NEVILLE TWP., Pa. — Jordan Timmons scored twice as the Robert Morris Colonials defeated the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers 5-2 on Saturday night at Clearview Arena. The win came courtesy of a five-goal third period explosion.
The sounds of sticks on pucks and bone-crunching checks filled the air for the first time in 258 days at the Island Sports Center, as the Colonials had their 2019-20 season cut short in March due to the beginning of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
COLONIALS OVERCOME EARLY CHARGES
The Colonials came into the night looking to compete hard, shake off any rust that may have accumulated during the long hiatus and also to see how the new pieces to the puzzle may fit. The penalty kill was the first system to measure for Robert Morris, as the team found themselves in the penalty box for virtually the entire first seven minutes of the game. The Chargers took advantage early as Bauer Neudecker put a loose puck past starting goaltender Dyllan Lubbesmeyer, giving his team the only lead of the game- the only goal they would cede with the man advantage and seemingly took the game over shift by shift from that point on.
“I couldn’t be more ecstatic with what we accomplished today,” Colonial head coach Derek Schooley said. “I thought we got better as the game went on. Obviously to start having to kill the first seven minutes of the game was a challenge but I thought once we settled back into the game we got better. I’m just very appreciative of the opportunity to coach and compete again during this time.”
MANAGING THE GAME
The Colonials accumulated a 20-10 shot advantage through the first 40 minutes of the contest, tilting the ice in the Charger end shift after shift, but not managing to get a puck behind starting netminder David Fessenden. There was no frustration on the Colonials bench however, as the mistakes and turnovers and sloppy play that plagued them during the first period melted away.
The Chargers took a 1-0 lead to the dressing room at the end of the first, but the scoring opportunities were starting to build for the Colonials.
The teams played to a stalemate in the middle stanza, but as the teams came out to start the final frame Fessenden came up lame during the opening skate and the Chargers turned to George McBey to man the net.
“It was a hard fought game,” Schooley added. “You keep battling and keep hoping that you’re going to break that seal- and we did. They had the unfortunate injury, but that’s hockey. Everybody was battling injuries, everybody was cramping up, it was our first game in 258 days.”
The goals came in bunches in the third. Timmons stayed with an early play and was rewarded, beating McBey to even the score at 2:48 of the third, followed by a marker by co-captain Nick Jenny who came cruising down the slot where he was given a perfect pass from fellow co-captain Nick Prkusic at the 6-minute mark. Grant Hebert added a tally less than two minutes later during a goalmouth scramble and the onslaught was on. Timmons, a Bridgeville native that made the trek over from the University of Connecticut in the offseason, finished a breakaway to seal the win at the 16:31 mark.
“You don’t score 25 goals in the USHL without being able to compete and score,” Schooley remarked regarding Timmons. “We knew that he had that in him. It was good for him to get the monkey off his back right away and then to block a shot and score a goal at the other end was big. It took him two plus years of college hockey and obviously we’re excatic that he decided to be a Colonial and we couldn’t ask for a better first game.”
The Colonials and Chargers wrap up their weekend series on Sunday at 4:05 PM at the Clearview Arena.