By Jordan Rinard, Senior Staff Writer
The No. 1 Miami University women’s hockey team is riding high into winter break, as it dispatched No. 12 Robert Morris University (IL) 4-2 and 2-1 this weekend. The RedHawks (15-0-1) have a commanding 13-point lead over the second place Eagles (10-6) in the CCWHA standings.
“We were fortunate,” head coach Scott Hicks said. “With breaks and finals, it’s hard to stay focused. We didn’t play our best, but we’re fortunate that we got the wins.”
The first game opened with a 2-0 lead for Miami after the 4:31 mark in the first period. Sophomore right wing Kaley Mooney capitalized off feeds by sophomore center Katie Augustine and junior defender Morgan McGrath 30 seconds into the game and freshman defender Becca Senden scored off assists by freshman defender Nicole Matthews and freshman center Katie Baldwin. Robert Morris notched an unassisted goal a little over two minutes later to cut the deficit.
The ’Hawks recorded two goals in the second period, as freshman left wing Carly Noble found the back of the net 1:44 into the period, with passes from sophomore right wing Rachael Booth and junior center Hayley Williams. Williams then registered an unassisted power play goal with 1:55 to go in the period. The Eagles notched another goal in the third, but was too little, too late as they fell 4-2.
The RedHawks were able to get back to their frenetic pace on offense, as they had a 43 to 21 shot on goal advantage. Sophomore goaltender Emalee Wills kept the Eagles at bay with 19 saves on the night.
After a scoreless first period Saturday, Williams collected a power play goal off assists by Booth and Augustine. Senden struck from the point with 8.6 seconds left in the period off passes by Matthews and senior defender Lindsey Ellis. The Eagles got a goal with 9:19 left in the game, but Miami held on to remain unbeaten on the season.
The ‘Hawks committed five penalties on the day, while RMU committed two.
“On Friday we started pretty strong in the first period but we let off,” junior forward Izzy Smith said. “We got a few goals, but we didn’t play how we should play. Becca scored a couple goals for us, but we let off again [on Saturday]. We’d have like to play better.”
The RedHawks are off until Jan. 16, when they host the University of Rhode Island. The RedHawks played Rhode Island Friday and Saturday, and Penn State University Sunday. “We need to clear our heads,” Hicks said. “We need all 20 of our players and we need them to play together and keep rolling. We’re hoping to keep our momentum going in the second half of the season, but it’s not going to be easy. We play the top six teams the first four weeks so we need to be ready and focused.”