NEVILLE TWP.,Pa- The effort was there, even if the result was a disappointing one for the Robert Morris University Colonials as they fell to the visiting Bowling Green Falcons by a score of 3-0 in front of a packed house at Clearview Arena in the program’s return following their two plus year hiatus. There was much to be proud of in the way of compete level for the Colonials as they overcame a timid start to play more or less level hockey over the final two periods, dominating zone time for different stretches of each of the final two stanza’s. However, an empty net goal from Bowling Green defenseman Ben Wozney at 17:32 of the final frame sealed the win for the visitors.
A TIMID START
Spenser Kersten got the Falcons rolling just 50 into the first frame as he buried a loose puck in a dangerous area past starting Colonial goaltender Chad Veltri for an early 1-0 lead. And, instead of just a lucky find and a quick score, the tally turned into momentum as Bowling Green were able to hem Robert Morris in their own end for entire shifts in the first ten minutes of the first period. The Falcons amassed a 19-4 shot advantage in the first 20 minutes and doubled their advantage when forward Dalton Norris buried the puck past Veltri during a power play at 12:40. The Colonials found their legs more and more as time rolled along but failed to find consistent pressure for the rest of the opening frame
“They took it to us in the first period,” Robert Morris coach Derek Schooley said. “I thought we got better as the game went along. I thought you could tell that we weren’t an expansion or re launch type team, we just have to find a way to play together more, be more connected.”
COLONIAL S FIND THEIR GAME
From the drop of the puck in the second frame, Robert Morris set out to tilt the ice and did exactly that as Falcon goaltender Christian Stoever faced pressure from the Colonial attack during a 16 shot effort that saw him make several point blank glove saves to keep Robert Morris off the board, including a shot from Logan Ganie that seemed destined to find the net and a breakaway chance for freshman Tanner Klimpke. But for as good as the Colonials executed at even strength, the power play seemed to work against them as they failed to take advantage of key moments to draw closer. Robert Morris was twice issued a large amount of power play time via two major penalties on a night that saw them go 0 for 4 with the man advantage while putting up just nine shots.
“We have to find a way to manufacture goals,” Schooley added. “And if we can do that I think we’ll be fine. We had a couple of different power play opportunities and we hit a couple posts, we need to find a way to put the puck in the net. “
A SPECIAL NIGHT
Despite the result, the crowd and atmosphere were surreal as a raucous, sold out arena greeted the Colonials upon their pre game skate and kept up the noise for most of the night. It was a special night indeed as Robert Morris returned to action for the first time since March of 2021, and the team responded with a competitive effort against an established team without the benefit of a preseason exhibition game to build some continuity. The newly painted arena and enthusiasm of the crowd combined to create a unique buzz and original vibe that will be remembered for years to come as over 1,200 fans came to witness the return of the program.
“It was good to be back and compete and good to feel the emotion of a game,” Schooley said. “Obviously we’d like to be on the other side but for a young team that hadn’t played together, minus the first period, I thought we played at a higher level. “
Robert Morris will travel to Bowling Green to finish the weekend set on Sunday afternoon at 5:07 PM. The game will be available for viewing via streaming live at Flohockey.com with a Flosports subscription.