NEVILLE TWP., Pa.— Hotly contested battles were expected heading into the weekend of hockey between the Robert Morris Colonials and Army Black Knights, and the two teams didn’t disappoint as the teams skated to a 2-2 tie in a hard-fought battle.
Robert Morris overcame a slow first 40 minutes that saw them get outshot by a 22-10 margin. However, they turned the tables in the final period as Alex Tonge’s power play goal on a shot from the slot helped the Colonials earn a critical conference point.
“We definitely didn’t match their compete level for the first half of the game,” alternate captain Luke Lynch said. “It’s definitely not our identity as a team and a program. It’s definitely something we touched on in the locker room and we took care of in the third period. We have to take care of that 60 minutes every night.
ADDAMO CONTINUES TO IMPRESS
Freshman forward Justin Addamo got the Colonials off and running on the score sheet with a tremendous individual effort 6:37 into the game as he stripped a Black Knight defender at their own blue line and took the puck behind the net for a wrap around try that resulted in his first career goal as a Colonial. Addamo has averaged a point a game through the first three games and has been strong on the puck in all three zones.
“It was a really physical game,” Addamo said. “We know we didn’t play our best hockey tonight. We know what it takes to win and be better.”
COLONIALS OVERCOME ROUGH FIRST
In the final frame and in overtime the Colonials were the better team as they put up 14 shots over the course of the final 25 minutes and came very close to producing a game winning goal on several occasions as Black Knights goaltender Trevin Kozlowski kept turning aside shot after shot. Included in the uptick in play for Robert Morris was a critical penalty kill with just 2:10 remaining in the third period that gave them five more minutes to possibly earn the extra point. The Colonials gave up just one shot and came through with a solid effort.
Black Knight goals came off the sticks of Trevor Fidler, who tied the game with his first period tally just minutes after Addamo opened the scoring, and Tripper Higgins, who finished off a shorthanded 2-on-1 at the 14:12 mark of the first frame. Starting Colonials netminder Francis Marotte turned aside 26 out of 28 shots in another solid performance.
“I was encouraged by our 25 minutes to end the game and I was discouraged by our first 40 minutes,” Colonial head coach Derek Schooley said. “I didn’t think that we had a lot of energy and a lot of jam coming out of the gates, especially after that’s all we’ve been preaching all week. I think it’s all a part of some growing pains with as many young kids as we have.”
It was indeed a tale of two efforts for the Colonials on Friday night and perhaps the young squad took another lesson from the encounter against an Army team that presents an intense and physical challenge on almost every shift.
“I thought we were really good in the third period and really good in overtime,” Schooley added. “I thought we did a great job killing penalties tonight and our power play was timely. It comes down to work ethic and learning how to play at this level.”
The teams conclude the series on Saturday night at RMU Island Sports Center with 7:05 p.m. puck drop.