HAMDEN, Conn. — Three power-play goals and five players with two points apiece were the difference for Robert Morris (4-11-2, 0-5-1 CHA), which earned its fourth victory of the season, all against Atlantic Hockey foes.
The Colonials upended the Quinnipiac Bobcats (5-7-2, 2-2-1 AHA) 5-2 Saturday night at the Northford Ice Pavilion.
The theme of the night was roller-coaster momentum changes. The spirit and energy went from one side of the stands to the other during the game.
Quinnipiac dominated play for the first eight minutes of the first period. The Bobcats looked like a reborn team from the previous night, playing more physically, creating turnovers, crashing the net on rebounds, and making big hits on the boards.
Ironically, Robert Morris got on the board first at 8:28 of the first, on a power-play goal by Jeff Gilbert. The Colonials were on a 4-on-3 power play and Gilbert ripped a shot from the slot, hit the crossbar and bounced it in past Bobcat goaltender Jamie Holden. Brett Hopfe and Jace Buzek assisted.
“We wanted to play hard and set the pace and tempo of the game,” said Robert Morris coach Derek Schooley.
After that goal, the momentum shifted in favor of the even-keeled Colonials. Quinnipiac’s composure slowly diminished.
Robert Morris scored its second goal of the night at 13:30 of the first on a breakaway by Kurt Wright. The play developed when the Bobcats were on the power play; as the penalty ended Wright came out of the box, where David Boguslawski saw him wide open at the Quinnipiac blue line and fed him the puck. Wright went in all alone and shelved the puck blocker side over Holden. Buzek also assisted on the goal, his second of the night.
In the second period, Quinnipiac had better opportunities thanks to physical play. The closest they came early on was on a shot by Craig Falite that hit the inside of the post and slid across the goal line until Robert Morris goalie Christian Boucher covered it up.
Robert Morris made it 3-0 when Quinnipiac made an early line change which sent the Colonials in on a 3-on-2. Chris Kaufman started the play when he picked up a puck along the boards at the Colonials’ blue line. He sent a pass to an open Joe Federoff, who fed Sean Berkstresser for a one-timer past Holden.
After the Bobcats called a timeout, Matt Craig won the faceoff back to Reid Cashman, who passed to Mark Van Vliet, who got the puck back to Craig again. He made a beautiful deke move past two defenders and over the pads of Boucher.
That presaged the play in the last seven minutes of the period, during which Quinnipiac was the offensive team, creating opportunity after opportunity.
“We expected Quinnipiac to have a lot of energy and enthusiasm throughout the game, but we were able to sustain the pressure and fight through it,” said Schooley.
But for the third time on the night, when Quinnipiac appeared to take control, Robert Morris scored again. Wright tallied his second of the night, and team-leading sixth of the season, at 6:10 of the second period. The Colonials cycled the puck around the zone where Wright took the shot and got a bounce over Holden’s glove. Rob Cowan and Boguslawski assisted on the play.
Quinnipiac brought in backup goaltender Josh Siembida for the third period. His impact was felt in the first 30 seconds, as he came out of the crease to stop a breakaway and slid across the ice to knock the puck out of the zone.
Robert Morris then took three straight penalties to put Quinnipiac on a 5-on-3 power play. The Bobcats capitalized with a goal by Jamie Bates. Cashman was at the top of the right circle and fed an undefended Bates on the doorstep, and he put it in the net.
But the Colonials scored their third power-play goal of the night on a rebound shot by Doug Conley through the five-hole of Siembida. Federoff and Berkstresser assisted.
“Our guys played hard tonight,” said Schooley. “When Quinnipiac scored we were determined to score right back and keep the pressure on.”
Robert Morris was 3 for 8 on the power play and accumulated 38 shots on the night. Quinnipiac was 1 for 7 on the power play and had 31 shots.
Boucher made 29 saves in net for the win.
The results was Quinnipiac’s first loss at home on the season. They are now 4-1-1 at the Northford Ice Pavilion.