MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Robert Morris goaltender Terry Shafer stopped all 23 shots he faced tonight against visiting Army and even helped out on the offensive side with an assist in the Colonials’ 4-0 win.
Cody Wydo added two goals and an assist in RMU’s victory.
“I thought Terry Shafer was very good when he had to be tonight,” Robert Morris coach Derek Schooley offered.
But the Colonials, now riding a four-game conference winning streak, also benefited from contributions throughout the roster. In addition to Wydo, the Colonials’ special teams added two power-play goals to the mix, while the penalty kill helped Shafer keep the Knights off the scoreboard.
“Once again, we set the tone by our first period [and] we did a very good job in the offensive zone,” Schooley said. “We played hard and handled the third period a little better than we had been. I still think we got a little loose at times and we have to make sure that we stay the course with every aspect of our game. We need to maintain discipline both within our system, and also with when to skate away from retaliatory penalties.”
The Colonials came out blazing in the first period, putting 16 shots on the net, while nearly missing a few point-blank scoring chances. Army goaltender Parker Gahagen made several critical saves in the first 15 minutes to keep the Knights in a scoreless contest.
However, Gahagen couldn’t stop Colonials’ forward Matt Cope at the 15:32 mark when he took John Rey’s pass and tucked it into the net, taking advantage of a misplayed puck by the Army defense to grab the early lead.
Then on Robert Morris’ first power play of the night, Wydo scored the first of his two goals as a three-on-one developed over the Army blue line. Wydo let rip a rising wrister from the right circle that beat Gahagen top shelf to double the Robert Morris lead at 18:10.
Wydo then put the Colonials in the driver’s seat less than two minutes into the second when he threw a puck from near the Army goal line, on what appeared to be an innocent centering feed that ricocheted off Black Knights’ defenseman Christi Pomarico’s knee and through Gahagen. It was Wydo’s 18th goal of the season and puts him on pace to break the Colonial record of 22 set by Ryan Cruthers in the 2007-08 season.
The Knights then proceeded to even up the tilted ice, testing Shafer at times and keeping the Colonials out of the Army end of the rink. But the goal that could have propelled them back into the game never came thanks to Shafer and a Robert Morris penalty killing effort that yielded very few shots.
The game then saw a multitude of penalties emerge on the third period score sheet as both teams ratcheted up the physical intensity, leading to a few retaliatory penalties of the slashing and roughing variety.
The Colonials capped the scoring on a power play at 10:14 when forward Zac Lynch beat Gahagen with a hard, well-placed shot from the right circle that struck just inside the top left corner.
“It was a slow start for us tonight, [but] give them credit – they came out and started taking it to us,” Army coach Brian Riley remarked. “But then our guys responded and we had a much better second. I thought our game got better as it went along, but special teams turned out to be the difference tonight. We took some penalties tonight that we shouldn’t have taken and you can’t afford to do that when you’re trying to claw your way back into a game. We definitely need a better start tomorrow, we can’t afford to play only forty minutes.”