NEVILLE TWP, Pa. — The Bowling Green Falcons erased an early two-goal Robert Morris Colonial lead with four quick goals of their own en route to a 6-3 win at Clearview Arena at RMU Island Sports Center on Tuesday night.
The Falcons’ special teams made the difference on the night as their power play got the puck past starting Robert Morris net minder Dyllan Lubbesmeyer three times in eight chances while their penalty kill denied the Colonials on all eight of their opportunities with the man advantage.
“We haven’t had a lot of opportunities to work on our special teams,” Colonials head coach Derek Schooley said. “Power play is a lot easier than penalty kill when you’re trying to put in your system and we didn’t get the job done tonight. We gave up three power play goals and an empty net goal and the difference in the game was three goals. We knew that we were going to be in this short week and it was the only time to get games in. We have to come to compete, we have to be disciplined, we have to stay out of the penalty box and we’ve got to play the game the right way and we didn’t.”
Senior forward Cameron Wright led the way offensively for the Falcons with a goal and three assists on the night while, a performance that was followed by a three point night from defenseman Will Cullen. Goaltender Eric Dop managed to stop 16 of 18 Colonial shots in collecting the victory. While at the other end of the rink, Lubbesmeyer thwarted 35 of 39 in his first loss of the season.
ON FIRE EARLY
Freshman forward Randy Hernandez continued his hot streak to opening the season, the scoring his third goal in five games at 3:26 of the opening frame when he skated onto a puck in neutral ice and blew past two Falcons defenders en route to a dazzling breakaway goal. Just 13 seconds later, junior Justin Addamo took a brilliant backhanded pass through the slot from Jordan Timmons and threw it past Dop to double the Colonials’ lead.
However, the momentum was short-lived as the Falcons seemed to find their legs almost immediately and went to work in the RMU end, cycling endlessly and creating chances that turned into power plays. Wright and Cullen each netted a power play tally to tie the game at two heading to the dressing room. And when action resumed in the middle frame, Brandon Kruse and Connor Ford scored less than two minutes apart to create the Falcon advantage.
TIME OUT TURNS THE TABLES
Following Ford’s goal, Schooley gathered the bench for a timeout and kept Lubbesmeyer in the net. The move paid immediate dividends as Robert Morris clawed back into the game with a series of inspired shifts.
Roman Kraemer picked an opportune time to turn the momentum into a goal as he took a Bowling Green turnover near the blue line and ripped the puck past Dop at 13:29 of the second period to make it a one-goal game. The momentum carried over to the third frame as Robert Morris kept the ice tilted and had to critical power play chances, but were unable to beat Dop.
The Falcons power play then went to work again and did so with authority as Tim Theocharidis beat Lubbesmeyer at 9:57 with a goal that seemed to take a good bit of life out of the Colonials who failed to muster much in the way of close chances to get back into it the rest of the way.
“They’ve got nine seniors and their experience showed there,” Schooley added. “They didn’t get rattled, they didn’t get phased and we did. Their special teams outperformed ours and as much as we tried and competed it was too much to overcome. We were trailing 4-3 going into the third period and we get a couple of power plays and don’t convert and they convert. That was the story of the hockey game.”
Robert Morris will travel to Colorado Springs, Colorado for a pair of games with Atlantic Hockey nemesis Air Force on Friday and Saturday.