Women’s hockey struggles in pair of weekend losses to rival CU

Ashley Potts

The Rocky Mountain Showdown is something all Colorado State University teams go through every season. Unfortunately, this year has seen the University of Colorado come out on top in every major sport. This weekend’s club hockey showdowns were no different.

The CSU women’s hockey team took on the Buffs twice in two days. First, the teams met Dec. 1 at Edora Pool and Ice Center in Fort Collins before heading to Denver to face off on Pepsi Center ice Dec. 2. Both meetings ended in 9-0 losses for the Rams.

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While the score sheet doesn’t paint a glowing picture, the Rams put up a fight and the defensive effort was there.

The Rams killed off nearly all of their penalty kills throughout the weekend, a few of them being 5-on-3 advantages for the Buffs. Performing well under the pressure of being down a player, the Rams stopped the Buffs’ extra player efforts 12-14 times across both games.

Their goaltending efforts also held them together through much of CU’s offensive barrage. Freshman Tegan Ries started in net for the first game and recorded 21 saves before being subbed for first-year graduate student Mackenzie Roberts for the third period. The Buffs picked up their attack against Roberts as she stopped 30 shots in just one period, while Ries stopped 21 shots over the first two frames.

Mackenzie Roberts makes a save during the Rams’ game against the University of Colorado Dec. 1 at EPIC. The Rams fell to the Buffs 9-0. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

Roberts played 55 minutes against the Buffs the next day at the Pepsi Center. She stopped 51 shots and almost held the Buffs to a scoreless second. But, she allowed one goal in the second frame, with only 25 seconds left in an otherwise blemish-free period.

Despite allowing 10 goals in the two games, Roberts still boasts a 91-percent save record this season. Ries was subbed back in for the last five minutes.

But, the Rams’ defense can only do so much. With the Buffs averaging 62.5 shots on goal between the two games, they were bound to outscore the Rams, who only put together 19 shots on goal all weekend. 

“Our offense could use work after this weekend,” forward Katie Hurley said. “We just need to stop second guessing our next move and commit to the player carrying the puck.” 

The Rams are a young team, hosting seven freshmen on their roster of 19. They have only two seniors, plus graduate student Roberts. 

“We have things to work on,” Hurley said. ” Like trust and knowing where we are going to be, and CU has that down. It has a lot to do with meshing with your teammates and building those relationships.”

It didn’t help that the Rams were up against the No. 5 team in their league. Of 23 teams in Division I in the American Collegiate Hockey Association, CSU has yet to crack the top 15. 

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There are multiple women’s club teams in the Western Women’s Collegiate Hockey League with ranked NCAA men’s programs, such as the University of Denver and Arizona State University.

While this doesn’t necessarily translate to the success of the women’s club teams at those schools, it speaks to the hockey culture CSU is fighting to be a part of and the types of players they’re up against from those “hockey schools.”

The Rams recognize that struggle, but try to push it to the back of their minds while they play.

“Once you hit the ice it doesn’t matter who has the better-looking gear or the rink on their campus,” Hurley said. “It’s who shows up to play and which team can make the least amount of mistakes. Unfortunately (this weekend) that was CU.”

The team now has time to recover and regroup as they won’t play again until Jan. 25 when they host the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. 

Ashley Potts can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @ashleypotts09.