PLYMOUTH, Mich. — For Wayne State, maybe it should snow ten inches every Saturday.
With conditions outside nearly undriveable and causing gridlock on major roads and expressways in the metro Detroit area, Wayne State took two points over upstart Robert Morris in a 4-1 College Hockey America win Saturday afternoon.
Robert Morris (4-14-3, 0-8-1 CHA) earned its lone CHA point against Wayne State earlier in the season in a 1-1 tie on Nov. 13. The Warriors are now 12-9-2 overall and 5-4-2 in conference play.
“Any time you win, you have to be ecstatic,” Wayne State head coach Bill Wilkinson said. “Whether you beat a first-place team or a last-place team, a win is a win.”
WSU sophomore Mark Nebus scored twice for the Warriors and junior goalie Matt Kelly made 23 saves to earn the decision.
Adam Krug got WSU on the board just 1:59 into the game. Tylor Michel took the puck from behind the Robert Morris goal and centered it to Krug, who batted it past RMU goalie Christian Boucher.
The Colonials evened the score when Brett Hopfe scored a power-play tally at 5:57 of the opening period. Just seven seconds into Greg Poupard’s penalty, Hopfe ended up with a loose puck on his stick after a Joe Federoff shot and Kelly out of position. Hopfe had an empty net and made no mistake.
At the end of an uneventful second period, Nebus tipped home a shot from Dan Iliakis at 19:24 to swing the momentum back the Warriors’ way heading into the third period.
“We were cycling up high,” explained Nebus. “Stavros passed it back to Iliakis and his shot went off my skate. I guess it was a lucky goal.”
“It was a garbage goal,” Wilkinson said. “But those are the kinds of goals Nebus is used to scoring. He’s not a fancy player and usually gets shots that result in second and third chances.”
It was Nebus again at 6:19 of the third period. Busting down the left wing side, Nebus burned a Colonial defenseman and then Boucher five-hole on his own rebound for a two-goal cushion.
Jason Bloomingburg made it 4-1 with a 4-on-3 power-play goal at 8:52. Coming in off the right-wing side, Bloomingburg fluttered a Stavros Paskaris pass over Boucher’s shoulder. The goal was Bloomingburg’s team-leading 15th of the season.
For Robert Morris, Boucher finished with 24 saves.
“We have to come out and match their intensity tomorrow because they’ll come right at us,” added Wilkinson. “Tonight I wasn’t happy with our total effort, but the third period we came alive.”
The series concludes Sunday at 2:05 p.m.