“Melissa has a great passion for the game along with a high hockey IQ,” said RIT head coach Scott McDonald in a statement. “Her playing career speaks for itself, as she played at a high level and was a proven leader. I am confident she will make a seamless transition from player to coach. Myself along with (current RIT assistant coach) Shane Madolora are excited to work with her as we get ready to start the season.”
Last season, Piacentini played for EV Bozen 84 in Bolzano, Italy, helping lead the team to the Italian League and European Women’s Hockey League championships.
Piacentini played four seasons at College Hockey America rival Syracuse from 2012 to 2016. Named the CHA Player of the Year in 2016, Piacentini finished her Syracuse career as the program’s all-time leader in points (112), goals (53), assists (59), plus/minus (+60) and multi-point games (27). She was a CHA First Team selection in 2015 and earned second team honors in 2016, as Syracuse advanced to CHA Championship game three times.
Piacentini, who also served as an assistant captain for the Orange in 2015-16, earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and was a two-time CHA All-Academic Team selection. In 2016, she won the Syracuse University Courage 8 Award, ‘Cuse Cares Team Award and was a nominee for the Doris Soladay Award.
“I’m excited for this great opportunity to join the RIT community,” added Piacentini. “RIT hockey has a bright future and I am very excited to be a part of it. With its high level of education and state-of-the-art facilities, RIT has the ability to be a top competitor in women’s hockey.”