Colonials hold off late surge, sweep RIT


The Atlantic Hockey Association has announced it will resume play in mid-November. Photo Credit: David Auth

By Nathan Breisinger, Editor-in-Chief

NEVILLE TWP., Pa.– Robert Morris men’s hockey (8-3, 6-1 AHA) extended their Atlantic Hockey win streak to six games as they swept a two-game series against RIT (5-4-1, 3-2 AHA) for the first time since 2014.

The Colonials fought off a late-game surge from RIT that saw Dan Willett notch a short-handed tally, while Jake Hamacher brought the game within one goal late in the third period. However, goaltender Noah West and company held on to give RMU a 4-3 victory.

“If they had a couple of more minutes we might have been talking about a collapse, but we found a way to get nine big points in three days,” head coach Derek Schooley said.

Freshman Matthew Guerra was an important factor all night long as he registered three points, including the first goal of the evening where Guerra joined Gavin Gulash to create a 2-on-1. Gulash fed it across to Guerra as he put it top shelf to make it 1-0.

“There’s a lot of heart and a lot of guts,” Schooley said. “Guys stepping in and playing roles, Matt Guerra did that tonight.”

The Colonials began the second period on the power play, but just following the expiration of the man-advantage, Grant Hebert slid one from the top of the left-wing circle underneath Logan Drackett to go ahead 2-0.

“Guys are just stepping up, you got Grant Hebert just continuing to lead our team in scoring,” Schooley said.

RMU pushed their lead to three goals with a 3-on-1 one counter-attack that saw Nick Prkuisc feed Randy Hernandez who buried the one-timer as he scored in both games against RIT.

Following three goals from the Colonials, the Tigers finally answered as Nick Bruce wired one home near the goal line past West.

In the third period, the Colonials were able to regain that three-goal lead as it was a role-reversal from the previous RMU goal as this time Hernandez fed Prkusic on the doorstep to make it 4-1.

“We really just talked about when you are more fatigued that you have to take care of the simple details, not turning pucks over, taking care of the neutral zone,” Prkusic said. “We really wanted to play a structured game today.”

While the Tigers were able to cut the deficit down to one goal in the third period, the Colonials held on to move into first place in the Atlantic Hockey standings.

“We were really good until we got the power play after Prkusic’s goal,” Schooley said. “I don’t think you can read anything into it because we’ve done a really good job at finishing games.”

With the win, the Colonials have improved to 8-3 overall and 6-1 in conference play, which is the best overall start for the program since 2014-15.

“It’s a good start for sure, I just think it’s not getting complacent with the wins you do get,” Prkusic said. “We’ve done a good job of resetting after every game and showing up for the nest one and honestly the jobs not finished, not even close, we just got to keep it going and make sure we are getting up for every game.”

The Colonials return to action with a span of three games in four days against Niagara. The first of those matchups is back in New York where they defeated the Purple Eagles on New Year’s Eve 6-1. Puck drop is at 5:05 p.m. on Thursday.