PITTSBURGH — The Robert Morris Colonials broke open a tight contest with four third period goals en route to a 5-1 victory over the visiting Holy Cross Crusaders Saturday afternoon. Robert Morris netminder Terry Shafer stopped all but one of 24 Crusader shots and forward Zac Lynch led the Colonials scoring charge with a goal and two assists.
“When, they (Holy Cross) tied it early in the third, we didn’t let it affect us,” said Colonials coach Derek Schooley. “The sign of a frustrated hockey team or a team that didn’t believe in itself would have been a team that would have caved and probably ended up losing. But we stuck with the process, got the next goal, Shafer made a huge save for us, and then the floodgates opened. Tonight might have been our most complete game of the year.”
The first period saw the Colonials open up an 11-6 shot advantage while garnering two prime scoring chances. The first came midway through the period when forward Ben Robillard appeared to be on a clear breakaway chance, only to be foiled with a strong backchecking effort from Crusaders defenseman Ben Kaplan. The second golden opportunity came just minutes later when Lynch hit the cross bar with a shot that just missed bouncing back in behind Crusaders goaltender Matt Ginn.
Both teams increased their first-goal desperation level in the second frame, a task made harder by an increasing number of penalties, stoppages and ill advised passes perhaps betraying a level of fatigue factor. The scoring finally opened on an inspired individual effort from Lynch, who broke up a Crusaders defensive zone pass, then found himself all alone in the slot where he put the moves on Ginn, scoring his fourth goal of the season to put the Colonials in the driver’s seat at 17:34 of the second.
Holy Cross came ready to play in the third, as Crusaders forward Sean Gustin buried his first goal of the season from the right circle to knot the game at one at the 4:16 mark.
The Colonials didn’t blink however, and proceeded to put the game away with four goals in the game’s final 15 minutes.
Robert Morris forward Scott Jacklin knocked home a Cody Wydo rebound behind Ginn to put the Colonials back up at 5:30. Then Jeff Jones joined the scoring parade by finishing off a well-placed saucer pass from Lynch in the slot for his first goal of the year at 10:54.
Colonials forward Matt Cope then added his second goal of the weekend with a power-play tally at 13:13, and Wydo deposited an empty-netter with just over a minute left to cement the victory.
“In the first two periods, we just didn’t generate any scoring,” said Crusaders coach Paul Pearl. “We changed it up a little bit, tried to play more of an aggressive style, got a goal out of it, and then they got a goal right back. Then after that, we pressed to open it back up a little bit and it didn’t work out well. We’re not satisfied with a two-point road weekend. We’re still a work in progress and we need to work on some things that we’re deficient at.”