The Robert Morris Colonials will be honing their game skills, matching up their lines and pairings to see what their large crop of incoming freshman might have to offer on Sunday afternoon at the Island Sports Center when they take on the Brock Badgers at 4 p.m. At the same time, they’ll be measuring the components of their team needs when the puck drops on Friday against Bowling Green..
The 2018-2019 journey for the Colonials started weeks ago and Sunday’s game will start what should be a very intriguing season while providing some early insight on what to expect. With vital experience in all the right places- and should all the pieces fall into place- it’s a group that could very well contend for yet another berth in the Atlantic Hockey championships in Buffalo, NY in March.
The Colonials saw some key departures due to graduation and other reasons this off season as leading scorer Brady Ferguson, captain and top defenseman Alex B0ntje, and key depth forwards Timmy Moore, Spencer Dorowicz and Matthew Graham have all moved on. There’s still a great deal to be excited about, as top forwards Luke Lynch and Alex Tonge anchor an attack that still has a great deal of potency. Adding the fact that the smooth skating, puck moving Eric Israel returns to his spot on the blue line and power play, while Francis Marotte, a Mike Richter Award watch list rated net minder patrols the crease, the pieces could be in place for another deep playoff run.
While the talent is there, they’ll need some contributions from the incoming freshman that’ll need to be brought along in the right way and at a proper speed by the coaching staff and team leadership, spearheaded by newly crowned captain Brandon Watt.
Players to Watch
Given the test and tune nature of the preseason, it’s unclear how many minutes the likes of Lynch, Tonge, speedy forward Michael Louria and Israel will be receiving. The game could see some increased minutes for some players that appear to be on the verge of potentially big improvement, or to discover more about whom might go where on the depth chart. Junior forward Daniel Mantenuto and Jacob Coleman, Sophomore forward Nick Prkusic and defensemen Sean Giles, Nick Jenny, and Alex Robert will be looking to make an impression early on as each one has shown flashes of great play in their early careers- and more will be expected from them this season.
Between the pipes, fans could expect to see perhaps a period of Marotte, and then a glimpse of the battle for the backup spot left vacated by Andrew Pikul’s graduation as sophomore Dyllan Lubbesmeyer and freshman Reid Cooper.
As for the freshman, keep an eye on the first European born players in Colonial Men’s Hockey history, forward Justin Addamo and defenseman Aidan Girduckis, as they both chime in at over six-foot four and were “C” rated prospects by NHL Central Scouting in 2017.
Scouting The Badgers
The Badgers, members of Ontario University Athletics, are led by Ayden McDonald who managed nine goals and 8 assists last year and Brandon McQuinn, each had 17 points. Dexter Weber leads the scoring from the back coming off a 15 point campaign. The Badgers managed a 14-14-0 record in 2017-2018 and are currently looking to fill a hole at goaltender themselves as starter Clint Windsor finished his four year career last season.
Did You Know
The Colonials have managed a 10-1-1 record versus their Canadian counterparts in preseason game action since 2008. Their lone loss came at the hands of Ryerson in 2014, and their tie came via Queens in 2016.