Thursday, February 10, 2011

Since Last Time: Robert Morris

Last Time: Colonial Times (1/13/2011) // Weekend Observations: Robert Morris (1/16/2011)

It's the final "Since Last Time" of the year. ESCHLs are next week, followed by new opponent Rutgers and ACHAs. Crazy. For this edition, Robert Morris - remember, no parentheses - makes the trip to the Ice Pavilion for the standard 9:00-3:30, Friday-Saturday weekend.

One thing that hasn't changed since last time: RMU's website. Since they're not exactly getting coverage elsewhere with Derek Schooley's crew on campus, that sort of puts me in a bind. I'll attempt to piece this thing together from the opponents or anything else I might be able to find, but it may not be pretty. The good news is that we don't have too much ground to cover, just six games.

Among the notable events of December 13, 2010: RMU updates their website, Taylor Swift turns 21.

After the 9-4 and 7-2 wins by the Icers last month, Bobby Mo headed north to Stony Brook for two against the Seawolves. And in what has to be considered a lockdown defensive effort for them, they only gave up eight goals and split the weekend. Stony Brook's website has the story. Kind of.
In Saturday's game against 18th ranked Robert Morris PA the 17th ranked Seawolves came out on top by winning the contest 5-2. The Seawolves scoring was lead by sophomore John Jennings with two goals. Senior defenseman Peter Zarrella, junior defenseman Phil Borner, and sophomore forward Sean Collins had one goal each.

On Sunday the Seawolves were not as fortunate and lost the contest by a score of 4-3. Two of the three goals for the Seawolves were score by senior forward Bryan Elfant and the third goal was scored by freshman Mike O’Shaunassey. After both games assistant coach Colin Brumsted was asked how he thought the weekend went and he said "In the first game we were able to get to all the lose pucks and capitalize on our scoring chances. However in the second game we had a really poor second period and RMU was able to score on our mistakes. One thing I did like was our team never gave up and was able to come back from a 4-1 deficit to make the game close but time just ran out on us."
Just to add a little bit to the picture, Brian Chiavetta and Beau Roeder scored the pair of second period goals on Sunday that provided the winning margin, in spite of a furious rally from Stony Brook in the third.

Next up was another split, this time against improved West Chester. WCU blogger/beat writer Kenny Ayres has that one covered. Friday's game was a 1980s-style shootout that ended thusly:
[In the] third period, as RMU would add two more power play goals [both from Ryan King] to tie the game. Then, at around the eleven minute mark of the third period, lazy defensive effort led to an RMU breakaway and Chris Gentile was forced to drag [Zach Stern] to the ice, resulting in a penalty shot, and eventual goal by RMU to take a 7-6 lead. The game looked like it was destined to be a failure and a for sure win blown. However, Steve Meade would tie the game at around the eight minute mark, and Chris Doyle would add the game winner with less than three minutes to play. It was a great come back, but there's no way that this game should have been this close.
Ayres was pretty dissatisfied after that one, but it only got worse for him as RMU bounced back to win a much more subdued second game.
Saturday was not the high scoring shootout that Friday was, but it was a disappointing contest as well. Both teams played a very lack luster first period, and there was no score after the first period. WCU's undisciplined play was the theme of this game. The Golden Rams took eleven penalties in the first two periods, and could not get any sort momentum together. RMU would add three power play goals in the second period [by Luke Bennett, Roeder and Matt Javitt], and Harrison Welch would score for WCU, as RMU took a 3-1 lead into the second intermission.

In what was a slight positive in a disappointing game, WCU charged back in the third period and completely dominated play. The Golden Rams pelted RMU with shot after shot, but ultimately only solved RMU's Robbie Fallick once, on a Steve Meade goal with around eight minutes to go in the game. Fallick shut the door after Meade's tally, and RMU held on for the 3-2 win.
The Colonials carried the momentum from that win into a pair of home games last weekend - a Friday engagement with an awful Washington & Jefferson team (they've given up 44 goals in four games against Delaware this year) and a game with less-bad Indiana (PA) on Saturday. With the step down in competition, RMU ran up two six-goal wins, 8-2 and 12-6 respectively. Bennett led the way with four goals and four assists over the two games and Stern contributed a goal and seven assists.

Since I'm just a blogger and not a right wing, I have the luxury of pointing out that the regular season ESCHL standings are finalized. Plus, Robert Morris is long-removed from the ACHA national championship picture and Penn State has survived the toughest stretch of games leading up to the tournament cutoff ranking. If you're looking for Stanley Cup finals intensity, you should probably look somewhere else. But at the same time, it's vital that the Icers find enough in the basement to keep winning or risk undoing all the good done over the last three weeks.

Outside Reading

VFTB had another big interview week, first with Andrew Duval (last Friday's hero) and Paul Daley, then with Josh Hand. Perhaps the most important thing to emerge from these:

Daley wears the same hat as me. That is soooo clutch.

The official site checked in with a Bubble Watch and quite frankly did a much better job with it than me, since it accounts for autobids and notes the Robert Morris (IL)-Iowa State season series that may prove vital in terms of that last tournament spot.

Finally, if you're one of the three people who care about Penn State hockey and haven't seen this yet, watch it now:

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