Men’s hockey wins in dramatic fashion

Bill Paterson

Brooke Smith, Sports Editor

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The Robert Morris University NCAA men’s hockey team defeated American International College (AIC) 4-3 in overtime on Sunday night to advance to the second round of the Atlantic Hockey Association (AHA) playoffs.

“Well we definitely made it interesting for our fans and ourselves,” said head coach, Derek Schooley.  “I thought we played an excellent hockey game, we competed extremely hard and completed everything that we talked about this morning in our meeting.”

Scoring the game winner just 2:13 into the extra frame was senior forward, Brandon Blandina.

“We back checked hard. Harv [Zach Hervato] and Ron [Cramer] went to work,” said Blandina. “I just kind of floated back door, and Ron put it right on my tape and I didn’t really have to do much, so it was a great feeling.”

Colin South, Nick Chiavetta, and Scott Jacklin helped the Colonials obtain a 3-0 lead which they saw evaporate starting at 5:55 of the third period when Nielsson Archibal scored his first of three straight goals for AIC.

Archibal’s third goal of the night came with just over 19 seconds remaining in the game to force overtime, but the Colonials were confident that they could win this game.

“We had a chance to win with about 19 seconds left.  To not get it done then was pretty disappointing,” said senior forward, Nick Chiavetta.  “But we went back in the locker room and regrouped, so to get it done early in overtime is a great feeling.”

The Colonials can also be proud of the fact that both their penalty kill and power play saw success tonight with South’s goal being shorthanded and both Chiavetta and Jacklin’s goals coming with the man-advantage.

“Our PK struggled in the past two games and tonight we did much better.  I think it gave us a bit more confidence to keep working harder,” said Blandina.  “The power play has been doing well lately, they’ve been keeping us in games when we need them.”

“Special teams are such an important part of the game.  Our penalty kill has been doing very well all year and it’s won us a lot of games,” said Chiavetta.  “So we need to keep that going and our power play is clicking now.”

With the series win against AIC, the Colonials will now travel to Niagara to take on the #2 ranked Purple Eagles Friday, March 9, Saturday, March 10 and if necessary Sunday, March 11.

“We’re expecting very solid goaltending, and for it to be very intense, but we know we just have to keep shooting the puck and need to match the intensity like we did this weekend,” said Chiavetta “I think we’ll be fine.  It’s always a rivalry between us, and it’s going to be a tight game so we just need to come out on top.”

 

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