NEVILLE TWP., PA — The Robert Morris Colonials extended their winning streak to six in convincing fashion on Sunday evening, besting the Niagara Purple Eagles 6-2. The win gave Robert Morris a clean sweep of the three game series that started in New York on Thursday night, end on Neville Island Saturday and Sunday and saw the first two games decided in overtime. In stark contrast on Sunday, the Colonials got the Eagles behind with a flurry of three second period goals, including two from forward Justin Addamo and kept Niagara from sniffing a chance to climb back into the game thanks to a defensive effort that held their opponent to 27 shots and timely saves from goaltender Noah West.
“We felt that we should get off to a good start and get a couple and get them back on their heels a little bit especially with the emotional win last night,” Robert Morris head coach Derek Schooley said. “It’s a challenging game, it’s tough to win and we’re just excited to be able to continue to do what we’re doing.”
Senior defenseman Nick Jenny continued his strong season, opening the scoring 4:19 into the game when he got the puck off a faceoff to Wilson’s right and delivered a slippery shot through traffic for his fifth goal of the season. The Colonials kept the Eagles to a mere two first period shots and carried the early momentum.
The Colonials found the separation they were looking for in quick fashion as junior forward Justin Addamo lit the lamp twice early in the second period. Addamo beat Wilson on the first Colonial power play at 4:48 from the right faceoff dot to make it a 2-0 game and added another tally less than two minutes later when he took a brilliant pass across the bottom of the slot and buried it.
“Obviously we wanted to extend the lead and play with the lead,” Schooley added. “It’s an emotional game. It’s draining. We played seven games in 13 days and to go 6-1 is impressive for this group.”
Niagara found themselves with a golden opportunity to get back into the game on power play just past the 10 minute mark of the second stanza when the Colonials seized the momentum once again as Santeri Hartikainen took the puck from his own blue line all the way to the Eagle net where he beat Wilson from the slot on a shorthanded breakaway to put the Colonials firmly in the driver’s seat with a four goal lead. The Eagles would manage to pull closer with a Jack Billings goal at 9:36, but the momentum was killed by defenseman Nolan Schaeffer’s first goal of the season less than two minutes later.
“Obviously from yesterday we wanted to improve and not let the other team get into the game and shut them out early,” Hartikainen said. “We wanted to limit turnovers, keep playing deep and I think everybody did their job and everybody contributed in a really good way.”
Hartikainen came into the evening with one goal in his past 11 games and could feel a confidence boost from his effort.
“It felt awesome,” Hartikainen remarked. “It felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I’ve been chasing for a couple of games and hit some posts and it’s not been bouncing my way but we have a very special group of guys and when one guy doesn’t get the puck luck there are other guys that step up and deliver”
Nick Lalonde closed out the Robert Morris scoresheet with his third goal of the season early in the third period. Meanwhile, West looked sharp in turning aside 25 shots while collecting his seventh win of the season after coming off a four goals against performance the night before.
“It wasn’t even a doubt,” Schooley said. “Noah has established himself as in taking over the net. When you win like he’s been and play like he’s been playing, it’s not a fault of our other goalies but Noah’s done a great job. Lubbesmeyer came in and gave us a spark last night and to have Noah come in and do what he’s been doing is great.”
The Colonials will be off for the coming weekend as their two game home and home series with Canisius has been postponed. They will return to the ice on on Tuesday, January 19 to face Atlantic Hockey rival Mercyhurst in Erie, PA.