Photo Courtesy of Eddie Provident
NEVILLE TWP.,Pa- The Robert Morris Colonials received some push back early on Saturday night at Clearview Arena versus the visiting Mercyhurst University Lakers. The Colonials had finished a convincing 5-2 victory on Friday night in Erie, PA and found themselves down a goal at three different times on Saturday night. However, from the halfway point of the second frame on, Robert Morris progressively took over the game. And, following a workmanlike penalty kill and solid saves from netminder Francis Boisvert, the Colonials found some timely scoring in a dominant third period which they used to propel them to a 4-3 win and a crucial weekend sweep.
“I told our guys after the second period that I thought if we got the next goal we would win the hockey game,” Robert Morris head coach Derek Schooley said. “We had a lot of resiliency and we just kept coming back and we didn’t give in to just chasing the game and made sure that we got some key blocks and some big time plays down the stretch. I thought we were really good for a lot of the game and it was good to see us get rewarded.”
The Lakers came out firing on all cylinders as the quickly earned the game’s first power play moments after puck drop. Former Colonial forward Kyler Head sent home a rebound on the advantage to put the Lakers out front just 3:08 into the first period. Colonial forward Dominic Schimizzi then went to work deep in the Laker end and got rewarded as his sharp angle shot made it’s way into the net to tie the game up just 1:21 minutes later. Boris Skalos gave the Lakers a lift heading into the dressing room with a late first period tally that seemed to deflect and change direction on Boisvert to make it a 2-1 contest.
“We needed to hit the net,” Schooley added. “Dallas Tulik probably could have had four or five goals if he would have hit the net down the stretch but it was good to see him get rewarded with those two goals tonight. We look like a hockey team now and we’re doing good things and making sure we’re playing the game the right way. I think we’re getting rewarded where we weren’t really getting rewarded at the beginning of the year. You can’t say enough about the resiliency of our guys.”
The Colonials took their game to another level in the second frame as evidenced by the shot counter as they put up 15 shots on Laker goaltender Simon Bucheler who stood tall in stopping 14 of them, but was beaten by Tulik at 5:27 who made the most of a shorthanded breakaway. Following a highlight reel type goal from Tanner Klimpke, which tied the game at three at 5:29 of the third period for his 10th goal of the season, Tulik supplied the game winner at 9:22. The goals came just moments after the Colonials killed off over two and a half minutes of Laker power play time which also included a 30 second span of 5×3 play.
The weekend wins capped off a stretch of play that has seen them play even up with their opponents, good for seven wins and seven losses and winners of three out of their last four contests following a 2-11-3 start while starting a forward climb in the Atlantic Hockey standings. It’s been a run that could potentially see them grab home ice in the first round if they can remain hot in the final six games of the regular season.
“We’re at a point where we have 9 wins and we want to make that double digits,” Schooley remarked. “We want to climb to where we can get home ice advantage for the playoffs.
The Colonials take to the road to take on the Army Black Knights for a two game series starting next Friday at 7 PM.