by Janet Schultz, NYHOL
Photos by Janet Schultz Photography©
RIT is back on the ice and struggling in its first five games, losing all. However, a look at who they played may be the answer. RIT has faced two championship teams– Mercyhurst and nationally ranked Colgate.
Bruce B. Bates Women’s Ice Hockey Coach Celeste Brown told media members early on that this was a puzzle the coaching staff would be putting together piece-by-piece. Some of those pieces are falling into place and others still need to find their location.
“The whole season is going to be process-oriented,” said Brown. “I thought we showed strong promise against Mercyhurst, which is a great sign.”
“Colgate was a tough series but with respect to them they are a top team in the country. That’s the level we ultimately want to get to.”
She feels the younger players had a great opportunity to see how top teams play and where and how they need to get better.
“We had all those players playing in different situations and that’s helping me learn where we need to improve,” said Brown. “The result with Union was not what we wanted, so we need to go back to the drawing board.”
“Our identity is still young and needs to grow and be real. It needs to be every day, every shift and that is a lot for a team to grasp on to” continued Brown.
With 12 freshman on the team Brown has found the older players have taken on the leadership role. But as Brown noted new players in a new environment take more than a day, a week, a month to accumulate.
Brown says the biggest jump for college hockey is from the freshman year to the sophomore year.
Last season they were grateful to play and Brown found it was a chance to see what the program was and where they needed to get to. She considered it an an unbelievable opportunity.
“Results were not great but it was better than not playing,” said Brown. “It also gave us an opportunity to play our league mates and understand where they were at.
“We are choosing to see the positive out of each game, because there are positives in each game. That’s what we need to do and that’s what we want to do to continue to get better.”
One positive from the Union game was that Bailey Kehl was named CHA Rookie of the Week. Kehl had 2 assists and 2 total blocks in the two-game series.
Scoring this weekend for RIT were Emma Roland, Lindsay Maloney, Abby Davies and Megan McCormick. On Friday Sarah Coe stopped 29 of 36 shots (one empty netter) and on Saturday Taylor Liotta stopped 26 of 30 shots (one empty netter).
Union is coming off a no-game season due to the Pandemic. In 2019-2020 they went 5-24-5 overall.
Scoring for Union over the weekend series against RIT were Celeste Beaudoin, Josie McLeod, Grace Heiting, Maddie Suitor, Paige Greco, and Maren Friday. Oliva Rinzel stopped a total of 27 shots on 32 attempts over the weekend series.
Head Coach Josh Sciba was an assistant coach at Colgate and was the head coach at Niagara University Women’s Ice Hockey prior to taking the reigns at Union.
RIT faces UConn at home on Friday, Oct. 8 and Saturday, Oct. 9. Start times are 6 p.m. and 2 p.m, respectively. The UConn women’s hockey team was picked fourth in the 2021-2022 Hockey East Preseason Poll. The Huskies finished the 2020-2021 season 7th in Hockey East with an 8-9-1 record.
UConn is coached by former Niagara University men’s ice hockey stand-out Chris MacKenzie. MacKenzie served as NU team captain all four seasons of his career. In his freshman year he was chosen by Coach Blaise MacDonald and then-Assistant Coach Dave Burkholder as the program’s first captain.