NEVILLE ISLAND, Pa. — The Robert Morris Colonials earned two huge conference points against the visiting Bemidji State Beavers at the Island Sports Center tonight, using two goal performances by forwards JC Velasquez and Nathan Longpre and a 23 save effort from starting goaltender Brooks Ostergard.
“He was very good the first period and that was the difference.” Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore said. “We had a breakdown defensively and they got up 1-0, it would have been nice to convert in the first but we didn’t and that gave them some momentum.”
The Beavers’ started the game as the hungrier team, putting up 16 total shots and struck iron with good, hard shots on several occasions, but could not put the puck behind Ostergard.
The Colonials’ got on the board at the 17:22 mark of the first when captain Dave Cowan fired a hard shot from near the top of the left circle that beat starting Beaver goaltender Dan Bakala through some traffic. It was Cowan’s first goal of the season, and seemed to energize his team going into the second.
The Colonials’ then went to work killing off the reminder of a two-minute bench minor for two minute to start the second frame which they did, and then proceeded to start tacking on to the one goal lead the rest of the period.
Sophomore forward Ron Cramer netted his fourth goal of the year at 10:22 of the second, tipping a Dave Cowan shot past Bakala as the Colonials’ were working hard in the Beaver zone.
And then the Colonial power play went to work with a two man advantage in the last two minutes of the period, setting the stage for Nathan Longpre’s tally at 19:02. Longpre skated from the right boards to the slot area and unleashed a wrister that found the back of the net with assists going to Denny Urban and Cody Crichton, putting the home team in command 3-0 at the end of two.
The Colonials, who had been having some difficulty converting third period leads into wins in recent ties at Colgate and Niagara, seemingly put the game out of reach with a fourth tally at 6:08 of the third when Velasquez scored his second goal on the night with a low shot that just trickled through the five hole of Bakala. It started to look like just one of those nights for the Beavers.
“A lot of things have went our way this year, things went their way tonight and they deserved the victory,” Serratore remarked in post game comments.
The Beavers’ refused to go quietly though. Tyler Lehrke ruined Ostergard’s shutout bid at 13:34 of the third with a wicked wrister from the top of the left circle while the Beavers were on the power play. And Jordan George took the deficit down to two goals at 17:53 when he put a Colonial giveaway behind the net into an open cage with the extra attacker on the ice.
Less than half a minute later though, Longpre managed to ice the game with an empty net tally on a strong individual effort to close out the scoring on the night.
“We’ve let too many teams back into games,” Colonials head coach Derek Schooley said. “You don’t want to let teams just hang around and that’s what we talked about going into the third period. We were okay in the first, we needed to take care of the puck better and Brooks Ostergard was very good. We didn’t want to let them back into the game, but we did a good job extending the lead to 4-0 tonight.”
The same teams finish the weekend series Saturday night at the Island Sports Center at 7:05 pm.