Photo courtesy of Justin Berl/RMU Athletics
NEVILLE TWP.,Pa- In what may go down as one of the more bizarre games in Robert Morris hockey history, the Colonials overcame a two goal, third period deficit and survived a scoreless overtime en route to a shootout victory over the visiting Holy Cross Crusaders on Saturday night at Clearview Arena. Colonial netminder Chad Veltri was once again solid between the pipes, stopping 49 of 52 shots he faced, while a scoring by committee approach provided three goals and an overtime game winner courtesy of Logan Ganie to earn two points in the Atlantic Hockey standings.
“It was interesting to say the least,” Robert Morris head coach Derek Schooley said. “But we found a way to get two points out of it. It was an emotional game. Last week we left points on the table, this week, we stole points.”
A Rough Start
From the drop of the puck, the Colonials looked a step behind as Holy Cross brought the early pressure and tilted the ice for long intervals in the early going. The early momentum turned into man advantages as the Crusaders found themselves with an early power play and converted it into an early lead as Devin Phillips put in a puck from close range to make it a 1-0 game just 3:24 into the first period. From then on, Holy Cross was on the pitching end of things, with one solid attack after another while the Colonials failed to generate scoring chances or make timely clears of their end. Tyler Gango followed with an even strength tally at 10:31 when he appeared to redirect the puck past Veltri to double the Holy Cross lead. The Crusaders wound up with a 13-3 shot advantage after 20 minutes and dominated the territory.
To The Box They Went
The Colonials picked up right where they left off as a parade of players took trips to the penalty box in the second frame as they found themselves killing off parts or all of four different Crusader opportunities. Matt Cicero found the back of the net on yet another Holy Cross power play at the 10:31 mark of the middle frame and it looked as if things might start spiraling out of control form Robert Morris until a late period tally from Tanner Klimpke who put home a rebound past Holy Cross goaltender Jason Grande with just under two minutes remaining to give the Colonials a lift heading into the dressing room down only two goals.
Colonials Cash In
Through 40 minutes of hockey, Robert Morris had not one power play to work with while the Crusaders had taken advantage of seven chances with two goals and 16 shots. The worm turned in the third frame as the Colonials took advantage of back to back man advantages to square up the score. The first of which came at 6:37 when Jackson Reineke put a rebound past Grande to make it a one goal game. Then, almost a minute later, defenseman Luke Johnson put home a loose puck to tie the score. The remainder of the third produced no further scoring and neither side could produce a game winner in the five minute, three on three overtime period forcing a shootout for the extra point. Graduate senior Logan Ganie went first for the Colonials and lit the lamp to start the shootout while on the other end, Veltri denied three straight Crusader attempts to collect the extra point.
“It felt good,” Schooley added. “It felt good to score some goals, and it felt good to make a comeback that showed a lot of resiliency with a team that’s young and a team that hasn’t been together for very long. We had some guys step up in big situations.”
The Colonials will host the visiting Bentley Falcons for a two game weekend set starting on Friday, October 27 at 7 PM.