Photo Courtesy of Justin Berl/RMU Athletics
NEVILLE TWP Pa.,- The 20th ranked Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers demonstrated exactly why they’ve been able to achieve their ranking on Friday night at Clearview Arena as they took a 6-3 victory over the homestanding Robert Morris University Colonials. Fueled by two power play goals and solidified by two timely goals that stopped Colonial rallies in the second and third periods, the Tigers managed to stay one step ahead the entire 60 minutes of play despite a resilient Colonial side that kept pushing their opponents until the final whistle.
Tyler Fukakusa and Carter Wilike led the way for the Tigers with three points apiece as they moved their Atlantic Hockey league mark to 10-5-0 on the season while the Colonials fell to 3-10-2.
“I thought we were good in spurts,” Robert Morris head coach Derek Schooley said. “But the thing that really hurt us was our penalty killing didn’t get the job done and we gave them a couple of pucks and they were opportunistic and capitalized on them.
The RIT power play set the tone early in the contest as Gianfranco Cassaro put home a rebound past starting Colonial netminder Chad Veltri to open the scoring at 17:19 of the first period. The Tigers used their next man advantage to double their lead when Xavier Lapointe buried a hard shot trough traffic from the right circle 1:52 into the second frame. Less than three minutes later, Fukakfusa added his goal to give the Tigers a commanding three goal lead. However, time was still on the Colonial’s side as they still over half a game to work with.
The Colonials dominated stretches of the remainder of the middle stanza with consistent offensive pressure and high quality shot looks. The hard work was rewarded when freshman forward George Krotiris swept in a rebound from a Walter Zacher shot to get Robert Morris on the scoreboard at 12:52. Cameron Garvey then went to work crashing the net with a rebound goal to cut the Tiger lead to just a goal at 18:55. However, RIT had answers all night long and one of them came off the stick of Gustav Blom, who took the momentum right back from the Colonials with a goal at 19:27 to make it 4-2 heading into the dressing room with 20 minutes remaining.
“We put some older guys out there after the shift that made it 3-2 and we got scored on,” Schooley added. “We can’t do that. We’ve got to be able to manage the game and the ebbs and flows and momentum shifts and we didn’t do a very good job of that and that was the difference in the hockey game.”
The Colonials had one more charge left in them at the start of the third period and it bore fruit by way of both a power play earned and a power play tally courtesy of Tanner Kilmpke who deflected a Gabriel Lunn shot at 10:09 to pull Robert Morris back to within a goal at 4-3. Wilkie then set to work erasing that momentum a little over a minute later with the first of two goals to round out the scoring on the night.
The two teams finish their weekend series with on Saturday evening at Clearview Arena with puck drop scheduled for 5 PM.