MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — The Robert Morris Colonials earned another hard-fought conference victory tonight, as they rode the momentum of four consecutive goals in a 12-minute span to a 4-2 win over the visiting Connecticut Huskies.
Prior to the weekend series, the need for secondary scoring had become a priority for the Colonials, and it arrived just in time. Colonials forwards Ron Cramer and Zach Hervato each netted goals on the night, and forward Cody Crichton added two assists to the cause.
Both teams came ready to play. The Huskies were looking to avenge Friday night’s loss, and the Colonials seemed hungry for a conference sweep in front of the home crowd. The play early on resembled the style from the previous game, with lots of hitting and some prime scoring chances.
After Huskies goaltender Garrett Bartus thwarted Nathan Longpre on a short-handed breakaway, Brant Harris finished a play off the rush, taking a pass from freshman Billy Latta over the blue line and wristing it perfectly past Colonials netminder Eric Levine at 15:39 of the first period. It was the first power-play goal of the weekend for either side.
Any chance for the Huskies to build momentum off the early lead quickly vanished with an unfortunate bounce just over three minutes later. Longpre, who again was a factor in all three zones, sent a dangerous puck through the crease that deflected off a Huskies defender positioned at the far post past Bartus to tie the game at 18:51, with assists going to Cramer and defenseman Tyler Hinds.
Before the crowd had a chance to get comfortable following the tally, the Colonials lit the lamp again just 36 seconds later, as Hervato found a puck in the slot and instantly put it upstairs to give his team a lead it would not relinquish. It was Hervato’s fifth goal of the season, and it came at a pivotal time with less than a minute left before the intermission.
Robert Morris came out for the second firing on all cylinders as they won territory battles consistently and generated chances off the rush. The hard work paid off just 3:33 into the period when Scott Kobialko put the Colonials up 3-1, as he finished a dazzling tic-tac-toe passing frenzy with his second goal of the season. Cramer then finished out the scoring for the Colonials when he dented the twine with a tip in past Bartus at 11:28 for the only Robert Morris power play tally of the weekend.
Up until that point, the Huskies hadn’t cycled the puck down low with much success for most of the two-game set, but the second half of the second period belonged to them, as Levine had to keep on his toes to keep the Connecticut at bay.
Atlantic Hockey’s current freshman of the month, Billy Latta, had been a bright light for the Huskies all weekend, and he beat Levine on the power play at 13:26, with a perfectly-placed shot. Latta’s teammates gained a spark from his goal, and the Colonials seemed to hang on for dear life until the horn sounding the end of the second period arrived.
“I thought we played well for 50 of the 60 minutes tonight; we kind of got away from what we were doing well in the last ten minutes of the second though,” Colonials coach Derek Schooley said. “I thought we played really well with the two-goal lead in the third period.”
For the rest of the game, the Colonials played a very smart system, disrupting the Huskies attack in neutral ice, and didn’t sit on the lead, and they executed both aspects very well in closing out the Huskies.
“Tonight, we had a 10-minute lapse where we really didn’t play well at all” said Huskies coach Bruce Marshall. “I think our work ethic and our energy level was what we needed it to be; now we just have to work on getting that to translate to the win column.”
The Colonials travel to West Point to take on Army next weekend, while the Huskies host Air Force in Atlantic Hockey action.