NEVILLE TWP., Pa. — The crucial weekend battle between the Robert Morris Colonials and Bentley Falcons continued on Saturday afternoon at RMU Island Sports Center. Fans were once again treated to an intense game and a thrilling finish as the teams skated to a 3-3 tie.
The Colonials had things under control at the midway point of the third period when Brady Ferguson’s shot from the right circle beat Bentley starter Jayson Argue at 13:31. The lead was neutralized when forward Luke Santerno pushed a rebound past Francis Marotte with just 1:21 remaining, salvaging a single point for the last-place Falcons.
“Tonight was a bit disappointing that we didn’t come away with two points but at least we got the one,” Ferguson said. “We were good in spurts. Tonight I think (Argue) made a couple of nice saves and I think pucks were just sliding through and going wide. You have to just believe in your teammates and keep rolling we just have to keep the momentum rolling these next four games when we’re away.”
In an ironic turn of events, the Colonials found themselves stealing two points with two very late goals to erase a 2-1 deficit on Friday night, but on Saturday, they watched the Falcons reach into the Colonials season point total to extract a point with late-game heroics of their own provided by Santerno, who finished the game with two goals.
“I thought we left a point on the table,” Colonials head coach Derek Schooley said. “I didn’t think we played very well in the first period. We played better in the second and third but we had an opportunity to protect a lead and I didn’t think we played with much poise in the last two minutes of the third period and to start overtime.
“We took it from them last night and they took one from us tonight. We didn’t lose any belief and we still got three out of four points. It’s hard to win and it’s hard in college hockey to sweep teams. Both teams could have got three points or four or none. It was a hotly contested weekend and we found a way to get more points than they did.”
Both Marotte and Argue became involved in a goaltenders’ duel in the third frame, each making key saves to keep their team in the game, including a stellar save by Argue during a push by the Colonials on a late powerplay that negated a goal that could have added to a one-goal lead with time winding down.
Argue finished with 34 saves on the night, keeping his team from getting swept during an important Atlantic Hockey match up.
“I thought that both teams had good opportunities,” Schooley said. “This is not to knock Francis Marotte’s performance this week because I didn’t think he was bad, but I thought we got out-goaltended. We had better-quality chances and their goalies made saves and kept them around longer in the games. Both their goaltenders were very good this weekend.”
Max Schmidt gave the Falcons a lead less than a minute into the game, beating Marotte with a backhander from close range. Bentley held the lead until the 6:55 of the second period, when Robert Morris freshman Nick Prkusic tucked a puck underneath the cross bar to tie the score at one.
In a callback to Friday night’s contest, Bentley responded with a power-play goal to re-take the lead off the stick of Luke Santerno at 9:54. Timmy Moore tied the game at 12:32 with his seventh goal of the season and second tally on the weekend.
“I think that’s one point that we might look back on at the end of the season and wish we had,” Prkusic said. “I think every game lately we’ve been taking strides forward and getting a little bit better every game. Today, we just didn’t do it for a full 60 and that was the problem.”
The Colonials ran their record to 10-12-2 on the year and are in the top half of the conference and within striking distance of a top-four position, which would enable them to receive a first-round bye and home ice in round two. Despite the loss of a point on Saturday night, they have managed to go without points just once in their past seven games.
“They took four points from us when we were down there, so we had a bone to pick with them. So we wanted to take all four here this weekend but we came up one short,” captain Alex Bontje said. “We’ve got four games on the road and we haven’t been as successful on the road this year. I think it comes down to going back to the basics and playing hard.”
ATLANTIC PUSH CONTINUES
Robert Morris hits the road in another conference series, as they take on the American International Yellow Jackets. Robert Morris swept AIC in a two-game series at home in November.
— Mitch (@PHD_Mitch) January 20, 2018
— Mitch (@PHD_Mitch) January 20, 2018