The Robert Morris Colonials are headed back to the Atlantic Hockey tournament in Rochester, New York after sweeping Holy Cross in two straight games with a 5-1 victory on Saturday.
Luke Lynch and Timmy Moore each scored twice and Francis Marotte made 37 saves as the No 7 Colonials rolled over the third-seeded Crusaders.
With the victory, the Colonials will advance to Rochester for the fifth consecutive year, dating back to the last time they won the tournament in 2013.
“It just shows the consistency,” head coach Derek Schooley said to ESPN Pittsburgh after the game. “Up and down year, but we put it together at the right time. … Really just proud of our guys. Stuck with it. You get hot at the right time.”
Matthew Graham scored the game’s first goal for the second consecutive night and the Colonials made no mistake capitalizing on the advantage.
Moore added an even-strength goal for the eventual game-winner and then he and Lynch each cashed in on the power play before Lynch added an empty netter.
Lynch now has 19 goals and 38 points on the season and is having a spectacular sophomore season. The rest of the team’s second-year players haven’t had as strong of a year, but they’ve been coming on as of late. Graham, Lynch and Marotte were the heroes for the second straight night as the Colonials advanced.
“Luke’s really taken a step as a hockey player,” Schooley said. “I think one of the things that held us back a little bit this year is that our sophomores didn’t take the steps that they thought they would. But I think they have now. I think have really come into their own during this playoffs. (Daniel) Mantenuto and Graham, even Alex Robert, Marotte was outstanding. You go down the list. Michael Coyne, I thought had a great weekend.”
NOT ALL GOOD NEWS
The Colonials might need more from their young players. Senior captain Alex Bontje left the game with an ankle injury and did not return, and Schooley said it’s likely to be a long-term injury.
“It doesn’t look good,” Schooley said. “He’s got a non-displaced fracture of an ankle. We’ve probably lost him for six weeks, which means we could probably get him back for the Frozen Four. We need guys to step up. I felt so bad for him because he’s put so much heart and soul into it.”
Bontje joins fellow defenseman Sean Giles on the shelf. Freshman Nick Jenny drew into the lineup for Giles. Though Giles’ absence could be short-term, Jenny’s presence will likely remain.
“We’re not going to replaced [Bontje’s] minutes just like we’re not going to replace Sean Giles’ minutes without other people stepping up,” Schooley said. “Sean Giles was in doing rehab between the second and third period to get ready for next weekend.”