Pittsburgh Hockey Digest

Robert Morris

Colonials Fall to Canisius 5-3 in Weekend Opener

Photo Courtesy of Eddie Provident

NEVILLE TWP.,Pa- The Robert Morris Colonials battled all night long, turning in a performance that saw them lead the Canisius Golden Griffins in terms of several key stats and territory on Friday night at Clearview Arena. However, at the end of 60 minutes, it was not enough as a hot start from the Griffins in the first period that included three quick, opportunistic goals proved to be too much to overcome as the Colonials dropped a 5-3 decision in a key Atlantic Hockey battle. David Fessenden played a key factor for the visitors as he stopped 36 out of 39 Colonial shots on the Griffin net en route to his sixth win of the season.  The loss, damaged the Colonials’ hopes of a possible home ice scenario in the first round of the upcoming conference playoffs.

“They capitalized on the opportunities we gave them,” Robert Morris head coach Derek Schooley said. “We can’t keep giving them those opportunities. Their best players were their best players tonight and we gave them chances that we can’t give them. We were good offensively, and we had a lot of shots and generated a lot, they finished and we didn’t.”

Canisius came out firing on all cylinders as Trey Funk converted a Colonial turnover into a breakaway he used to beat starting Robert Morris netminder Francis Boisvert to give the Griffins an early 1-0 lead just 5:49 into the first frame. Less than two minutes later, Matteo Giampa finished off a two on one in the Colonial end to make it 2-0, and then at 12:50, a fairly harmless looking shot became deadly as it caromed off an official and landed in a dangerous area of the slot for Kyle Haskins to pounce on for his third goal of the year.

“Hernandez (Randy) got the puck at the hashmark there and tried to clear it around to the other defense partner and it hit the referee in the shin pad and right in the slot,” Schooley added. “We didn’t quit, we worked hard, but we gave up five goals and that’s a good hockey team and you can’t do that. We have to be better defensively.”

Jackson Reineke answered for the Colonials at 14:39 of the first with a power play tally from a sharp angle for his ninth goal of the season to pull his side closer before heading into the dressing room. Once action resumed in the second frame, Robert Morris turned momentum in their favor as evidenced by amassing a 15-6 shot margin, while dominating play in the Griffin end of the rink. However, following a Robert Morris power play that failed to produce, Griffin defenseman Brenden Datema moved in from the point, turning around Reineke in the process to create space and snapped the puck past Boivert to extend the lead back to a three goal margin. Colonial captain Rylee St. Onge scored on a late power play from the lower right circle to make it a two goal deficit entering the final period. However, Oliver Tarr seemingly put the game out of reach with a power play goal at 4:16 of the third to make it a 5-2 game. Cameron Garvey closed out the scoring for the Colonials with his ninth goal of the season.

At the end of the night, Robert Morris had out shot the Griffins by a 39-29 margin, scored twice with the man advantage and were the better team of faceoffs. However, the mantra going into Saturday night’s contest for the Colonials may just be ‘make it count’ in terms of converting energy to goals.

“We had chances,” Schooley remarked. “We had chances six on five and when you get those chances you have to capitalize around the net and we didn’t do that tonight.”

The teams finish their weekend series on Saturday evening at Clearview Arena with puck drop scheduled for 5 PM.

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