Men’s hockey falls to Canisius in AHA opener


Nick Jenny scored a goal in men’s hockey’s 5-2 loss to Canisius in their AHA opener. Photo credit: Nathan Breisinger

Nathan Breisinger

NEVILLE ISLAND– In hopes of starting Atlantic Hockey play strong, the Robert Morris men’s hockey team (2-1, 0-1 AHA) failed to do so as they fell 5-2 to Canisius (1-0, 1-0 AHA).

The Colonials once again turned to a different goalie to start the game as freshman Noah West made his first collegiate start. His Robert Morris debut was spoiled as the Golden Griffins poured on five goals on 46 shots.

“Give Canisius a lot of credit, I thought they were the better team and got what they deserved,” head coach Derek Schooley said. “They were hungry, it was their first game and they were ready to go.”

To start the contest, the Colonials did not waste any time after the opening puck drop as Nick Prkusic banged home a rebound in front of the net, however, Randy Hernandez moved the net off of its moorings before the puck went in. The play was reviewed and the no-goal call was upheld.

Following the goal review, both teams continued their fast-paced play, which led to several chances for the Golden Griffins but Noah West stood tall early.

Just under seven minutes into the game, West got his first true test as Austin Alger attempted a wrap-around move but West was ready once again and made a brilliant toe save.

It was not too long after West’s strong save that Canisius finally beat him as Matt Long finished off a rebound that sat in front of the netminder following a point shot from Lincoln Erne.

“They threw a lot of pucks to the net,” Schooley said. “They beat us up the ice in offensive situations and look at the goals around the net where we blew our coverage on our back-checking assignments.”

Just over a minute later, the Colonials responded with a goal on the man-advantage as Nick Jenny fired a bomb from the point that beat Canisius goaltender Jacob Barczewski.

With the score even, both teams looked to gain the lead in the second period.

Canisius had the perfect opportunity to go ahead as Brendon Michaelian took a double minor penalty for holding and unsportsmanlike conduct 4:10 into the second frame.

Although the Golden Griffins had the man-advantage, it was all Robert Morris as their penalty kill was stout and it generated two separate breakaways for the Colonials.

Justin Addamo used his long reach to pickpocket defenseman Derek Hamelin as he sped away on a breakaway but he could not finish his forehand backhand tuck attempt. Just moments later, Roman Kraemer chipped one ahead to himself for a breakaway but he also could not finish that chance.

“I thought our penalty killing was good,” Schooley said. “We created a lot of chances being short-handed.”

Later in the period, the Colonials would go on the power play but failed to convert. Following that opportunity, both teams traded odd-man rushes.

It was just a few moments later when Max Kouznetsov finished off a net mouth scramble by putting it behind West to give the Golden Griffins the lead, 2-1.

“They converted more on their chances and hats off to them because they played faster tonight than we did,” Schooley said.

In the final frame, the Golden Griffins capitalized on two more opportunities as Matt Long scored his second of the game just 1:08 into the final frame. That was followed by Austin Alger patiently waiting for a shooting lane to open up as he ripped one past West to make it 4-1.

“We gave up too much and we hung our young goaltender out to dry way too much,” Schooley said.

Darcy Walsh would cut the lead in half for the Colonials as he poked one past Barczewski with 8:46 left to go.

Walsh’s goal did not spark anything in the Colonials as they failed to erase the two-goal deficit before Keaton Mastrodonato finished off Robert Morris with an empty-net goal to make it 5-2.

Robert Morris will look to bounce back and win their first Atlantic Hockey contest tomorrow when they take on Canisius in the second game of this two-game set. Puck drop is at 4:05.