HAMILTON, N.Y. — For the second consecutive evening, the Robert Morris Colonials squared off with the Colgate Raiders at Starr Rink. This game picked up right where last night ended, with fast-paced, hard-hitting action throughout.
Colgate’s power play was working early, as they converted their first chance of the game 12:45 into the first. Raiders’ left winger Francois Brisebois left the puck for Robbie Bourdon at the point. Bourdon wound up and took a slap shot that Nick Prockow was able to deflect in for the goal and Colgate took a 1-0 lead.
A Colgate penalty gave Robert Morris a power play at the start of the second. The Colonials were able to sustain pressure throughout the advantage and it paid off. Furman South cycled the puck through to Ron Cramer behind the net. Cramer was able to work it out the point where Andrew Blazek blasted a slap shot, knotting the game at one just four seconds after the Colgate penalty expired, 2:01 into the second period.
Five minutes later, a Wade Poplawski turnover in the defensive zone proved costly for the Raiders, as Colonials’ wingmen Zach Hervato and Stefan Salituro went in two-on-none. Hervato skated in with the puck and dished it across to Salituro, who one-timed it past a diving Alex Evin, giving Robert Morris a 2-1 lead at 7:08.
“We need to learn from these games; mistakes are part of the process,” said Colgate’s assistant coach Brad Dexter. “It’s the experience you gain that helps you move forward.”
The Colonials doubled their lead just two minutes later. After receiving a pass from South, Cramer skated the puck into the zone and dropped it off to Josh Jones. Jones took a wrist shot from the top of the right circle that beat a screened Evin.
“We played great in the first two periods,” said Robert Morris’ coach Derek Schooley. “We brought intensity and it paid off.”
Skating four aside midway through the second, Raiders’ co-captain David McIntyre won a battle for the puck in the corner in the offensive zone. He connected a pass to Brian Day, who was in the high slot. Day one-timed it past Colonials’ netminder Eric Levine, cutting the lead to 3-2.
Going into the third period 3-2, everyone knew the next goal would be huge.
No one would have figured it would take over 19 minutes to get that next goal.
The third period went by with the teams trading opportunities back and forth. With 14:30 left in the game, Robert Morris’ Hervato was called for a hooking penalty. Just 1:11 later, Dave Cowan of Robert Morris received a cross-checking penalty. The Colonials were able to kill off this Raiders’ two-man advantage, and it was looking as if they were going to hold on.
With just 1:46 left in the game, Robert Morris’s Denny Urban was called for a checking from behind penalty. After a Colgate timeout and face off win, goalie Alex Evin skated to bench for an extra attacker and the Raiders had a six-on-four advantage.
Day sent the puck up to David McIntyre, who skated in and took a shot on net from just above the left hash mark. Austin Smith was able to put the rebound home and tie the game in front of an electric home crowd with just 49 seconds left.
“We don’t want to be in that situation, but sometimes it does happen,” said Dexter. “I give our guys credit for fighting back after being down by two. That last goal is a huge momentum boost.”
The game could have been much higher scoring had it not been for two stellar performances by the goalies. Both Evin and Levine had everyone buzzing after a few spectacular saves. Levine made a toe save through a screen late in the second, as well as a breakaway save early on in the third. Evin also had a big breakaway save, but his biggest save came early on a penalty kill, as he reached behind him and caught a puck destined to hit the twine.
Evin finished with 34 saves and Levine stopped 28.
Next weekend, Robert Morris (7-13-4, 3-4-2) will head to Minnesota where they will play two CHA games at Bemidji State.
Colgate (9-9-5, 6-4-1) will host two ECAC opponents, Clarkson on Friday and St. Lawrence on Saturday.