Air Force trumps RMU in heavy hitting tilt


Photo credit: Michael Evans

Cj Bakaj

The Colonials faced off against the Air Force Falcons for one of the biggest games of the season as both teams were fighting for the number one spot in the conference. Both Robert Morris and Air Force have two games in hand on current number one, Army. Air Force has 22 points with a record of 10-4-2 while RMU has 20 points with a record of 9-5-2.

RMU struggled the majority of this game to keep up with the physicality that Air Force was bringing. The Colonials stayed in the game but started to lose it midway through the third period. The game got emotional as Air Force was obliterating any Colonial who touched the puck. Luke Lynch had to be escorted to the bench in the first period for getting physical after the play.

The Falcons came out flying as the beat Marotte; tucking the puck behind the pad and around the post just two minutes in. Marotte didn’t even know it crossed the goal line.

Robert Morris was struggling to get good chances because Air Force was smothering them in the RMU zone. A powerplay midway through the period for the Colonials amounted to nothing. Seconds after the Falcons returned a player to the ice, the rubber found its way behind Marotte again. Heavy net-front presence by Air Force resulted in that goal as Francis didn’t have much of a chance to save it.

Another powerplay for the Colonials with three minutes left in the third would end with another goose egg. The period would end with a score of 2-0 for the Falcons.

“We got distracted by a couple little things here and there.” said Freshman Luke Lynch.

The second period started with a goal by the Colonials. Just 50 seconds into the period, a shot from the point ended up making its way to the net where Leavens found it and buried it behind the netminder Starrett. The score was 2-1 Air Force.

That goal ignited the fire on the bench for Robert Morris as it seemed like a different team came out after.

The Falcons, however, weren’t done yet. A shot off of an offensive zone faceoff for Air Force resulted in a goal, beating Marotte short side.

That would be the last shot that Marotte would face as Senior goaltender Dalton Izyk would fill in. A tough night for Marotte, out of character for the freshman goaltender. This would mark Izyk’s first game back from an injury sustained earlier in the season.

“It’s good to be back. Not in this type of situation, though. I wish it was different to be back. He (Marotte) deserves better than that. He’s a great goaltender, he just had a rough night.” Izyk mentioned the third goaltender in the trio, Junior Andrew Pikul, as well. “It could’ve been Pikul just as much as me. He was ready too. I don’t look at it like that, though. I guess it’s next man up, that is was everybody is saying, it’s next man up. Marotte will bounce back, he’s probably the best goalie in the nation right now.”

A scrum in the corner after the play, which involved a Falcon driving Leavens’ head into the boards, resulted in a powerplay fro RMU. A golden opportunity to get back in the game.

A shot by captain Rob Mann hit Luke Lynch in front of the net and bounced up and over Starrett. The goal would go under review and would stand as a good goal, 3-2 Air Force.

“I was trying to get out of the way, to be honest. It ended up hitting my stick and went in. I’ll take it, though.” said Lynch.

The Colonials killed a penalty and looked to be rebounding once again after a few good offensive chances in succession. The second period came to an end with the score of Air Force 3 and Robert Morris 2.

Senior goaltender Dalton Izyk was showing his experience at the beginning of the third period; making some incredible saves.

Graham took a penalty four minutes into the period which sent the Falcons on a power play. A rocket of a shot by Evan Feno for Air Force went bar-down on Izyk. An NHL level shot by the Falcon put Air Force up 4-2 over the Colonials.

With seven minutes to go in the third, the Falcons added another tally to their four to make it 5-2. An empty net goal solidified the Air Force victory with a final score of 6-2.

“We expected this to be a hard-fought battle against this team,” said Lynch. “We know the way they play, the way their culture is. We kinda expected it. We showed them in the second period we can outplay them.”

The Colonials will try to rebound tomorrow against Air Force. The win today moved the Falcons to first place in the AHC. Robert Morris is tied for third place with RIT and Canisius while Army holds second. However, Army and RIT have played 18 games while RMU and Air Force have played 17, also; Canisius has two games in hand on Army and RIT.

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