Pittsburgh Hockey Digest

Robert Morris

Colonials Dealt Heartbreaking 5-4 OT Loss on Senior Night

Photo courtesy of Eddie Provident

NEVILLE TWP.,Pa- The Robert Morris Colonials ran the gamut of emotions in their final home contest of the season on Saturday evening versus the visiting Canisius Golden Griffins. Entering a third period tied at two goals apiece, the Colonials fell behind before pulling into the lead two quick strike goals in the waning minutes of the period, only to watch the joy evaporate with a late period and then overtime goal, in a back and forth 5-4 game.  Making it a bit more painful was the fact that it was the final home game for the 12 seniors that decided to either end their collegiate career helping the rebuilding program or to stick with the team following their two year hiatus.

Griffin Loughran’s goal from a shot directly off a faceoff deep in the Colonial end at 1:15 of the overtime period proved to be the game winner.

“That one hurt,” Robert Morris head coach Derek Schooley said. “It was an emotional game and we were right where we needed to be. We took the lead and unfortunately we couldn’t hold the lead. We got a little bit immature and took some undisciplined, retaliatory penalties and they scored and it stung. We’re not done yet though.”

Cade Townend opened the scoring at 16:19 of the first frame when he took a pass from Paul Maust and buried it past starting Griffin goaltender Ethan Robertson for his fifth goal of the season to give his side the early lead. The Griffin power play then struck before the first frame came to an end with a goal from Oliver Tarr who threw a shot past Chad Veltri in the Colonial net on a two man advantage at 18:30 of the first period to tie the game heading into the dressing room.

When play resumed, goals were traded. First, off the stick of George Krotiris for the Colonials who cut to the middle of the ice once over the blue line and let a rocket slide past Robertson at 6:32 to make it a 2-1 Robert Morris advantage. However, just 21 seconds later, Jack Lyons put the equalizer past Veltri.

Then in the final frame, Stefano Bottini quieted the sell out crowd on hand with his third goal of the season, giving the Griffins a 3-2 lead with less than 10 minutes to go.  Cameron Garvey brought the crowd out of their seats when he deflected a Mitch Andres shot at 12:59 to tie it up at three goals apiece. And less than a minute later Dallas Tulik sent a puck that ricocheted off a Griffin skate to give the Colonials the 4-3 lead.

With Walter Zacher in the penalty box, serving a late period penalty for cross checking, Jackson Decker sent the game to overtime with his seventh goal of the season at 17:18 of the third with Loughran’s overtime goal yet to come. It was a painful night for the home team who honored a senior class that helped lay the building blocks of what becomes of the program going forward. Despite the result, it was a special night indeed.

“It was surreal,” Schooley said. “We’re very appreciative of the nine guys that took a chance to come here and rebuild the program and the three who stayed here. It was emotional. We’re not done yet though. We’re going to put it behind us and be ready to play a challenging opponent at Air Force and get as high in the standings as we can possibly get.”

The Colonials will next take on the Air Force Falcons in Colorado Springs, Co next Friday and Saturday to conclude their Atlantic Hockey regular season conference schedule and then prepare for a one game knockout playoff appearance the following week.

“We’re playing hard and getting better,” Schooley added. “We’re so much better than we were at the beginning of the year. In a one game knockout, anybody can win and we feel that we’re getting to right end of our game and hopefully we’re ready when we get to the playoffs.”

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