NEVILLE ISLAND, Pa. — In the first of six meetings during the last two months of the season between the Beavers and Colonials, Bemidji State forward Brandon Marino’s power-play goal at 9:19 of the second period, proved to be decisive as the Beavers won their second straight conference game.
The game played itself out in the traditional BSU/RMU style which featured bone crunching checks, dirty goals, and an extra shove or two after most whistles.
“They had more energy than us after we tied it at 2-2 and 3-3, we expended too much energy coming back the way we had to.” said Robert Morris coach Derek Schooley, referring to his teams effort in erasing BSU leads of 2-0 and 3-2 in the first and second periods.
Bemidji State opened the scoring early in the first as Matt Francis took a pass from Chris Peluso along the boards and stuffed the puck past Colonial starting goaltender Jim Patterson at the 2:59 mark to give his team the early 1-0 advantage.
The goal seemed to be a wake-up call for the Colonials, who picked up their pace over the next series of shifts, nearly tying the score when RMU forward Chris Kushneriuk almost redirected a puck that was sailing through Beaver goaltender Matt Dalton’s crease.
The Beavers responded by applying a great deal of forechecking pressure, and reaped the fruits of their labor as BSU defenseman Graham McManamin put the puck past Patterson at 12:54 of the first, the puck appearing to just trickle past the Colonial goalkeeper.
Then with two critical goals, the Colonials were back in business.
Robert Morris forward Jason Towsley cut the deficit in half with a beautiful, rising shot from the right circle at the 18:06 mark. And just 29 seconds later, with some traffic parked in front of Dalton, Chris Margott scored to knot the game at 2 before the end of the first period.
Bemidji State opened the second frame on the power play, and took 1:20 to reclaim the lead with Beaver defenseman Brad Hunt scoring on a booming shot from the center point, with an assist from Shea Walters. But Margott answered less than two minutes later for the Colonials, putting home a pass from Denny Urban, for his 13th goal of the season at 3:36 of the second.
And then, the Beavers hit the reset button.
Following the tying goal, the Beavers put the clamps down on the RMU attack, foiling the Colonial breakout, and clogging neutral ice with physical play, and hard work. Bemidji State seemed to be the first team on the puck for most of the remainder of the contest.
After Colonial defenseman Matt Krug was sent to the box at the 7:27 mark, the Beavers used a great power-play effort to take the lead for good as Brandon Marino found a deflected pass at the bottom of the left circle, and shoveled it into a nearly open net, scoring his fourth goal of the season with an assist from Cody Bostock at 9:19 of the second.
Matt Read tallied his second goal and third point on the night at 3:17 of the third, taking a pass from Ian Lowe at the left wing boards, and finishing with a tap in past Colonial netminder Wes Russell which finished the scoring on the evening.
The Colonials got few chances the rest of the way, and though they outshot the Beavers 29-28, it was the special teams effort of Bemidji State that got the job done on this night.
“Their power play was outstanding tonight and our penalty killing was not where it needs to be, and that was the difference in the game.” remarked coach Schooley following the game.
With the loss, Robert Morris falls to 5-14-4 on the season while Bemidji State improves 10-13-0