Photo courtesy of Justin Berl/Robert Morris Athletics
NEVILLE TWP.,Pa- Holy Cross senior forward Matt Guerra scored some impressive goals in his time with the Robert Morris University Colonials in the 2020-2021 season. However, the two he scored on Friday night at Clearview Arena were just as impressive and ultimately doomed a strong effort from his former team as the visitors scratched out a hard fought 3-1 victory over the Colonials. The win was the fourth in a row for the undefeated Crusaders who were coming off a two game sweep of then 20th ranked Connecticut last weekend, and gave them their first conference points of the season.
Playing on Even Terms
From the drop of the puck, the Colonials seemed to either match the Crusader intensity or top it in all three periods of play, whether it was getting to loose pucks first or simply supplying some extra effort to keep shifts going in the Crusader end, Robert Morris kept structured and avoided mistakes at even strength, heading into the dressing room after the first period with a scoreless tie and a tied shot counter at 10 apiece.
“I thought we played hard,” Robert Morris coach Derek Schooley said. “I thought we played well. I thought it was what we expected, a tight checking game. Unfortunately, they scored power play goals and we didn’t. We just need to find ways to score more goals.
The Colonials kept finding ways to get pucks to the net against a just as structured Holy Cross side that played the situation extremely well all night, getting pucks deep when necessary and not playing beyond themselves in order to extend the lead. The Colonials made 33 shots happen on the night, with 13 of them coming on six power play chances, but none of them made their way past Jason Grande in the Crusader net. The senior goaltender came into the night with a 1.00 goals against average and kept 32 of those Colonial shots out of the net, including some from point blank range. Forward Tanner Klimpke almost tied the game with two shots on the doorstep which Grande stood tall against with just over four minutes to go in the second stanza. Then, with just over 13 minutes to go in the third frame, Grande stoned freshman McKay Hayes on a breakaway to maintain the 1-0 lead for the Crusaders.
Guerra Supplies Goals Against Former team.
The first of Guerra’s goals came just 1:52 into the second period as the puck got over to him in the left circle which he one timed past Colonial netminder Chad Veltri to give Holy Cross the advantage. The tally almost held up as Robert Morris kept failing to dent the twine on one power play chance after another. Then, with just four minutes remaining, Klimpke got the puck from Logan Ganie between the circles and one timed the disc past Grande to make it a tied game. However, it was a short lived moment of relief for the Colonials as forward Jackson Reineke was whistled for a five minute contact to the head penalty with just 2:26 left. Guerra then delivered a rocket past Veltri with 39 seconds left in the third. Jack Ricketts added an empty net tally in the waning seconds to round out the scoring on the night as the Colonials fell to a record 1-2-1 on the year.
“We had 13 shots and some wide open nets down there,” Schooley added concerning the power play. “We have to make sure that we do things the right way and out work them and get pucks to the net. We were right there, we just have to find a way to put more goals in.”
Robert Morris closes out the weekend set against Holy Cross on Saturday evening at Clearview Arena with a scheduled puck drop of 5 PM.