|Colonials Hold On for Victory over Holy Cross|
Worcester, Mass. - The Robert Morris University men's ice hockey team returned to action for the first time in thirteen days as the Colonials faced off against Holy Cross on Friday evening. In what would become a hard-hitting affair, RMU would prevail by a score of 4-3 behind a penalty-killing effort that held the Crusaders scoreless on seven man-advantage opportunities.
Coming in to the game having scored eight goals in the first five minutes of a period, the Colonials would net the game’s first goal just eighty seconds in to the opening frame. Senior Zach Hervato (Stittsville, Ontario / Smiths Falls Bears) would carry the puck in to the offensive zone on a 2-on-1 opportunity and continued to possess the puck as he swung around the last defender and deked to his backhand past the challenging Holy Cross goaltender and flicked the puck into the vacated net for the early lead. Assisting on Hervato’s team-leading sixth goal of the year were line mate Jeff Jones (Revelstoke, British Columbia / Merritt Centennials) and Colin South (Sewickley, Pa. / Bay State Breakers). Shortly after Hervato’s goal in the first period, Robert Morris was whistled for a penalty in the defensive zone. On the ensuing power play, the Colonials would benefit from a quick whistle from the referee as he lost sight of the puck before it trickled past Levine. With less than seven minutes to play in the first period, Holy Cross would net their first goal of the game as a shot deflected off of the post on the blocker side of goaltender Eric Levine (Wheeling, Ill. / Pembroke Lumber Kings) and in to the net.
Seeing game action for the first time since the beginning of November, freshman David Friedmann (Toronto, Ontario / Toronto Jr. Canadiens) would give the Colonials a 2-1 advantage almost halfway through the second period. From a unfavorable angle, Friedmann would throw the puck on the cage and sneak the shot through the arm of the goaltender. Mac Roy (Chilliwack, British Columbia / University of Alabama-Huntsville) and Tyler Hinds (Orleans, Ontario / Nepean Raiders) would each pick up assists on Friedmann’s goal. Shortly after the goal by Friedmann, the Colonials would find themselves in penalty trouble as they would have to kill off more than a minute of a two-man advantage for Holy Cross. Coming in to the contest killing 77.1 percent of the penalties they committed, Robert Morris would hold off the Crusader attack during the 5-on-3 and escape the situation unscathed. With 6:30 remaining in the period, sophomore Scott Jacklin (Kimberley, British Columbia / Trail Smoke Eaters) would capitalize on a feed from defenseman Andrew Blazek (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Topeka Roadrunners) and fire a shot over the shoulder of the Crusader goaltender to give the Colonials the always dangerous two-goal advantage. Less than a minute later, Holy Cross would answer as a drive down the right wing boards resulted in a backhanded shot trickling through the pads of Levine.
In the opening seconds of the third period, Levine would make the most important save of the night for the Colonials as he sprawled out to his right and came up with a toe save on what was be a 2-on-1 opportunity for Holy Cross. With just under nine minutes remaining in the third, Robert Morris would pick up their fourth goal as Cody Wydo (Southgate, Mich. / Motor City Metal Jackets) collected a loose puck in the crease and jammed it home before the Holy Cross net minder could recover. Jacklin and senior Adam Brace (Cobden, Ontario / Canisius College) would each pick up assists on what would turn out to be the game-winning goal for Robert Morris. Another quick whistle would benefit the Colonials in the third period. Within a minute of Robert Morris’ fourth goal, play was blown dead after the net was knocked off its pegs just as the puck was crossing the line behind Levine. With five minutes remaining, Holy Cross would again pull within a goal as a shot directly off an offensive zone faceoff would beat Levine. With the Crusaders pressing in the final minutes, Levine and the Colonials would hold on for a 4-3 victory.
Levine - making his first start since Nov. 2 against Bentley - would finish the game with 33 saves as he improved to 4-2-0 on the season and 3-1-0 against Atlantic Hockey foes. Hervato’s goal would give him a team-leading eleven points as he is two points shy of his career high of thirteen in his sophomore season. Hervato would also lead the offensive attack for the Colonials as he registered four shots on goal in the victory. With their assists in the contest, both Jacklin and Jones have a team-high seven assists. Wydo’s game-winning goal in the third period was his second game winner of the season.
The Colonials finish their two-game series with Holy Cross tomorrow afternoon with a 3:05 p.m. faceoff.