Colonials sweep season series against Niagara after six-goal onslaught


Nick Prkusic fires a shot against Niagara. Photo Credit: Nathan Breisinger

By Nathan Breisinger, Editor-in-Chief

NEVILLE TWP., Pa.– Different day, same victorious result for the No. 20 Robert Morris men’s hockey team (11-3, 9-1-1 AHA) as they pumped in six goals to complete the season sweep against Niagara (2-8-2, 1-7-3-1 AHA).

The Colonials saw a complete team effort in the 6-2 route over the Purple Eagles compared to an intense come from behind overtime win less than 24 hours ago.

“Especially with the emotional win last night, it’s a challenging game, and it’s tough to win,” head coach Derek Schooley said. “We’re just excited to continue doing what we’re doing.”

It has been a long stretch for the Colonials since New Year’s Eve as they have played six games over an 11-day span, but the fatigue has been hardly noticeable as they have won all six contests.

“Obviously it’s a hard stretch both mentally and physically, but also the whole team went super hard throughout the fall when there were no games,” forward Santeri Hartikainen said. “Everybody was super committed to get in better shape and stay together as a group and it’s showing right now.”

Following an emotional win the night before, the Colonials did not waste any time getting on the board as they struck less than five minutes into the game. After an offensive zone faceoff win, Nick Jenny let go a shot from the point that found its way in behind goaltender Brian Wilson.

“From yesterday we wanted to improve a lot and not let the other team get into the game,” Hartikainen said.

While Robert Morris struck first and held a one-goal lead through the opening 20 minutes, the Purple Eagles were not prepared for the onslaught they would face in the second period.

Justin Addamo made his presence known in this contest as he ripped one past Wilson on a power play to put the Colonials ahead 2-0. Just moments later, Addamo was back at it again when Grant Hebert fed him right on the doorstep for an easy tap in goal.

“Guys have taken steps… Justin Addamo has taken a big step,” Schooley said.

Robert Morris continued to fire on all cylinders even while on the penalty kill as Hartikainen stepped ahead on a breakaway and finished the opportunity low glove side past Wilson.

“It felt awesome,” Hartikainen said. “It personally felt good, it felt like there was a big weight lifted from my shoulders.”

Before the second period was said and done, RMU added another tally with a booming slapshot from Nolan Schaeffer on the half-wall giving him his first goal of the season.

“We have a very special group of guys, so when one guy doesn’t show up or doesn’t get the puck luck, there’s other guys who step up in the lineup and deliver,” Hartikainen said.

The final stanza of the contest began with a similar theme as the other two periods as Nick Lalonde redirected a Geoff Lawson point shot to make it 6-1 just under three minutes in.

“Everybody’s buying in 100%, everybody’s on the same page, and everybody is willing to go to the dirty areas and do the necessary work,” Hartikainen said.

Niagara was stifled most of the game as the Colonials played with them step for step. The Purple Eagles got one more say on the score sheet with a goal from Ryan Naumovski after the game was already out of reach.

As the Colonials extended their win streak in Atlantic Hockey to nine games, they will have to wait and see who their next opponent will be.

“We got a lot of games left as we are only halfway through our schedule. We are going to cherish this for a little bit and find out when we’re playing next,” Schooley said.

Robert Morris was set to take on Canisius during the upcoming weekend, but the two-game series has been postponed due to positive COVID-19 cases in the Golden Griffins program.