PITTSBURGH- The Robert Morris Colonials men’s hockey team (1-0) started regular season play on Friday with a 3-2 win over the Bowling Green State University Falcons (2-1).
The first period started off messy for both teams, with neither having many chances. The Colonials would be down a player for the rest of the game as freshman Grant Hebert had a game misconduct penalty for checking from behind with 3:58 remaining in the period. Bowling Green winger Casey Linkenheld got called for a cross-checking minor after the fact to make it a 4-on-4 game for two minutes.
Coach Derek Schooley said, “(BGSU) took it to us during the 4-on-4 before our power play… we bent but we didn’t break… our goalie was really good”. At the end of the first period of play, Bowling Green was outshooting the Colonials 13 to nine, but the Robert Morris netminder Francis Marrotte saved every one of them.
At the start of the second period, it seemed like more of the same for Robert Morris, as junior defenseman Alex Robert was called for cross-checking just 30 seconds into the frame. Bowling Green only got one shot on net during the power-play. The first goal of the game would come at the 3:50 mark of the period when Cameron Wright, a sophomore forward for the Falcons, put home a loose puck after a block from Nolan Schaeffer. The assists would go to Max Johnson and Brandon Kruse. Kruse was a fifth-round draft pick by the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
The tide turned for the Colonials in the second as Lukas Craggs of the Falcons would be sent to the locker room after running Colonials freshman Kip Hoffmann into the net with 9:40 remaining in the period. Robert Morris would strike three minutes into the major penalty when Nick Prkusic would intercept a potential clearance pass, toe-drag around the defender and snipe it into the top corner. Justin Addamo would get the first point of his college career, and Alex Robert would also pick up an assist.
The second period wasn’t over for the Colonials, however, as not even a minute later, Michael Louria put home a saucer pass from Alex Tonge to make it 2-1 in favor of Robert Morris. Tonge’s assist gave him his 100th career point in his collegiate career with the Colonials. He is now the 11th all-time 100 point scorer in Colonials history. Justin Addamo also added an assist on the goal. When asked about adjusting to the North American style of play after playing hockey in France, Addamo said; “In America, the game is much faster… and the ice is narrower; (197 ft x 98.4 ft internationally vs. 200 ft x 85 ft in North America)”.
In the third period, Frédéric Létourneau tied the game up for the Falcons. The junior from Québec jammed a loose puck past fellow Québécois player Francis Marrotte during a scrum in front of the net. Chris Pohlkamp and Alex Barber assisted on the goal. This was Barber’s first point of his career.
The Colonials retook the lead, however, as Nick Jenny would spring Daniel Mantenuto on a breakaway. Although Mantenuto’s attempt was saved by Bowling Green netminder Eric Dop, assistant captain Alex Tonge was finally able to put one in the net, after missing on two one-timers back in the second period. The game finished 3-2 in favor of the Colonials, after Alex Robert made the game-saving play, as he blocked a potential game-tying shot by Bowling Green in the final minute.
At the end of the game, Justin Addamo and Alex Tonge both had two points for the Colonials, while Francis Marrotte was stellar in net, with 37 saves on 39 shots, good enough for a .949 save percentage. Marrotte said that the freshman defenseman corps of Brendan Michaelian, Nolan Schaeffer, Aidan Girduckis and Geoff Lawson “made my job easier a lot of times… I thought they played really well”.
The Colonials next head to the Slater Family Ice Arena in Bowling Green, Ohio for the second leg of their doubleheader with the Falcons. The game is Sunday, October 14th, and puck drop is at 5:07 in the afternoon.