|Third Period Rally Not Enough for the Colonials|
Pittsburgh, Pa. – In a very physical, hard-hitting battle, the Robert Morris University men’s hockey team fell to Connecticut on Friday evening in their first home game since the beginning of December. Two goals in the third period were not enough for the Colonials as they fell by a score of 3-2 to the Huskies.
Connecticut would open the scoring in the game in the opening minutes of the first period. Coming in on a 3-on-1 rush, the Huskies would swat the puck out of the air for the 1-0 lead at the 3:49 mark of the period.
A power-play goal for the Huskies would make the score 2-0 as they capitalized on the man advantage at 12:36 of the second period. The goal snapped a streak of 34 consecutive penalties killed by Robert Morris.
Down by two heading in to the third period, the Colonials would quickly gather their first goal of the game less than two minutes in to the period. With a loose puck around the crease, senior Adam Brace (Cobden, Ontario / Canisius College) would put home his seventh goal of the season after an initial shot by Chase Golightly (Temecula, Calif. / Prince George Spruce Kings) was knocked down in front of the crease. Forward Zach Hervato (Stittsville, Ontario / Smiths Falls Bears) would record career point 49 with an assist on Brace’s goal.
UConn would respond quickly as the Huskies crashed the net and were rewarded with their third goal of the game and second while on the power play as they quickly regained a two-goal advantage.
Killing a seventh penalty committed by RMU, sophomore Cody Wydo (Southgate, Mich. / Motor City Metal Jackets) would bring the team back to within a goal. Streaking down the left wing, Wydo would then cut in front of the net to draw a tripping call all while getting off a backhanded shot that would beat the Connecticut goaltender. Defenseman Andrew Blazek (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Topeka Roadrunners) was credited with an assist after a pass that sprung Wydo in on net.
As the final minutes ticked off the clock, the Colonials feverishly pressured the UConn defense with multiple chances with an extra attacker. Even outshooting the Huskies by a 14-7 margin in the third period was not enough for the Colonials to come away with a third goal.
Goaltender Eric Levine (Wheeling, Ill. / Pembroke Lumber Kings) would see his record fall to 8-4-2 with the loss while making 26 saves. In the game, Robert Morris would hold the edge in shots, 32-29, as freshman Brandon Denham (Milton, Ontario / Oakville Blades) led the Colonials with five shots on goal. Coming in to the game averaging 14.3 penalty minutes per game, RMU was whistled for seven infractions and allowed ten shots on goal while killing those penalties.
After three straight games without a power-play goal and having the power play slip to dead last in the NCAA at 8.5 percent, the Colonials debuted a revamped man-advantage strategy. While puck possession and movement increased in the attacking zone, RMU was held off of the scoreboard for the fourth straight game as the team went 0-5 on the power play. Head Coach Derek Schooley commented that in Atlantic Hockey play the power play would need to be relied on in order to win the special teams battle and to win games down the stretch towards the playoff.
Robert Morris concludes the two-game series against Connecticut with a game tomorrow evening at 7:05 p.m. at the 84 Lumber Arena.