|RMU Upsets No. 7 Mercyhurst, 4-2|
Erie, Pa. - For the third time in three contests this season, the Robert Morris University women's hockey team upset nationally ranked College Hockey America (CHA) opponent Mercyhurst. In game one of the two game series, the Colonials topped the No. 7 Lakers, 4-2.
All four of RMU's goals were scored by separate players. Two of the Colonials five assists also came from another thwo different skaters. Three Colonials registered multi-point games on the afternoon. Classmates Katelyn Scott (Brighton, Mich. / Belle Tire) and Katie Fergus (Oakville, Ontario / Burlington Jr. Barracudas) along with junior assistant Thea Imbrogno (Etobicoke, Ontario / Mississauga Jr. Chiefs) each tallied two points. Scott dished out two assists in the win while Fergus and Imbrogno each tallied a goal and an assist.
At 8:22 of the first period, the Lakers tallied the opening goal of the contest on a breakaway goal scored by freshman forward Jenna Dingeldein. Mercyhurst goaltender Amanda Mekala sent the puck out to Lauren Jones for the breakaway. Jones hit Dingeldein in the crease for a backhanded shot into the top of the cage.
After each team had back-to-back power play chances, Mercyhurst committed a holding penalty at 17:30 of the first period to give the Colonials their second power play opportunity of the game. Forty four seconds into the man advantage, Fergus found the net for her fourth goal of the season. The goal marked Fergus' third power play goal of her sophomore campaign. Scott and junior defenseman Kylie St. Louis (Windsor, Ontario / Southwest Wildcats) tallied assists on the first RMU score for their third and sixth assists of the year.
RMU started the second period on a continuation of a Laker penalty from the first period, only to have Mercyhurst deny its third extra-man advantage of the game. At 13:50 of the second period, the Colonials took a 2-1 lead over the Lakers for their first lead of the contest. Fergus hit Scott with a pass coming out of the defensive zone that allowed Scott to find junior defenseman Brandi Pollock (Virden, Manitoba / Westman Wildcats) in the right offensive faceoff zone. Pollock sniped a shot passed the Laker netminder to register her first goal of the season. The assist is the fourth of the season for Scott and fifth for Fergus.
Less than a minute after the second Robert Morris goal, the Colonial penalty kill unit successfully stifled Mercyhurst's power play chance that lasted for a consecutive 3:27. Thirty three seconds of the power play opportunity, the Lakers owned a two skater advantage.
Under five minutes into the final frame, the Colonials added to their lead whenImbrogno scored an unassisted goal to put RMU up, 3-1. Imbrogno received the puck behind the cage and put home the wrap-around attempt from her backhand that later proved to be the game-winning goal for RMU. The goal is the eighth overall of Imbrogno's junior season and second game-winner. With the goal, Imbrogno is now tied for fifth all-time in RMU program history with 5 game-winning goals.
The Colonial penalty kill unit would prove again to be clutch as they suffocated 3:35 of a consecutive Mercyhurst power play late in the third period. The defensive unit finished the contest at a perfect 5-5.
After 18 minutes of play in the third period, Laker forward Christine Bestland scored to bring the Lakers within one of RMU. The second Mercyhurst goal was assisted by Dingeldein and Higson.
With 1:04 left in regulation, the Lakers pulled their goaltender for an extra attacker advantage. Seconds after Mercyhurst pulled its goalie, a diving Imbrogno broke up a play in the RMU defensive zone that allowed junior forward Kristen Richards (Toronto, Ontario / Niagara University) to score an empty net goal and lead the Colonials to the 4-2 victory.
In the two squad's previous seven meetings, RMU holds a 5-1-1 record against the Lakers. The Colonials are a perfect 3-0 against Mercyhurst this season. In the three games this year, the Colonial penalty kill has gone 15-16 for a .938 kill percentage. RMU has also scored five power play goals in its previous three games versus Mercyhurst.
Senior goalie Kristen DiCiocco (Niagara Falls, Ontario / Stoney Creek Jr. Sabres) earned the start in net for Robert Morris. DiCiocco registered a game-high 28 saves on 30 shots, eleven of which came in the third period. In the previous three games against the Lakers, DiCiocco has combined to stop 87 shots. The senior has allowed only four Laker goals this season and has registered a .956 save percentage and a 1.33 goals against average against Mercyhurst. Today's win against the Lakers marks DiCiocco's 31st career victory. The senior is now tied with assistant coach Brianne McLaughlin for all-time wins in RMU program history.
Robert Morris is now 11-11-3 overall this season and 7-7-1 in league play, while Mercyhurst owns 21-6-1 overall record and has gone 12-3-0 in the CHA. Mercyhurst's three CHA losses have all come against the Colonials. The two teams will faceoff tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 9 at 2:00 p.m. for the rematch contest at the Mercyhurst Ice Arena.