RECAP: West’s first collegiate shutout lifts Colonials in 4-0 win over LIU

Noah+West+notched+his+first+collegiate+shutout+in+the+Colonials%27+4-0+victory+over+LIU+on+Saturday.+Photo+Credit%3A+Garret+Roberts

Noah West notched his first collegiate shutout in the Colonials’ 4-0 victory over LIU on Saturday. Photo Credit: Garret Roberts

By Nathan Breisinger, Sports Multimedia Editor

NEVILLE TWP– Everything was clicking on Saturday night for the Robert Morris men’s hockey team as they compiled their most complete effort of the season to take down Long Island University by a final score of 4-0.

While LIU (3-7) looked to salvage the two-game series with a win in the second matchup, Robert Morris (14-5, 10-3-1 AHA) had several different components of their game firing at a high-level, including their play in net.

After coming out against Mercyhurst a week ago following an injury to his eye, Noah West watched Dyllan Lubbesmeyer carry the Colonials to success in game one against LIU. After returning to the cage, West put together arguably his freshman campaign’s best performance, posting his first career collegiate shutout.

“Congratulations to Noah; he made some massive saves when we needed him to,” head coach Derek Schooley said. “

West stopped all 28 shots he saw throughout the contest but allotted his success to his teammates in front of him.

“It felt good to finally get the first shutout, but it wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the guys who played in front of me. From top to bottom, we were solid tonight, and they made my job really easy,” West said.

Although West looked unphased in the cage, the Colonials did face some penalty trouble leading to four penalty kills in which Robert Morris fought off.

“That was big. We got the big 200-foot clears when we needed it,” West said. “Our PK was really good tonight and made it a lot easier.”

With West and the defense locking down the back end, the Colonials turned to the potent power-play to provide the team’s offense in this one. RMU added three power-play goals en route to their victory over the Sharks, increasing their conversion rate to 26% on the season.

“We did a very good job on the power play,” Schooley said. “We capitalized on our chances.”

Following a 4-1 win the night before, RMU was looking to get a headstart on the Sharks and not give them a chance from the matchup’s onset.

Just over five minutes into the game, Robert Morris made their presence felt on the scoresheet as another unlikely member of the Colonials found the back of the net. Following a David LaFrance shot that got caught up in a scrum in front of the net, Cameron Hebert ripped the loose biscuit past goaltender Vincent Purpura.

For Hebert, that was only his third goal on the season, but it continued to reveal this team’s underlying theme, which has been timely depth scoring.

“He gets chances, he plays with energy and finds ways to score goals, and that was something we needed early,” Schooley said.

LIU awarded the Colonials their first power play with nearly five minutes left in the first frame and once again, RMU proved to be deadly as Santeri Hartikainen fed one through the slot where Randy Hernandez redirected it towards the net as it found its way in.

Robert Morris continued their offensive prowess on the man advantage in the second period when Brendon Michaelian walked in from the right-wing circle to beat Purpura past his glove hand to make it 3-0.

“We have guys who can make plays, guys who can get pucks to the net, and we got guys who can shoot it,” Schooley said. “There’s a little bit of everything on the power play, and that makes for a good one.”

Despite being down and outplayed for the first 40 minutes, LIU put together a solid push in the third period’s opening minutes that saw West get peppered by shots.

“It’s a 3-0 hockey game, and you know they’re going to have a push back in the third period,” West said. “As a goalie, you try to weather the storm and keep the game where it’s at.”

After withstanding the Sharks’ early onslaught, RMU pulled ahead by four goals as they tallied another one on the man-advantage. As the waning seconds on the power play ticked away, Grant Hebert parked himself in front of the crease, where he buried a loose puck to extend the Colonials lead.

LIU would not leave Clearview Arena without a fight, but Robert Morris pushed through the physical assault that the Sharks threw on the Colonials throughout the final frame, but in the end, RMU composed one of their best wins of the season.

Robert Morris returns to the ice next Friday and Saturday when they travel to Buffalo, New York, to take on Canisius.