NEVILLE TWP., Pa. — Intensity and goaltending took center stage at the Island on Sunday as Army defeated Robert Morris 2-1 on two Eric Butte goals, one in the third period and the other in a shootout.
Nick Jenny opened up the scoring at 2:02 of the first, converting an early power-play opportunity. Later in the period, the teams went hit-for-hit, leading to a heated exchange between bench bosses Derek Schooley and Brian Riley. After a quick official’s timeout the two teams continued their bare-knuckles play, grinding out opportunity after opportunity, with neither squad able to find the back of the cage.
The second continued the same as the first, with both teams maintaining intensity throughout, and it took until 9:48 of the third for a team to break the drought. Butte skated through the neutral zone and fired a wrist shot that beat the glove of Lubbesmeyer to tie the contest, and the squads continued to battle.
The teams continued on an even-keel throughout the two overtime periods, first 5-on-5 and then 3-on-3. The first shootout in history for both squads didn’t last long, as Luke Lynch missed his initial shot high and wide, allowing Butte to end the contest in the first round.
Lubbesmeyer showed quickness in the defeat, stopping 45-of-46 Black Knights shots, however was perplexed by the final stage of the game.
“I’m really kicking myself right now because I’m usually a shootout guy,” Lubbesmeyer said. “I was telling the guys that ‘we’re going to win this now, no chance we’re losing.’ He popped a quick one and I didn’t realize it was one goal-take all.”
Lost in the contest was recently returned Colonials defenseman Jenny. After taking several hits, the junior was unable to return to the contest. Like the defenseman’s own mid-season arrival, Robert Morris welcomed another in-season acquisition to the squad, as Corpus Christi Ice Rays and Pittsburgh Penguins Elite alumnus Tyler Love made his NCAA debut. The Moon Township native rotated in the line-up, seeing an increase in his time after the Strongsville, Ohio native went down.
“Coach Gershon said he will ease me in to it,” Love said postgame. “I ended up actually playing a lot more than I thought I was going to because Jenny went down. The first couple [shifts] were nice and easy, after that I kind of got into the groove of it.
The Colonials head to Johnstown for an exhibition matchup with Ontario Tech on Jan 4. The face-off at the 1st Summit Arena at the Cambria County War Memorial is to be announced. Robert Morris hosts Penn State at PPG Paints Arena the following Saturday with a face-off scheduled for 7:05 p.m. uptown.