Colonials finish AIC series with 5-2 victory

Amy Shubilla

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The RMU men’s hockey team closed out this weekend’s series against American International with a final score of 5-2.

The opening period started out a lot different from the night before. Whereas last night’s beginning was fast-paced and hard-hitting, tonight’s was marked by struggle.  A disorganized Colonial offense failed to capitalize on a power play and misfired on multiple shots.

However, hope sprang late in the final two minutes of the period. Sophomore third-liner Greg Gibson snapped the puck wide where Matt Cope deflected it above AIC goaltender Ryan Kerpan’s left shoulder to score the first goal of the evening.

According to head coach Derek Schooley, the reunion of the Cope, Gibson and Denham line was a precursor to success.

“They’re a line that played together all last year and we’ve had them broke up a little this year and we put them back together on January one and no coincidence that we’ve been playing very well since they’ve been back together,” he said. “They just provide so much. They’re big guys who can skate, play physical, and possess the puck and it wears the other team’s defense down.”

The Colonials made their presence known in the second period. Cody Wydo struck early, sending the puck bar-down for the Colonials’ second goal of the night, with Chase Golightly on the helper.

The Hornets retaliated about two minutes later with a goal from Chris Porter, only to be followed by a goal courtesy of Jeff Jones, who received the puck from Golightly and snapped it over the AIC netminder.

An AIC power play late in the middle period could have caused the final minutes to be agonizing.  However, Zach Lynch made scoring look easy when he raced down the lane to get a shot from the slot, sending the puck flying past Kerpan.

The third period reflected the start of the first period, having little action from the Colonials.  The puck regularly shifted from RMU’s defensive zone to AIC’s until the Yellow and Black struck with a goal from Nick Campanale.

For the final 1:17 of the matchup, American International’s net was empty.

With nine seconds remaining, Gibson, assisted by Brandon Denham and Tyson Wilson, sealed the deal with an empty netter.

“It was big,” said the forward of the goal. “I think we would’ve closed it out either way, but it was a little assurance, and it was huge for the team.”

A weekend void of losses could provide a much needed boost of confidence for the Colonials.

“It’s a really good feeling.  Especially at home.  You don’t want to lose at home,” said Wydo, who ended the game with a goal and an assist.  “We need these points for this new year.  We’re 4-1-1 and now ever since the break.  That’s what we’re looking at.  We’re not looking behind at our record or anything like that.  We just take it day by day now and team by team.”

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