NEVILLE TWP.,Pa — In a hotly contested, dramatic and physical Atlantic Hockey battle, the Robert Morris Colonials defeated the visiting Mercyhurst Lakers as Michael Coyne placed a rebound past starting Laker net-minder Garrett Metcalf with nine seconds in the second phase of overtime. The win gave the Colonials two points on the night while Mercyhurst earned one point for their effort on the evening.
— Mitch (@PHD_Mitch) December 1, 2019
“Three on three is all about puck possession so I kicked it out to Justin (Addamo) and he drove it wide and I just went to the net,” Coyne said. “I knew there wasn’t much time left and the puck was in my feet and I just threw it upstairs. It was kind of a lucky bounce but we’ll take the extra point.”
The Colonials came out with a good deal of intensity to start the game and created chances from the drop of the puck, amassing a total of 41 shots on the night. After a scoreless first twenty minutes, the Lakers drew first blood on a shorthanded goal from Khristian Acosta at 5:49.
The goal came just moments after a very scary moment as Colonial forward Grant Hebert took a shoulder to the head from Mercyhurst defenseman Brendan Riley and laid nearly motionless on the ice for over 10 minutes.
“Thoughts and prayers out there to Grant Hebert,” Colonials head coach Derek Schooley said. “It’s an unfortunate situation and those are the kind of hits that we want to get out of the game. We’ve got some good news so far, that he’s got some feeling and movement, but that’s a scary thing to happen and it’s tough to go out and play right after that happens.”
When action resumed following Acosta’s goal, Aidan Spellacy scored his fourth goal of the season on a two-man advantage that occurred during Riley’s major penalty to tie the score at one a-piece at the 7:00 minute mark of the middle frame.
Colonials defenseman Nolan Schaeffer’s first career goal came at an opportune time, as he let loose a hard shot from just inside the blue line to put his team in the driver’s seat at 15:15 of the third.
“I saw guys in front and just tried to get the puck through and get it on net,” Schaeffer said. “It was great to get the first one, I was kind of a year and a half overdue.”
The Colonials were minutes away from taking a one-goal victory for the second straight game, but once again gave up a tying goal as Acosta’s shot beat Colonial netminder Justin Kapelmaster from long range at 17:17 of the final regulation frame to send the contest to overtime.
Kapelmaster stopped 45-of-47 shots against on the night, improving his .950 save percentage in the process, including key saves in the first overtime period.
For a second consecutive game, the Colonials found themselves in the three-on-three overtime phase, but unlike last Saturday night when they virtually had the puck for the blink of an eye, they seemingly owned it for the final 4:51- until Coyne’s shot ended the game.
“We worked on it,” Colonial head coach Derek Schooley said referring to the new Atlantic Hockey overtime format which now includes three on three play. “We kept the puck. I think the one thing that you have to make sure is that you keep puck possession and we were better on face offs too not just in overtime but throughout the game.”