NEVILLE TWP., Pa— The puck went every which way but in the net for the Robert Morris Colonials on Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile, the Holy Cross Crusaders came through with two timely goals to prevent a weekend sweep with a 2-0 victory. Crusader forward Michael Laffin provided both goals on the afternoon which included his strike from the lower left circle at 5:12 of the second frame. His second goal, through quite a bit of traffic sealed the victory at 16:59 on the third period.
“That third period, we definitely took a step forward as a team,” Colonial defenseman Nick Jenny said. “We threw everything we had at them and just couldn’t find one on the back of the net.”
Scoring At A Premium
The Colonials were the better team on the night in terms of scoring chance creation and also in terms dominating zone time as the out shot the Crusaders by a 26-22 margin, while attempting 26 more shots than their opponent. Scoring opportunities were nearly missed throughout the contest as pucks rolled off sticks, struck iron or were swallowed up by Crusader goaltender Erik Gordon who earned his first career shutout. The result could have been a better one for the Colonials had it not also been for a power play that could not generate a goal in six chances while the Crusaders were able to once again clog passing and shooting lanes consistently throughout the game and the weekend.
“Last night they probably deserved a better than they got and tonight we definitely deserved a better result,” Colonial head coach Derek Schooley said. “It is what it is and we’ve got to make sure that we focus, do our work over our break, come back and get ready for a tight series with AIC.”
Schooley emphasized a need for the team to get totally healthy, something that has not been a possibility since the beginnings of the season.
“We need to get healthy. We’ve got a lot of guys that are beat up and injured. We have to use these next three weeks to get healthy and recharge and get ready for the second half.”
Defense And Goaltending Have Been Bright Spots
For the sixth straight game, the Colonials allowed two goals or less and they’ll gladly take that momentum into the second half of the season. The uptick in effort has seen goaltender Francis Marotte lower his goals against average to a more than respectable 2.78, a stat which will continue to fall even lower after Saturday afternoon’s contest.
“I think Frank’s also been finding his groove, being the goalie that we always knew he could be,” Jenny stated. “We’ve been staying with our guys and not getting lost in our zone and it’s been working for us. Now we just have to capitalize on our offense and try to get more goals. Tonight, we showed how hard we can work, and how we can outplay a team. We’ll take that into the break.”
The Colonials return to action December 28 and 29 when they travel to Springfield, Mass to take on the American International College Yellow Jackets.