PITTSBURGH– The Robert Morris men’s hockey team (2-2, 2-0 AHA) has a six-point head start on AHA play as they defeated Bentley (0-2, 0-2 AHA) Saturday afternoon 4-1. Special teams were the true storyline for the Colonials, as they went nine for nine on the penalty kill as well as having two power-play goals.
Justin Kapelmaster took another step forward in becoming the team’s true starter as he faced 44 shots and stopped 45 of them. Essentially being the most valuable penalty killer, Kaplemaster stopped a total of 20 power-play shots by Bentley and stopped them all.
“The guy is a stud, he made some saves where I was scratching my head at, the guy battles his butt off and makes some really big saves for us,” stated sophomore Aidan Spellacy, who tallied both of Robert Morris’ power-play goals.
The first period is where the Colonials came out guns a blazing and put up three goals. The first of which came from Nick Jenny just a little over two minutes in. Jenny’s shot from the point saw no deletions and found its way to the back of the net, making it 1-0 RMU.
Aidan Spellacy’s first power-play marker came later in the period with assists going to Alex Robert and Luke Lynch. Less than a minute later, the Colonials scored again when Finnish forward Santeri Hartikainen scored his first NCAA goal. Suddenly, the Colonials found themselves with a three-goal lead.
Before the period could end though, Bentley’s Jakov Novak, a prospect of the Ottawa Senators, was able to score and end Justin Kaplemaster’s shutout streak. In the second, Aidan Spellacy got his second power-play goal of the night with assists to Justin Addamo and Luke Lynch making it 4-1.
The Colonials were able to hold on to the three-goal lead, but not without some hardships. As mentioned before, the special teams in this game were massively important with the penalty kill being stellar. RMU killed off nine penalties and won the game 4-1.
“We had a penalty kill practice and our penalty kill was outstanding hats off to the six to seven forwards I used consistently. All the D(efense) did a great job blocking shots and we frustrated them… we bent a couple of times but when we did, Kaplemaster was there. As much as I was irritated that we kept taking penalties, our penalty killing was doing such a good job that I was never really concerned,” said head coach Derek Schooley.
One of these penalty killers was senior Sean Giles who mentioned how familiar the special team’s units were with each other postgame
“I thought that our structure was really good and we knew our assignments. We have a lot of guys returning that have killed before…. We really did a good job talking and that helps get pucks down the ice. They (Bentley) were getting a little frustrated that we were doing such a good job clearing it and some of their offensive guys were even joking that we were not playing any five on five.”
Up next, the Colonials will take on Army in New York where they will look for another six points. The series will be the first time any of the current roster has traveled to Army West Point for an AHA game. The series will be on Friday at 7:05 p.m. and Saturday at 4:05 p.m.