Colonials joust Black Knights in home opener



Photo credit: Megan Shandel

Michael Sciulli and Michael Sciulli

The Robert Morris men’s hockey team improved their record to 2-2 overall (2-2 AHC) after defeating the Army Black Knights Friday night 4-2. Luke Lynch the led scoring for the Colonials with two goals, and goalie Francis Marotte helped seal the win with 39 saves, 21 of which came in the third period. During the third, the Colonials were able to withstand an onslaught from Army as the Black Knights came in waves but were unable to put the puck past the sophomore goaltender.

One of the keys to this victory for the Colonials was their hot start. It took just one minute for RMU to to earn its first power play. After that, it took just a few more seconds for Eric Israel to put the Colonials in the lead. His goal came from a cross-ice pass from Michael Louria. Alex Tonge also picked up an assist on the first RMU goal of the night.

After getting on the board, the Colonials wasted no time doubling their lead. Not even a minute after Israel’s tally, sophomore Luke Lynch added his first of the night when he put the puck past Army’s senior goaltender Cole Burns.

Marotte said that it was “big” for the team to jump out to a two-goal lead. He then said that it gave the team a “big energy boost” which helped the team outwork an Army team that Marotte complimented by saying “they never stop.”

Marotte and the Colonials needed this hot start, as the Black Knights cut the RMU lead in half with a goal from junior Tipper Higgins midway through the first. The teams then traded power plays heading into the first intermission.

As the action spilled into the second period, it was senior Brady Ferguson who scored the eventual game winner for the Colonials as he tacked on a short-handed goal to put RMU up 3-1. However, shortly after returning to full strength, the Black Knights pulled closer again with a goal from Michael Wilson.

It would be another penalty kill that sparked the fourth and final goal for the Colonials. Shortly after Spencer Dorowicz exited the box, he sent a pass that set up a rush from Matthew Graham. Graham’s shot was turned away, but it was Luke Lynch who was first to the rebound, putting it past Burns for his second goal of the night.

The solid penalty kill helped carry the Colonials tonight as they were able to kill off all five of Army’s power plays. RMU’s penalty kill was “excellent in our forecheck” according to coach Derek Schooley. This caused Army problems when entering the zone, as he mentioned that they also did a good job of “bottling” the Black Knights around the blue line.

In the third period, however, Army came to life, outshooting the Colonials 21-6. This was a result of turnovers that Marotte admitted came from his own sloppy play. Schooley also mentioned that “lack of communication” did not help the Colonials’ cause. “I think we learned a little bit from the Canisius game when we were up 3-0 and they came back and tied us 3-3,” said Schooley.

RMU will need to continue to learn and build upon their experience if they want to sweep the weekend series against Army tomorrow night. Lynch thinks that the key tomorrow night for the Colonials will be to “come out, playing our game.” Fans can see if he is correct Saturday night as the two teams square off again with a 7:05 p.m. puck drop.