1. An Actual Hockey Game: One could question the wisdom of playing a live game, even an exhibition, on the first day full team practices are allowed by the NCAA, but given the ascension of Robert Morris’ program, it’s hard to argue with anything the Colonials have done over the last few years. It wasn’t exactly a high-stress affair, as RMU unofficially/officially opened the 2014-15 CHA season by dismantling the Provincial Women’s Hockey League’s Bluewater Jr. Hawks 10-2 on Saturday night. Paul Colontino’s squad showed an impressive amount of depth in the rout – eight different players scored goals, while 14 collected points (led by Maeve Garvey’s two and three, respectively) – although in a situation where it’s fairly easy to flex that muscle.
For the record, RMU started their 2011-12 championship season similarly early, sweeping then-club team Penn State and the CIS’ Waterloo on September 23 and 24, 2011. RIT and Mercyhurst, also programs that seem to know what they’re doing, have joined the Colonials in playing super-early exhibitions over the last couple seasons.
2. Preseason Coaches Poll Taken: The CHA released the results of its preseason coaches poll Thursday, and as with the picks levied here, there wasn’t a ton of separation within the top three. Robert Morris and Mercyhurst tied for the top spot with 21 points apiece, although the Colonials took the tiebreaker with three first-place votes. RIT was the closest third possible at 20 points and actually received more selections in first than the Lakers, 2-1. Things became a little less nuanced after that, with Syracuse (13 points) a solid fourth and Penn State (eight) and Lindenwood (seven) occupying fifth and sixth.
3. RIT Dedicates Polisseni Center: In one of those new-arena events that means a ton at the time it happens but quickly becomes forgotten once games are played (just trust me on that), RIT officially opened college hockey’s latest jewel on Thursday. They recorded some of the festivities, which is always appreciated of course, featuring coach Scott McDonald, Taylor Thurston and Celeste Brown representing the women’s team.
4. Tigers Add Marshall to Bench: Sticking with RIT, the Tigers hired former Elmira College goaltender Lisa Marshall as an assistant coach. Marshall only graduated this past spring, so her coaching resume is a bit light at this point – however, she was a spectacular goalie. After transferring from former CHA school Wayne State when that program came down with a case of the dropsies, she flourished at Elmira: 32-8-1 record, 1.22 goals against average, 0.947 save percentage, 23 shutouts. She helped the Soaring Eagles to the 2013 national championship and, undoubtedly, is pretty excited about starting her coaching career with a goalie like Ali Binnington in the fold just outside Rochester, NY.
Trivia? Sure. Before making the jump to NCAA Division I for the 2012-13 season, RIT was an ECAC West rival of Elmira’s. Marshall, appropriately enough, given that knowledge, played in a pair of games against the Tigers, both in a February 10th and 11th home-and-home during RIT’s DIII national championship season of 2011-12. The first game involved 15 saves on 17 shots in 27:54 of a relief effort in a 5-1 Tigers win. The next day, Marshall took the whole game and made another 19 saves, but RIT completed the sweep, 2-1.
5. Penn State Debuts Video Series: As one of the two CHA programs at a gigantic Mega-University™, Penn State enjoys a few amenities some league rivals don’t, such as a large athletic department staff able to produce frequent, high-quality videos. Their latest effort in this category, a series called “Behind The Lion” debuted on Wednesday and offered a behind-the-scenes look at the Nittany Lions’ preseason workouts, precisely the sort of thing we don’t get nearly enough in the women’s game. Here’s hoping Behind The Lion has a long and often-updated life.