities to one-time, some great opportunities to shoot off the rush, and we either hit the goalie square in the chest, we shot it wide, or it got blocked.”
In the second period, the Colonials tried a different tact. Emilie Harley came out of the box as RMU finished up a penalty killed and sparked a 3-on-2 with Jaycee Gebhard and Amber Rennie. Gebhard took a shot from a sharp angle that deflected off Rennie’s skate and trickled across the goal line.”
“We got good numbers and that’s the difference — going to the net, stick on the ice, ready to stop the puck,” Colontino said. “It becomes a difference maker.”
Gebhard said it can be hard to make the gritty play instead of the pretty play, especially when a player feels like she has room to work with, but that the Colonials know those are the kind of goals that are going to be necessary as they advance through the season and hopefully, into the postseason.
Rennie’s goal gave the Colonials a 2-1 lead heading into the final frame, but the opportunistic Lions took advantage of their opportunities to get an odd-man rush and Hannah Alt put a wrist shot behind Lauren Bailey 3:22 into the third to tie things up.
Robert Morris has defenders that are active on the offensive end and Lindenwood likes to try to counter-punch and create those uneven rushes. Bailey said that Robert Morris was ready for the tactic, but just needed to execute more sharply.
The Colonials will get another shot at the Lions on Saturday, when the second game of the two-game set at RMU Island Sports Center will face off at 1 p.m.