NEVILLE ISLAND, Pa. — Not many in attendance Friday really knew what to expect from the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers, who were playing their first game against a Division I opponent in almost three weeks, coming off a strong opening weekend where they played two close games at national power Colorado College.
Would it be a rested team, or a rusty one?
Charger coach Danton Cole had a good idea of what kind of effort it would take to earn a point away from home after a long layoff.
“We didn’t want to ease our way into it, said Cole. I don’t think Robert Morris is the type of team that you want to ease your way into the game with, they come out strong and finish their checks, and you have to be ready from the drop of the puck.
The Chargers brought their lunch pails and turned in another workmanlike effort, giving up the body to block shots, battling for and winning their fair share of loose pucks, and overall seemed to give a more intense effort than their opponent en route to a 3-3 tie.
The first period saw no scoring but did see a good many RMU scoring chances that were unable to find the back of the net, thanks to UAH goaltender Cameron Talbot who made nine saves in the period. Both teams went 0-for-2 on the power play and the Colonials seemed to have an advantage in terms of play in their opponents end — and missed opportunities.
The scoring drought ended at 2:40 of the second period when Matt Baxter scored a power-play goal from the point assisted from Brandon Roshko and Tom Train. Then, with RMU’s Dave Cowan serving two minutes for roughing, Charger freshman forward Cody Campbell put his team up 2-0, taking a nice cross ice pass and burying his chance in an open cage at the 5:51 mark.
The Chargers then had two critical penalty kills in the middle of the second, and really started to seize the momentum of the game when all of the sudden, the veteran Colonial difference makers brought their side back to life. RMU’s Chris Margott picked his spot from the slot on Charger goaltender Talbot at the 19:31 mark to bring his team to within one goal, and he wasn’t finished yet.
UAH seemed to ratchet up the intensity to another level in the third, getting good scoring chances and had a goal disallowed at the 5:31 mark.
Colonial netminder Wes Russel was solid in net once again and stopped a few odd man breaks in the third period including a pad save on a breakaway from UAH’s Andrew Coburn at 7:25. Then, RMU senior forward Jason Towsley, in a 4-on-4 situation, found the back of the net lifting a shot from the right circle to beat Talbot cleanly at the 12:17 mark, tying the game at two.
Just a little over a minute later, Colonial killer Cale Tanaka put home a rebound of a Cody Cambell shot to give his team the lead again at 13:25. With time winding down in the third, Margott netted his 100th career point by burying a close range shot from near the left post area to tie the game with 1:30 remaining in the third.
The overtime saw RMU generate a few more scoring chances including a very close shot on an odd man break that saw Talbot stand tall and make the save, keeping his team’s point safe and further frustrating the Colonials as he had done most of the night.
RMU Coach Derek Schooley believed that his team needs to have more players stepping up to help out on the offensive side.
“Huntsville’s a very good team and we gave up a lot of odd-man rushes and good scoring chances, and those are things that we can’t do. We need to get some more out of some people, we can’t keep having the same people contribute. We need to get more balanced scoring out here, it’s not good enough to skate around and produce a lot of energy, we need to have some finishers here too.”