Losing streak reaches five games as Colonials fall 4-1


Photo Credit: Garret Roberts

Nathan Breisinger, Contributor

PITTSBURGH — In a stretch of games that has been unfathomable, the Robert Morris University men’s hockey team (9-15-3, 9-9-3 AHA) can add another game into the rearview mirror as they fell 4-1 to the RIT Tigers (15-11-3, 11-7-3 AHA).

With this loss, the Colonials have dropped five straight games, and they only have two wins in their past 16 contests.

Though the Colonials looked to start this game off on a strong note, RIT gave them no chance to take the lead as the Tigers’ Shawn Cameron guided one into the net to make it 1-0 in favor of the Tigers just over four minutes into the game. The play was initially reviewed for a kicking motion, but the goal was upheld.

Adam Brubacher’s assist on the goal was his 100th career point with the Tigers, as it ironically came on a night in which Robert Morris recognized Luke Lynch for his 100th career point, which came last weekend.

The Colonials responded to the early goal well, creating several solid scoring chances for freshman Santeri Hartikainen, who had two great looks from in front of the net, but they were answered by Tigers netminder Logan Drackett.

RMU would continue the pressure as they drew a holding penalty on Caleb Moretz. Nick Jenny had a couple of tremendous shots on net that were turned away.

Brendon Michaelian also threw one on the net that trickled through Drackett but was knocked away by a Tiger defender.

“We’ve gotta convert and we’ve gotta finish,” said Head Coach Derek Schooley. “We are not finishing enough.”

As the first period came to a close, it was apparent that RIT came to play as they continuously threw the body and were quick to the puck.

To start the second frame, the Colonials had a power-play opportunity with Michaelian who was cross-checked late in the first. However, the Tigers had better opportunities on the penalty kill including Adam Brubacher who had a great chance but was stopped by Justin Kapelmaster.

After two RIT man-advantages, it seemed that the Colonials had gained momentum as they had a handful of offensive opportunities on the penalty kill. Sean Giles also added a beautiful shot block, not allowing an RIT shot on goal.

Although the Colonials looked like the better team throughout the period, the Tigers were the next to score. Shawn Cameron was left alone after a corner pass from Nick Bruce, allowing him to wait out Kapelmaster and bury it on the forehand for his second of the game to make it 2-0.

Schooley was adamant that the team has the belief to play strong, but are not displaying that on the ice.

“We talk like we got belief but we gotta go out and do it,” Schooley said. “Until you go out and do it, it’s just words, and you gotta make sure you back up your words.

After the Tigers took a two-goal lead, they dominated RMU by possessing the puck in the offensive zone for long lengths at a time and being stout on defense, lifting incoming Colonials’ sticks, squandering any scoring opportunities.

With ten seconds left in the second period, Jake Coleman received a pass from Nick Prkusic, leading him on a partial break, but was tripped by Kobe Walker, giving Robert Morris a power play chance to start the third period.

Right off the drop in the final frame, the Colonials controlled the puck, leading to a point shot from Nick Jenny that found its way behind Drackett to put RMU on the board. This power-play goal marked the first Colonial tally on the man-advantage in 20 attempts.

“We fixed the special teams, but five on five play wasn’t good enough,” Schooley said.

RIT would not approve of the lone goal from RMU in this game, as two minutes later the Tigers would score on a delayed penalty thanks to Ryan Nicholson. Even though the Tigers scored, Nick Lalonde was still sent to the penalty box for goaltender interference.

After numerous golden scoring chances for the Colonials, which were shut down by Drackett, the Tigers buried their fourth goal when Alden Dupuis camped out all alone in front and buried it above Kapelmaster’s shoulder.

“We got pushed around a little bit in our own building and we got to have some pride and we’ve gotta make sure we are more determined,” Schooley said.

From there on, the Colonials could not muster much together, as the last glorious opportunity came on a breakaway from Luke Lynch who went forehand backhand but was met by the pad of Drackett.

“We don’t score enough. We get chances but we don’t score,” Schooley said.

Drackett finished the game with 41 saves as Robert Morris dominated in the shot category, registering 42 shots compared to the Tigers’ 26.

Robert Morris will seek revenge when the Tigers and the Colonials meet for game two on Saturday night. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m.