Pittsburgh, Pa. – The Robert Morris University men’s hockey team returned to the ice at Clearview Arena Saturday night as they faced off against #18 Quinnipiac. Lead by both record setting offensive and defensive performances, the Colonials exploded past the Bobcats to hand them their first loss of the year with the 8-5 win.
It was the Bobcats who recorded the opening core of the night as Zach Davies notched his first of the year to take the 1-0 lead. But seven minutes later, Nathan Longpre (Peterborough, Ontario / Mahoning Valley Phantoms) netted his first of the evening to deadlock the game at one. Chris Kushneriuk (Ottawa, Ontario / Wayne State) and Ron Cramer (New Wilmington, Pa. / Indiana Ice) both recorded assists on Longpre's first of the 2009 season.
Longpre connected again just one minute later on a power play to give the Colonials a 2-1 advantage and their first lead of the weekend at the 13:24 mark of the first period. Kushneriuk once again added an assist while Furman South (Sewickley, Pa. / Bay State Breakers) earned the second helper..
But the RMU lead was short lived as Scott Zurevinski hit a shot past Colonial netminder Eric Levine (Wheeling, Ill. / Pembroke Lumber Kings) to even the score once more and send the game into the first intermission with the game tied at two.
However, the Robert Morris offense took over in the second period when knocked the puck past the Bobcat goalie for his second goal of the year on a power play. Kushneriuk's goal, scored 53 seconds into the second, allowed Trevor Lewis (Lititz, Pa. / Syracuse Stars) and (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Ohio Blue Jackets) Denny Urbanto pick up assists.
Just minutes later, Longpre would record his first career hat trick to give the Colonials a 4-2 lead at the 7:38 mark. Kushneriuk assisted for the fourth time during the contest while Zach Hervato (Stittsville, Ontario / Smiths Falls Bears) nabbed his first helper of the night.
At 12:42 of the second period , Longpre would set a new Colonial record as he scored his fourth goal of the night from Cullen Lundholm (Plymouth, Mass. / Mahoning Valley Phantoms). Longpre's goal then extended the RMU lead to 5-2.
But Robert Morris had not seen the end of Quinnipiac. Twenty-four seconds into the third, the Bobcats then notched their third goal thanks to a power play score from Eric Lampe.
Still holding on to a 5-3 edge, Cramer lit the lamp for the sixth time with assists from Brandon Blandina (Centennial, Colo. / Indiana Ice) and Lundhilm.
Two minutes after Cramer's goal, senior J.C. Velasquez (Clarkson, Mich. / Green Bay Gamblers) put the biscuit in the basket for his first tally of the year. The score, which gave RMU a 7-3 lead, featured assists from Tom Brooks (St. Louis, Mo. / St. Louis Bandits) and Lundholm.
Still unwilling to relent, Quinnipiac recorded two more goals just a minute apart in the third period to climb back within two and make the score, 7-5, still in favor of Robert Morris.
The Colonials finally sealed the win with two seconds left in the contest thanks to Velasquez's empty net goal.
Levine made 58 saves in the RMU triumph, setting a new single-game record for stops by a Colonial goaltender. Longpre also set new records of his own, scoring the most goals (4) and tying for most points (5) in a single-game by a RMU player.
With the hard fought victory, the Colonials move to 2-4-0 overall heading into their first conference game against rival, #14 Bemidji State, next Friday night at 7:35 p.m. at John S. Glas Field House in Bemidji, Minn.