Men’s hockey upset in second round by Niagara

Justin+Addamo+attempts+to+charge+at+Jordan+Wishman+following+the+loss+to+Niagara.+Photo+Credit%3A+Tyler+Gallo

Justin Addamo attempts to charge at Jordan Wishman following the loss to Niagara. Photo Credit: Tyler Gallo

By Owen Krepps, Copy Editor / Podcast GM

NEVILLE TWP– Despite having one of the best seasons in franchise history, RMU men’s hockey fell to the Niagara Purple Eagles in the quarter-finals of the AHA playoffs losing the series two games to one. Both games one and two required overtime, but Sunday night’s matchup ended in a 2-1 regulation loss for the Colonials to end their season.

The Colonials fired 45 shots on Niagara goaltender Chad Veltri and only beat him once, which came from Randy Hernandez with just 11 seconds to play. Colonial killer Jack Billings scored off of an intentional rebound pass from Luke Edgerton, and in the mid-stages of the second period Walker Sommer scored a fluke goal from center ice on Noah West.

“Congratulations to Niagara… they came in with a game plan and Chad Veltri was outstanding in net. We didn’t convert enough of our chances. We had a lot of chances around the net and a lot of good looks but unfortunately they got a lead and they got a bounce and that’s how it went down,” Colonials head coach Derek Schooley said postgame.

After playing twelve periods of hockey in the span of 54 hours, the team was tired and fatigued. Entering this series, RMU had their senior weekend cancelled and went 19 days without playing a game. Then came this weekend where they played on three consecutive nights, with two of three requiring extra time.

“It was tough, you go nineteen days without playing, and then you have to go around and battle and go to overtimes and do everything that you needed to do to be successful,” Schooley said. “it was taxing on our guys.”

If there was one thing that was continuous over the course of the season for the team it would be the adversity that they faced. Injuries, COVID, game cancellations, and delays were constant over the course of the season. Schooley confirmed that Nick Jenny, Santeri Hartikainen, and Nick Prkusic were all playing hurt. Schooley expressed remorse for the seniors who battled for four years in the program.

“I feel bad for our seniors right now. They gave a lot to this program as leaders. They gave up a lot during this pandemic to play. To have this result in the end is disappointing right now.”

 

This game ended in a makeshift line brawl that saw both teams rush onto the ice as well as both head coaches running onto the ice to try and stop the mayhem as punches were thrown. Frustration was evident as the Colonials ended their streak of appearing in the AHA finals for the first time in six seasons.

 

In terms of silver linings, RMU played this season amidst the pandemic, which is better than many other programs. The underclassmen led by Randy Hernández and Noah West were pivotal to the success of the team and will continue to be in the future.

“We are very appreciative to be able to play the season that we did, but we are disappointed in the result,” Schooley said.

RMU men’s hockey snapped their 10-0 streak in game threes of the AHA playoffs and are sent home early. As for the other hockey team on campus, RMU women’s hockey will be in action tomorrow at 2 p.m. in Erie for the first round of the NCAA tournament.