Pittsburgh Hockey Digest


Ben Leslie scores overtime winner, Pitt defeats Robert Morris 5-4

Pitt forward JC Bele (18) scores a goal against Robert Morris on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2021 at the RMU Island Sports Center. — ED MAJOR II

NEVILLE TWP, Pa. — The Pitt Panthers (13-3-1, 6-0-1 CHMA) defeated the Robert Morris Colonials (15-4-1, 6-2-1 CHMA) in overtime Saturday night at the RMU Island Sports Center. Just 1:17 into the extra period, Ben Leslie took a pass from teammate Will Studt in the 3-on-3 overtime period and slid it past Colonials netminder Kevin Mackey. It wasn’t the first time during the game that Pitt had to come from behind.

Robert Morris erased a 2-0 deficit to tie the game midway through the second period. Justin Adamski used a shorthanded goal to bring the Colonials within a goal and Keith Reed tied the game 2-2 with a shot from the top of the crease. The Colonials didn’t stop there. Roman Kraemer gave his team their first lead of the game, 3-2, just over six minutes into the third period.

It was all part of what Colonials’ head coach Mike Joseph spoke about prior to the game. Joseph mentioned the two keys to the game were getting more offensive pressure and limiting Pitt’s chances.

“We need to get more pressure in front of the net. We didn’t get any pressure the last time,” said Joseph, referencing the Oct. 17 loss to Pitt earlier in the season. “The tricky part with Pitt is they run deep. You can’t worry about one line, you have to worry about their top three lines.”

That turned out to be more true than Joseph would have liked to admit. The Panthers got 5 goals from 4 different players on different lines, including game-tying goals by Will Studt and JC Bele.

Studt tied the game 3-3 just over halfway through the third. But with less than two minutes remaining, Giovanni Palombo gave the Colonials the lead once more, 4-3.

It was an unfamiliar spot for Pitt to be in, but the Panthers rose to the challenge Bele scored his second of the game less than a minute later, with 1:15 remaining. The game was tied, once again, at 4-4.

From there, Leslie took the rest into his own hands and netted the overtime game-winner, giving Pitt the season series sweep against Robert Morris.

Panthers goaltender Grant Lindsay made 34 saves on 38 shots in the win. Colonials goaltender Kevin Mackey saved 23 out of 28 shots in the loss.

The Panthers will be off for the season break until Friday Jan. 14, 2022, when they host Kent State at Alpha Ice Complex. They’ll travel to Kent State on Saturday, Jan, 15.

Robert Morris will have one last contest before their season break. The Colonials will travel to Morgantown Ice Arena to face the West Virginia Mountaineers on Friday, Dec. 10 at 8:30 p.m.


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