HARMAR TWP., Pa. — The Pittsburgh Panthers (6-3, 1-0 CHMA) handed the Robert Morris Colonials (7-1, 3-1 CHMA) their first loss of the season with a 4-0 victory Sunday at Alpha Ice Complex. The Panthers used four different scorers and goaltender Tristen Canter saved all 21 shots he faced to earn his first shutout of the season.
Pittsburgh started fast when Jack Kisela slid a puck under Kevin Mackey’s pads to give the Panthers an early 1-0 lead just 2:45 in. From there, it was all Robert Morris could do to keep the margin from growing. Pitt was hammering Mackey with shots and doing everything to disrupt his crease.
Still, Mackey stayed strong for most of the second period. Unfortunately for the Colonials, the Panthers couldn’t be stopped. Ben Leslie added to the lead with just under five and a half minutes in the period to make it 2-0. Captain Austin Tonkovich extended the lead to 3-0 just a few minutes later. Oldrich Virag capped it off less than two minutes into the third to seal the 4-0 win.
It was Canter’s first shutout of the season and one he credits his teammates for.
“It’s great knowing every game that as long as I keep it under two or three [goals], we’re gonna win,” Canter said after the game. “It was a great defensive effort tonight. You can’t get a shutout without everybody on defense playing well.”
It was Pitt’s first game on their home ice in over a year and a half. The Panthers started this season with eight straight road games, traveling as far as Delaware and Rhode Island in an effort to strengthen their schedule. The Panthers split two-game series with Delaware and Ohio while sweeping two games against Rhode Island. The team completed the trip with a two-game split at Niagara over the last two days. But the Panthers did not look like they were playing three games in three days on Sunday.
“That’s a good hockey team,” head coach Stu Rulnick said about Robert Morris after the game. “We came out flying, though. I thought the boys played very, very well in front of [Tristen Canter] and he played fantastic.”
Pittsburgh will continue their season with two conference matchups against Duquesne on Friday, Oct. 22 and IUP on Saturday, Oct. 23, both at Alpha Ice Complex.
Robert Morris will travel to Buffalo next weekend to face the Bulls in two games on Friday, Oct. 22 and Saturday, Oct. 23.