NEVILLE ISLAND, Pa. — Robert Morris forward Nathan Longpre had been working hard and generating chances the first five games of the season, but he hadn’t been rewarded for the effort, until tonight.
Longpre set a Robert Morris record for goals in a game and led the way in an 8-5 victory over the No. 18 Quinnipiac Bobcats in one of the most bizarre contests in recent memory at the Island Sports Center. It was the perfect type of game for a Halloween night.
“Scary! We gave up way too many shots and we took way too many penalties but we played hard, and the things we talked about before the game were the things we did well tonight,” coach Derek Schooley said in summarizing his team’s play.
Scary could have been an understatement in describing his team’s performance on this night. The Colonials were outshot 63-33 and were penalized 10 times, yet seemed to put almost every good opportunity into the back of the net.
From the opening faceoff, the Colonials looked like a completely different team than the one that took the ice the previous night. They moved the puck more decisively, had greater intensity, and played smarter through the neutral zone. However, just as the night before, it was the Bobcats that lit the lamp first.
Freshman defenseman Zach Davies started the scoring onslaught with a shot from just inside the blue line through plenty of traffic to put the Bobcats up 1-0 at 5:49 of the first.
Longpre then tied the game for the Colonials at the 12:48 mark when he skated wide around a Bobcats’ defender, cut directly to the net and buried a shot past starting Bobcats’ goaltender Dan Clarke. It was only the beginning for Longpre.
On the Colonials’ first power play of the night, Longpre scored again with a blast from the left point at 13:24 to give his team its first lead of the weekend.
However, Quinnipiac managed to tie the game almost a minute later when Scott Zurevinski let rip a long low shot that beat Colonials’ netminder Eric Levine to knot the game at two, closing out the scoring in the first.
Trevor Lewis started off the scoring in the second with a power-play goal at :53 with a shot from the top of the circle, followed by the Longpre hat-trick tally at 7:38 of the second.
The Bobcats had several power-play chances in the frame which could have been huge turning points in the contest, if it hadn’t been for the outstanding performance by Levine, who turned away 32 shots in the second period alone, including 16 power-play shots in the second, many of which came with the Bobcats working on a five-on-three advantage for 1:47.
The Longpre show then gave one last salute to the audience, as the junior forward scored his fourth of the night on an amazing individual effort that found the back of the net at the 12:42 mark, giving the Colonials a 5-2 advantage through the remainder of the second.
Longpre added an assist in the third to give himself a five point night
“Last night, we got beat pretty bad, and we didn’t want to come out tonight again like that, we wanted to send a message to them; I just kept it simple and kept firing the puck on net,” Longpre remarked on his record performance.
Quinnipiac managed to cut the deficit to two goals at the start of the third when Eric Lampe scored on the Bobcats’ eighth power play of the night.
However the Colonials’ energy spark, Ron Cramer, and penalty kill specialist, JC Velasquez, both stepped away from their respective roles to score death knell-type goals within three minutes of each other to put the game out of reach.
After two more very late Bobcats’ power-play goals, Velasquez scored his second goal on the night with an empty netter at 19:58 to put an end to a bizarre night for both teams.
The Colonials improved to 2-4-0 with the win while the Bobcats fell to 4-1-0 on the year.
Robert Morris will begin College Hockey America play next weekend at Bemidji State.