NEVILLE ISLAND, Pa. — The Alabama-Huntsville Chargers and Robert Morris Colonials each came into this weekend’s series desperately needing a win, but the Chargers came away with one on the road.
Alabama-Huntsville managed four goals on just 17 shots en route to their first conference win of the season. The Chargers got inspired play once again from their penalty kill, and Cameron Talbot provided a repeat performance of last night, allowing only two goals on over forty shots.
Add into that mix a crucial third goal that changed direction twice, and some lucky scoring chances against that missed by mere inches, and the Chargers executed a recipe for a great road win, their fourth of the season.
“I thought the guys worked a lot harder tonight; they just seemed to be ready to battle from the start,” said Chargers’ coach Danton Cole. “Our team felt kind of lucky to get a point out of last night, but I liked some of the things we did tonight; we kind of acted like winners at certain times, which was good.”
The first period witnessed both teams feeling each other out and getting a handle on how close the officiating crew were going to call this one, as they combined for eight penalties in the opening frame.
The greatest scoring chance came at around the eight-minute mark when Colonials’ forward Chris Kushneriuk stormed into the Chargers’ zone on a short-handed breakaway which Cameron Talbot just managed to get a pad on.
Unlike Friday’s tilt however, the Colonials struck first, with the first career goal from freshman Zach Hervato, who knocked home a rebound with forward Ron Cramer creating havoc in front Talbot, just 1:46 into the second period on the power play.
The Colonials looked as if the lift from Hervato’s goal was tilting the ice in their favor for the next five minutes, as their forecheck went to work and generated more scoring opportunities which Talbot denied.
With things seemingly going their way, the Chargers started chiming in on some chances of their own.
Freshman forward Sebastian Geoffrion scored his first career goal at 6:57 of the second, converting a pass from the left wing boards to the slot around two Colonials’ defenders who fell down almost simultaneously.
The Chargers then found a way to knock in another opportunity when Matti Jarvinen skated around a Colonials’ defender and threw the puck back towards the crease, where it found Chargers’ forward Tom Train and at least three or four other players who came crashing in on top of goaltender Brooks Ostergard, to put the Chargers in front at the 15:41 mark.
The third period opened up with the Colonials just missing on a well executed two-on-one that had beaten Talbot.
Several minutes later, the Chargers found their secret weapon and put it to use. At the 6:37 mark, defenseman Curtis deBruyn unleashed a wrist shot from just inside the blue line that appeared to ricochet off of Andrew Coburn and Cody Campbell, who were parked near the front of the net, past Ostergard to up the Chargers’ lead to two goals.
The Chargers weren’t finished there, as Campbell supplied another tally, this one on the power play at 8:59 with assists to Kevin Morrison and Davide Nicoletti, which seemed to take most of the life out of the Colonials, who managed one more goal on the night at 12:14 when forward Furman South deflected a Stephan Salituro wrist shot at even strength, slicing the lead back to two goals.
However, they never seriously threatened the rest of the way, as Alabama-Huntsville slammed the door with yet another timely penalty kill in the closing minutes.
“Hats off to them (Alabama-Huntsville), they played hard and outworked us in the third period,” said Colonials’ coach Derek Schooley. “I think the difference this weekend was their penalty killing and their goaltending. Cameron Talbot was very good. Their penalty killing shut down our power play at key times. We lost the special teams battle all weekend basically. I think we might have deserved a little better fate. It’s frustrating. Huntsville came into our building once again and took points from us.”
The Colonials will return to action this Friday when they travel to Niagara for one game, while the Chargers take the ice next on January 2 at Vermont.