MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Robert Morris survived a desperate third period comeback attempt from visiting Canisius en route to a 6-4 win that saw the Colonials and their head coach, Derek Schooley, reach 100 wins in the program’s eighth year of existence.
“I’m proud of the players involved in getting 100 wins,” said Schooley. “The players and the alumni over the program’s eight years have been instrumental in reaching this milestone.”
The Colonials opened the scoring at the 3:44 mark of the first period when senior forward Nick Chiavetta buried a rebound bast Griffins’ starting goaltender Dan Morrison. It was Chiavetta’s seventh tally of the season with assists coming from sophomores Colin South and Evan Renwick.
The Colonials then proceeded to dictate the pace of the rest of the period, producing several prime scoring chances. However, Morrison kept the deficit at one for the first frame, stopping 14 of the 15 Colonial shots he faced.
The second period saw the Griffins producing more offense, but a series of great saves and bad bounces kept Canisius from finding the tying goal.
The Colonials doubled the lead while on the penalty kill at 1:50 when senior Tom Brooks scored shorthanded on a great individual effort.
RMU kept the scoring coming at 6:16 when senior captain Trevor Lewis found himself on a breakaway opportunity, which Morrison made the initial save on. However, forward Zach Hervato never gave up on the play and found the puck at the side of the net. Hervato put the puck past Morrison, scoring his second goal of the year, giving the Colonials a three-goal cushion.
Griffins’ coach Dave Smith then pulled Morrison in favor of sophomore netminder Tony Capobianco following the third Colonial goal. The move gave the Griffins a jump start as the loose puck and territory battles switched to the Griffins’ favor in the second half of the second period.
Canisius got on the board at 18:48 when Kyle Gibbons found the back of the net with assists coming from Taylor Law and Stephen Farrell.
Robert Morris had been guilty of letting third-period leads slip away during several games this season and started the third period bound and determined not let such lapses happen again.
The Colonials restored their three-goal lead just 57 seconds into the frame when freshman Jeff Jones finished an odd-man break with a wrister from the lower right circle for his third goal of the season.
Then Adam Brace widened the gap at 5:06 of the third with his seventh goal of the season.
The Colonials kept the pressure coming for the rest of the first half of the period, but the Griffins fought desperately to get back in the contest scoring two goals in less than 30 seconds. The second Griffins’ tally came at 8:35 from Taylor Law and at 9:02 the Griffins pulled the deficit back to two on Doug Jessey’s second goal of the night.
Gibbons sent his second goal of the night past Colonial goaltender Brooks Ostergard at 15:05.
The stage was set for another dramatic finish for the Colonials, but Ostergard made the key saves in the final minutes and Chiavetta put any doubt to rest with his empty-net marker at 19:01 to close out the scoring on the night.
“I thought it was a great effort to come back tonight,” said Canisius coach Dave Smith. “We really weren’t playing together as much as we would have liked earlier on, although the effort was there. When we play together, we can be a very good hockey team and when we don’t, it’s going to be challenging to play anyone.”
The Colonials and Griffins finish their season series tomorrow night at the Buffalo State Sports Arena.