NEVILLE TWP., Pa — Freshman forward Randy Hernandez scored his third game-winning goal of the season in a 3-1 win over the visiting RIT Tigers on Saturday night at the Island Sports Center.
Using a great deal of speed, Hernandez got the puck in the neutral zone and blew by the Tigers defense, cutting in front of netminder Logan Brackett and beat him with a backhand shot at 9:50 of the final frame.
“I chipped it off the wall and I was just coming with speed,” Hernandez said. “I thought I had a step on the guy and took it to the net. I didn’t know what I was going to do it exactly, but luckily it went in.”
Through ten games, Hernandez finds himself with nine points and has become an integral part of the offensive mix for Robert Morris, coming up with big plays at critical times.
“Randy’s really dynamic,” Colonials head coach Derek Schooley said. “He’s got great speed and I don’t know if there’s a faster player on the ice and you saw that on the goal. He used what his biggest asset was on that one.”
Robert Morris got off to a good start and took an early lead on a Jordan Timmons wrap around goal at 8:40 of the first period. However, as the period moved along the Tigers found themselves with the momentum as they wound up out shooting the Colonials by a 15-6 margin.
“I was worried that going into the third period we were tired and they proved me wrong,” Schooley added. “I thought our best period might have been the third. We came out really strong, we were really good in the neutral zone and we were disciplined. When you’re playing an unconventional schedule that we’re playing right now, that’s three games in five days and four in six, you’re going to be challenged and we found a way to get the job done.”
Timmons found himself in a precarious position near the boards in at 11:59 of the second period and fell to the ice awkwardly and appeared to be in some amount of pain. The leading goal scorer for the Colonials was attended to by training staff and did not return to the ice for the remainder of the game, as Nick Lalonde split time with Nick Prkusic and Justin Addamo in his place. At press time no official word on his status has been released.
Meanwhile, the Tigers pulled the game to a draw on a power play goal from forward Jake Joffe with 8:43 left to play in the second period. From that point on, freshman goaltender Noah West kept his team in position to win following Hernandez’s go ahead goal and the Colonials defense which has been stingy to the tune of just seven goals allowed in the last five games kept the Tigers at bay in the third period.
“We’re 4-1 in our last five and Noah is a big reason,” Schooley remarked. “He’s given us the saves that we’ve needed. We struggled in the first period versus Niagara and we got out shot tonight in the first period and we found a way to come out with a lead in both games.”
Prkusic added an insurance tally into an empty net in the final minute to close out the scoring.
The two teams meet once again Sunday at 4:05 p.m.