HAMILTON, N.Y. — Robert Morris came into Colgates Starr Rink to begin a game non-conference series with the Raiders riding a four game winning streak. The Colonials had swept both then-top ranked Miami in a home-and-home series two weeks ago before toppling rival Alabama-Huntsville twice last weekend.
Colgate, meanwhile, split two ECAC games, losing last Friday at St. Lawrence, but winning Saturday at Clarkson.
On Friday, Colgate maintained an early edge in possession and shots on goal.
It paid off 7:05 into the first where Jason Williams found the back of the net.
Adam Corrin dumped the puck into the Robert Morris zone and Christian Long battled for the puck in the corner. Long passed it out in front of the net, where it found Williams stick. Williams then was able to beat Robert Morris goalie Brooks Ostergard and put Colgate up 1-0.
After Christian Long and Brian Day took penalties within 14 seconds of each other, Colgate found themselves down two men with five minutes left in the first. Colgate was able to kill both off and even manufacture chances while short-handed.
The penalty kill was fantastic, the penalty killers really stepped up, it was a huge shift of momentum, said Raiders assistant coach Brad Dexter.
That momentum helped produce a second Colgate goal.
After that key penalty kill, Colgate was sustaining pressure in the offensive zone. Williams left the puck for Thomas Larkin at the point. Larkin took a blistering slap shot that Robbie Bourdon was able to redirect into the back of the net, increasing the Colgate lead to 2-0 with just 31 seconds left in the first.
Early in the second, Robert Morris battled their way back into the game.
Tallying a power-play goal cutting the Raiders lead in half, 2-1, 2:38 into the period. The Colonials worked in the offensive zone, cycling the puck behind the net. Nathan Longpre was able to move the puck out to defenseman Denny Urban, who let a wrist shot go. Raider goalie Alex Evin was able to stop the initial shot, however Zach Hervato was waiting right in front to bang the rebound home.
We know every game counts. We are playing for pride, said Colonials coach Derek Schooley.
However, that was the only goal Robert Morris would manufacture.
Later in the second, Robert Morris attempted to clear the puck out of their defensive zone. Jason Williams made a strong effort to keep the puck on-sides and to wrap it around the end boards to Robbie Bourdon.
Bourdon dropped the puck to Corbin McPherson at the top of the faceoff circle where he was able to put it over the glove of Ostergard. At 10:25 of the second, Colgate regained its two-goal lead.
Colgate won the battles, they were more focused, said Schooley.
The third period was relatively even, with good paced hockey.
In a last-ditch effort to comeback, Robert Morris pulled Ostergard, leaving their net open. With exactly one minute left in the game, Ethan Cox sealed the deal with an empty-net goal. Austin Smith was given the assist on the play.
Brooks Ostergard finished with 28 saves for Robert Morris, while Alex Evin stopped 25 for Colgate.
Thats a good team we played. They are going to be motivated to come out tomorrow. We have to be ready to battle, said Dexter.
Colgate (9-9-4) and Robert Morris (7-13-3) will square off again on Saturday. Face off is 7 p.m.