NEVILLE TWP, Pa. — The Robert Morris Colonials opened up their 2017-18 season with a commanding 4-1 win over Toronto-based Ryerson University on Saturday night at RMU Island Sports Center.
For an exhibition game, there was plenty of fanfare, with no shortage of storylines to elevate the game beyond a mere preseason tuneup.
Just 24 hours prior to face-off, the Colonials put a cap on the 2016-17 season by receiving their College Hockey America championship rings in a special ceremony. To celebrate that event, the team hosted friends, family and team alumni for the exhibition.
But that wasn’t the only drama as the Colonials routed Ryerson.
Enter Emma Low-A-Chee. The former Colonials forward transferred to Ryerson over the summer and dressed against her former teammates. She was in the starting lineup and record a blocked shot in the contest.
Enter Caitlyn Sadowy. The junior last saw game action on Sept. 23, 2016, in the Colonials’ exhibition game against the Toronto Jr. Aeros before the 2016-17 season. In the second period of that game, she broke both arms while awkwardly falling behind the net and subsequently missed the entire season.
“It’s been bumpy,” Sadowy said about her recovery. “It’s been a long road. I had the team behind me, supporting me. I was able to jump on the ice over the summer, and trained as much as I could. I came back and knew that I was just another player and had to step up my game to theirs.”
Fate has a funny way of showing its face. A year to the day after her season ended prematurely, the forward from Woodbridge, Ontario was camped out on the blue paint just as the puck would arrive. While depositing it behind Ryerson goaltender Rachel Seeley, that process showed that it was well underway.
Redshirt senior Brittany Howard added two goals for the Colonials and first-year forward Lexi Templeman netted another in the victory. Jessica Gazzola added two assists.
Returners Lauren Bailey and Elijah Milne-Price and first-year Molly Singewald took turns in net, stopping 9-of-10 Rams’ shots.
THE ROAD AHEAD
The exhibition game was the last time that the Colonials will see their home rink for game action for the better part of two months, as the team is set to go on a 10-game road trip. After starting the year in Mankato, Minn., on Oct. 6, the Colonials will travel to Maine, Rhode Island, State College, and St. Louis over a period of five weeks. The next time the Colonials will suit up at their home ice is a home matchup with RIT the weekend of Nov. 10 and 11.
That put a little more emphasis on the game from a readiness standpoint. College hockey teams only get one exhibition, and with the Colonials set to open with so many road trips, they won’t have much time to make adjustments in the early going.
“The game itself was exactly what we wanted,” head coach Paul Colontino said. “We wanted to get our heart rates up, we wanted to go through the game situation, we wanted to get lines going. We want to get all those summer legs out of us so that when we get into NCAA competition in couple weeks, we’re ready to go.”