Colonials start weekend right with 3-1 victory

Amy Shubilla

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Energy was the theme of the game for the Robert Morris men’s hockey team Friday night against Air Force.

The Colonials were on the grind as they generated a goal per period and the penalty kill unit also had a chance to show what they’re capable of, securing a 3-1 victory for RMU at the Island Sports Center.

“We came in and we battled hard. We didn’t give them much all game long,” said sophomore goaltender Terry Shafer. “Defense really stood tall for us. When the defense is going, the forwards are going. It was a real team effort tonight, all the way through.”

The first period was scoreless, but the Colonials displayed pure energy. The defensive corps had their work cut out for them, facing an explosive Falcon offense, but despite the opposition, RMU managed to control the puck.

The penalty killing unit was tested early, 25 seconds into play, when Matt Cope was sent to the box for hooking. However, the penalty was killed and immediately after coming out of the box, Cope and Greg Gibson rushed down the ice for a promising chance, only for the net to be dislodged.

This would be the start of a trend that would last throughout the remainder of the game. Killing all five penalties, including a five-on-three, the PK unit was just about flawless.

“Our penalty kill effort was good,” explained head coach Derek Schooley. “When you win special teams battles, you give yourself a pretty good chance to win the game and we won the special teams’ battle one nothing.”

A little over a minute into the second period (1:15), Chase Golightly scored his third goal of the season when he shoved the puck past AF net minder Chris Truehl. Jeff Jones and Colin South both assisted.

“I just saw the boys in the corner and they were working hard and for some reason there was no one in front of the net so I snuck down and then they just dished it right to me,” the defensemen said of his goal.

“I think it was just the tipping point we needed. We were all over them and I think just popping that in kind of gave the boys some confidence to keep going, keep trusting in what we’re doing,” he continued.

David Friedmann, unassisted, scored the lone third period goal when he took a shot from the dot and sent the puck clear to the back of the net to set the Colonials ahead, 2-0.

The energy continued to surge well into the final period of play.

The vigor reached its peak at the 18:11 mark when Air Force’s net was empty. Gibson passed the puck around the back of the net to Cope who helped the puck to Brandon Denham, who easily knocked in the final goal of the night for the Colonials.

It would have been a picture perfect shutout for Shafer if not for an Air Force goal scored with a mere five seconds left in play.

But with 23 saves and a four-game win streak, he wasn’t too upset.

“That’s hockey. The hockey gods decided today was not the day for me to get a shutout,” the sophomore said. “Shutouts are great and all but the only real stat that you see in the standings is wins and losses, not shutouts.”

It’s been a main objective for Robert Morris to focus on the future and continue to work hard. The first game of the Air Force series is a prime example of that mentality.

“This game was all about our work ethic,” Schooley said. “Our work ethic and our want and our compete level and our battle level was sky high. It was unbelievable. A pretty complete game actually from front to back.”

The energy seen tonight stands a good chance of being carried over into Saturday’s game. With a second win on the weekend, the Colonials will have their first sweep since the January 4-5 series versus Sacred Heart.

“We’ve got to come out hard again,” said Golightly. “I know they’re going to be pretty mad about losing, so they’re going to come out and work even harder, so we just need to be ready for that and hopefully do the same thing again tomorrow.”

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