RMU takes the Bulls by their horns in a 4-3 shootout victory

Kurt Schmidt

Audrey Gardner, Staff Writer

The RMU ACHA DI men’s hockey team kicked off a two game weekend Friday night against The University at Buffalo. The Colonials would take away an exciting 4-3 shootout win, thanks to Travis Reece and Joakim Axen, who both came up big for RMU.

“It was awesome, especially once you score and you see the bench going wild, it’s fun,” said Reece. “It’s an awesome feeling. I’ve been doing the same move, that same breakaway move since I was like 12 years old so I know how to do it really well. It was fun.”

The Colonials would give up three goals in the opening frame including a powerplay goal which came on a tripping penalty to Nick Fischer. Buffalo would score with 27 seconds remaining, but that wouldn’t be the only goal scored by Buffalo University. By the time of the final buzzer, they would carry a 3-0 lead into the middle frame.

The Colonials came out fighting in the second, staying out of the box and scoring two goals to make it 3-2. Andrew Lister with the help of Mason Kruegur and Cody Brightbill scored with just about 6 minutes remaining while Brett Berner scored his fourth goal of the season with 1:59 left. That would put the Colonials just a goal shy of tying things up.

“We’ve had some really bad starts for Friday night games.The intensity just hasn’t been there, the way I’d like to see it. I hate to make the excuse that we have a young team, but we’re still trying to pull together what kind of team we’re trying to be. We need to come out with more intensity,” said head coach Micheal Joseph. “So I tried build a little energy between periods, talk to the guys and it seems to have its effect. The second and third periods are more the kind of hockey we should be playing game in and game out, 60 minutes.”

RMU would start the third with 23 seconds left on the tripping penalty assigned to Reese at 1:36 and successfully kill it. Krueger would tie things up 3-3 at 14:24, Brightbill would receive the assist on the goal, and that would be the end of the scoring in regulation. As a result the Colonials forced a little 4-on-4 hockey in a five minute overtime period. The extra frame would leave both teams empty handed and would lead to a shootout.

The University at Buffalo would send Eric Nestler against Joakim Axen, who played his second shootout of the season, would block the shot and send things over to the Colonials. Reece would be the first shooter for RMU and he would score with ease. Axen would face Eric Szczecinski who failed to score keeping the Colonials alive. Despite Kruegur failing to shot Axen beat Buffalo’s Bobby Piotrowicz. Giving the Colonials a 4-3 win, thanks to Reece and Axen’s stellar performances.

“You’re living in the present. First of all I just focused, I take one minute at a time, that’s where I live, the next minute is what I focus on,” said Axen. “After overtime there, we headed to a shootout. Of course you think back on the previous one and just to play simple, nothing too crazy. Make sure you wait the shooter out and hopefully you come out the winning guy.”