BUFFALO, N.Y. — Robert Morris scored five unanswered goals after the halfway point of the game to defeat Syracuse 5-2 and secure the Colonials’ fourth consecutive trip to the College Hockey America championship game.
After spotting the Orange two goals, the Colonials were jump-started by senior captain Jaycee Gebhard, who scored a power-play goal at 11:04 of the second frame on a tip-in. Anjelica Diffendal followed suit, cutting around a defender and firing a backhand shot over Orange goaltender Allison Small to tie the game.
Emily Curlett’s blast from the point proved to be the game-winner at 15:05 of the stanza. Natalie Marcuzzi extended the lead to two 6:06 into the third, with Gebhard firing her second just over two minutes later.
The two teams played to a stalemate for the first 19 minutes of the game, with both teams trying to get the upper-hand through a feeling-out process that led to a series of early momentum swings. Orange defender Lindsay Eastwood opened the scoring at 19:08 of the first, backhanding a shot over a sprawling Raygan Kirk. Mae Batherson’s goal in the early second period gave Syracuse the 2-0 lead.
Robert Morris goaltender Raygan Kirk stopped 20 of 22 in the victory, while Small saved 32 of 37.
FOUR IN A ROW
For the Colonials, it was a bit of payback after a 2018-19 season that ended with the Orange celebrating their first conference championship after defeating Robert Morris. In fact, there’s something to be said about payback heading into this weekend.
“It’s incredible,” Gebhard said. “To be able to get to the championship game in four years, I don’t think it happens in a lot of programs. We’re pretty fired up in there right now, all the way down the lineup we had huge games, and we know we can raise the bar a little bit more tomorrow.”
The Colonials are heading into their fourth consecutive College Hockey America championship game. Syracuse fell to Robert Morris in the 2017 matchup. Robert Morris fell to the Orange in 2019.
“Obviously any time you have the right to play for a championship, the fact that we were able to do it four years in a row is a great testament to our leadership,” head coach Paul Colontino said. “Knowing that we have seniors that have played for a championship four years in a row, thats again the dedication, the commitment and how they handle their team and the pulse they have for the locker room.”
Saturday, the Colonials face the team that bested them for the 2018 crown, the Mercyhurst Lakers, for the 2020 CHA Championship. Puck drop is at 4 p.m. at LECOM Harborcenter in Buffalo.