PITTSBURGH — For most of tonight’s contest between the Robert Morris Colonials and the Holy Cross Crusaders, fans might have seriously wondered if the teams had switched jerseys. In a complete turnaround of performances relative to Friday night’s Colonials win, the Crusaders completely outworked the Colonials en route to a 1-0 victory.
The Crusaders, with help from sophomore goaltender Derek Kump’s 29 save shutout and junior forward Erik Vos’ game-winning tally, outshot the Colonials 38 to 29 for the game, and completely dictated the pace and style of play.
“I felt we played great tonight; it was one of the better games we’ve played all year.” said Crusaders coach Paul Pearl. “Robert Morris is so good in transition and they’re so fast that if you turn the puck over, you’re going to be in trouble. We didn’t want to play that style of up-and-down game that we did last night. We skated better and took away their time and space, and that was a key.”
From the outset, the Crusaders put their forecheck to work, keeping the Colonials bottled up in their own end. After several close scoring chances that Colonials goaltender Brooks Ostergard kept out of the net, the Crusaders found themselves the recipient of the game’s first golden opportunity when Colonials forward Furman South was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for checking-from-behind at 5:09 of the first period. However, the Colonials found a way to keep the Crusaders off the board, as Ostergard made six saves during the five-minute major.
The kill didn’t provide the expected spark for the Colonials though, as one breakout after another kept being thwarted by the Crusaders defense. The Colonials took their turn on the power play at 16:48 of the first; however Kump stopped all four shots he faced with ease as the period came to and end with no score.
The second period saw the Crusaders open up the attack more, as they put up 15 shots to the Colonials 12. At the 5:45 mark, Vos gave his team the only goal of the game when he took a pass from Andrew Cox, darted out from the left corner, skated around a sprawled out Colonials defender, hit the brakes and sent a perfectly-placed shot past Ostergard for his third goal of the weekend.
“This is the best hockey Erik has played since he’s been here.” said Pearl “He has really made himself an excellent two-way player.”
The Colonials were finally able to put together some opportunities in the later parts of the second period, but Kump was equal to the task, stopping Colonials forward Zach Hervato’s point-blank shot from close range just past the 10-minute mark, as well as other key saves.
The Crusaders then saved their best for last in the game’s final frame, as they seemingly won every loose puck battle and every key faceoff over the last 20 minutes. The Colonials attempted to get the offense working, but like the rest of the game, could not find a way though neutral ice, nor were they able to force Crusaders turnovers, which were both critical factors in their win the night before.
Colonials coach Derek Schooley gave praise to the Crusaders during his postgame press conference, and also a nod to Ostergard, the game’s third star, who stopped 37 of 38 Crusader shots on the night.
“Give Holy Cross some credit, they did a lot of things well. They played hard, they competed, and they pinned us in our own end. I feel really bad for Brooks Ostergard; he’s been getting zero support lately, and he deserved a better fate than that tonight.”
It was the first start of the season in the net for Kump, and it marked his first career shutout and his second career win, the first of which also came against the Colonials.
The Colonials will travel to Connecticut next weekend while the Crusaders host Mercyhurst in Atlantic Hockey conference action.