Robert Morris knocks off BSU 3-2
The Robert Morris University men's hockey team made its 75th game as a Division I program a memorable one Friday night at Bemidji's John Glas Fieldhouse.
The Colonials overpowered Bemidji State 3-2 to post their first College Hockey America victory on the Beavers' ice.
"Every one of these guys has been with me from the start," said Colonials coach Derek Schooley, who is now 1-4 at the Glas. "We hadn't had much success here, but tonight you could see our poise and determination. We did what we came here to do."
The Colonials, with 14 juniors on the team, seemed to have an edge over the Beavers all night long, even though Bemidji State held a 29-28 advantage in shots. The home team is still winless in three CHA games.
"We got outworked in our own building by a better team, and it pains me to say that," said Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore. "We have a bulls-eye on our back, with our great crowd and our great tradition. A game like this is tough to swallow for a coach."
The teams will finish their two-game series tonight at 7:05.
"We're in last place in the league right now," said Serratore, "and if we want to have a chance to win a championship it's a must-win for us."
Unlike most teams that seem to take a while to get their legs on the first night of a trip to Bemidji, Robert Morris came on strong from the outset.
Bemidji State survived three minutes of shorthanded hockey early in the first period, including a full minute when they were two men short. Goaltender Matt Climie stood his ground and got some help when the Colonials' Jason Towsley hit the pipe on a close-range shot.
The Beavers picked up the pace after skating off the penalties and had some good scoring chances, but couldn't get the puck past veteran goalie Christian Boucher.
Robert Morris finally broke the scoring ice in the final minute of the first period. Aaron Clarke, a transfer from Niagara, finished off a 3-on-1 rush, walking in on a helpless Climie and scoring with 47 seconds left.
The Colonials made it 2-0 in the second period on a power-play goal. Climie stopped Ryan Cruthers' hard slap shot from the slot, but Towsley was right there to hammer home the rebound.
Bemidji State broke through against Boucher late in the second. After holding the puck for nearly a minute while a penalty was being called against Robert Morris defenseman Jeff Gilbert, the Beavers scored on the ensuing power play. They virtually powered the puck past the goalie after a scrum in front of the net. Travis Winter was credited with the goal, assisted by Tyler Scofield and Brandon Marino. It was Marino's tenacious work along the end boards that kept the puck alive.
Now clearly skating with confidence, the Beavers rushed Boucher again seconds later on a 3-on-2. But this time they couldn't poke it in.
The Colonials padded their lead to 3-1 in the third period because of some slick stick work by Doug Conley, who poked the puck into scoring position from behind the goal and then finished things off himself.
"I was very pleased with our effort in the third period," Schooley said. "That's when we really showed our poise. We could have buckled, but we didn't."
Bemidji made it interesting in the end when Rob Sirianni beat Boucher with a high wrist shot as the Beavers were coming off a shorthanded situation. Sirianni took a pass from Shane Holman and walked in for the score with 52 seconds remaining.
The Beavers pulled Climie and pushed hard for a tie in the final minute. But Robert Morris kept the home team from getting any quality shots.
"They just weren't going to be denied tonight," Serratore said. "Their better players were better than our better players."
Serratore said Climie will start again in goal tonight for the Beavers who are 2-4-1 overall and 0-2-1 in the CHA. Robert Morris is 3-4-0 and 2-1-0.
Schooley and the Colonials, meanwhile, are in unfamiliar territory with a chance for a road sweep.
"We came here to have a good performance," Schooley said. "We had one, and we want to do the same tomorrow."
Robert Morris 1 1 1 - 3
Bemidji State 0 1 1 - 2
First Period - 1, RM, Aaron Clarke 3 (Ryan Cruthers, Doug Conley), 19:13. Penalties - Tyler Scofield, BSU (slashing), 9:32; Cody Bostock, BSU (interference), 3:59; Andrew Bonello, RM (interference), 9:32.
Second Period - 2, RM, Jason Towsley 4 (Cruthers), 11:03 (pp). 3, BSU, Travis Winter 3 (Brandon Marino, Scofield), 18:19 (pp). Penalties - Logan Bittle, RM (tripping), 5:13; Matt Allen, BSU (interference), 10:40; Nathan Schwartzbauer, BSU (holding), 11:56; Jake Sparks, RM (obstruction hooking), 12:19; Jeff Gilbert, RM (interference), 16:41; Jake Obermeyer, RM (roughing), 18:40; Jake Bluhm, BSU (roughing), 18:40.
Third Period - 4, RM, Conley (Cruthers, Clarke), 12:41. 5, BSU, Rob Sirianni 1 (Shane Holman), 19:08. Penalties - Riley Weselowski, BSU (interference), :52; Rob Cowan, RM (tripping), 6:47; Blaine Jarvis, BSU (goaltender interference), 12:57; Allen, BSU (high-sticking), 16:59.
Shots on goal - Robert Morris 8-12-8 28, Bemidji State 10-14-5 29. Power play opportunities - Robert Morris 1 of 7. Bemidji State 1 of 5. Goalies - Robert Morris, Christian Boucher 3-3-0 (29 shots-27 saves), 60:00. Bemidji State, Matt Climie (28-25), 58:38; empty net 1:22. A - 1,419. Referee - Hunt. Assistant Referees - Eslinger, Carton.