RMU climbs past Mountaineers to secure trip to Nationals

Audrey Gardner , Staff Reporter

The stakes were high as the Robert Morris ACHA DI hockey program entered Friday night’s game against West Virginia University.

With 1:11 left in the contest the Colonials were able to punch their ticket to nationals, beating WVU, 5-3.

“A little nerves, I guess excitement and focused,” said assistant coach Camden Zappi “Everyone knew the task at hand and we were focused on that”

The Mountaineers opened up the scoring with a Tyler Conaway powerplay goal at 11:31 on a penalty to Alex Dagnal. RMU came up with a tally with 7:42 remaining after Lucas Chiala banked in his second goal of the season, putting both teams at one heading into the second.

“Fish [Nick Fischer], he just made a great move at the blue line and he put it right on the pad and it popped right out and I was right there. It’s pretty much textbook we do it every day at practice,” said Chiala. “It was pretty exciting to see it work out.”

The second period started out slow, but as soon as WVU took a penalty at 13:07, RMU jumped at the chance to go up a goal.

Senior captain Wes Heinle buried the puck behind the goalie just 47 seconds into the powerplay. Joe Boyer and Travis Reece both received credit for assists, giving all three players their first points of the evening.

James Joyce and Chiala helped Randy Unger score his sixth goal of the season, putting the Colonials up 3-2 with 4:19 left.

While Cassidy Galeone took a seat in the penalty box at 2:26, WVU continued to take advantage with another powerplay goal at 1:21.

The start of the final frame resembled the first two, slow with late action. The Mountaineers would find their final goal on another powerplay opportunity at 8:32.

Just as the clock hit 1:11, Heinle would find the winning goal for the Colonials and take the lead 4-3.

With a final attempt to tie the game again, WVU pulled goalie Ian Donnan, but Reece was able to find the empty net leading the team to a 5-3 win.

Despite the huge win, the season is far from over for the Colonials.

“I think what we just have to take the mindset that we have to get better each game regardless of what is on or off the table,” said Heinle. “ I think the attitude we want to work on certain things from game to game I think will keep moving us forward going into the rest of the season.”