Men’s hockey gets first conference win, beats Canisius

Randy+Hernandez+scored+the+game-winning+goal+late+in+the+third+period+to+seal+Robert+Morris%27+first+conference+victory+of+the+new+season.+Photo+Credit%3A+Nathan+Breisinger

Randy Hernandez scored the game-winning goal late in the third period to seal Robert Morris’ first conference victory of the new season. Photo Credit: Nathan Breisinger

By Nathan Breisinger, Sports Multimedia Editor

NEVILLE ISLAND– It was a wild one on the Island Saturday evening as the Robert Morris Colonials (3-1, 2-1 AHA) and the Canisius Golden Griffins (1-1, 1-1 AHA) totaled nine goals in a back and forth affair that saw RMU prevail 5-4 at the end of it all.

“I thought we found a way to persevere,” head coach Derek Schooley said. “We battled a lot of adversity that game… but we were able to get the job done.”

The Colonials begin the season 3-1 following their victory, which is their best start since the 2014-15 campaign when they began 4-0.

It was a completely different story for Robert Morris in the opening period of play as the Colonials were flying around the ice while generating scoring play after scoring play.

Just over six minutes into the game, Jordan Timmons became a one-man wrecking crew as he forced Griffins’ defender Blake Wareham off the puck, knocking him to the ice as he would then walk out from behind the net and snipe one over the right shoulder of goaltender Jacob Barczewski to make it 1-0.

“We were good when we played down below the goal line and got pucks behind their defense,” Schooley said.

The Colonials would continue to pressure Canisius with strong forechecking throughout the opening frame as they threw 14 shots on Barczewski.

Robert Morris would strike again to make it 2-0 after Justin Addamo and Jordan Timmons broke in on a 2-on-1 following a beautiful zone-entry. Addamo would finish off the play firing one behind Barczewski.

Both teams would bring intensity in the second period, however, the Colonials would get into some penalty trouble. Tyler Love, Darcy Walsh, and Brendon Michaelian were all nabbed for minor infractions, leading to an extended 5-on-3 advantage for Canisius.

Jami Virtanen capitalized on the power play as he beat Dyllan Lubbesmeyer on the short side to make it 2-1.

The Colonials would kill off the remainder of their penalties, which gave Robert Morris momentum that would be generated into a goal.

Nolan Schaeffer let one go from the point, which was redirected by Grant Hebert in front of the net to lengthen their lead to 3-1.

The back and forth play would continue as Mitchell Martan walked into the Colonials defensive zone, cut in the middle, and released one that beat Lubbesmeyer to bring it back to a one-goal game, 3-2.

“Once you get the 3-1 lead back you have to settle down,” Schooley said. “We’ve got to find a way to lock a game down with a 3-1 lead.”

With 20 minutes left in the game, both teams looked to gain an edge.

It was the Golden Griffins that tied the game just three minutes into the period thanks to a tremendous individual effort from Simon Gravel on the penalty kill.

Later in the frame, Justin Addamo would respond with his own beautiful effort to get around Blake Wareham and score on the backhand. Addamo’s goal would put the Colonials up 4-3.

That was not the last to be heard of from the Golden Griffins, however, as Grant Meyer buried a loose rebound in front of Lubbesmeyer to tie the game at four apiece.

“We gotta make sure we buckle down a little bit better and play with a lead a little bit better,” Schooley said.

In the waning moments of the third frame, both teams tightened up their play in hopes of gaining the lead, but it would be the Colonials to score the game-winning goal.

Santeri Hartikainen made a great feed to a streaking Randy Hernandez, who finished off the scoring chance to make it 5-4. Hernandez’s goal was well earned after a strong performance that saw him throw five shots on net as he flew around the ice.

The Colonials were able to outlast the Golden Griffins on the evening to clinch their first three points from the Atlantic Hockey schedule.

Dyllan Lubbesmeyer finished the contest making 33 saves on 37 shots.

“Well, he’s found a way to win us two games. They haven’t been a thing of artistic beauty, but you are judged by wins and losses,” Schooley said.