Stefan Lachapelle couldn’t have picked a better time to score his first collegiate goal. The Robert Morris Colonials’ freshman forward gave his team it’s first lead of the weekend in the third period, and finished off a three-goal rally as Robert Morris defeated the visiting Alabama-Huntsville Chargers 3-2.
In a game where the Colonials outshot their opponents 37-21, it was the performance of both netminders that really stood out this evening.
The Chargers got off to a fast start that couldn’t have been scripted better. UAH sophomore forward Jody Koudys finished off a 2-on-1 just a little over two minutes into the opening period to give his team the early lead with Tom Train getting an assist.
Almost two minutes later, the Chargers added to the lead on a power play as Matt Sweazey threw a shot that appeared to be going wide into a virtually open net past helpless Colonials’ goaltender Wes Russell.
From that moment on, Russell turned into a brick wall , stopping every shot the rest of the way, while his teammates ramped up their intensity to a new level.
After looking somewhat dazed the first five minutes of the contest, the Colonials proceeded to pour on 21 shots in the first, many of them coming from close range and aided by a good amount of traffic.
UAH netminder Cameron Talbot stood tall and composed, never getting out of position, and just when it appeared that he’d frustrated the Colonials to the point of a breakdown, RMU senior defenseman Matt Krug dented the twine on a power play to pull his team to within a goal at the 18:19 mark of the first.
The second frame proceeded uneventfully for the most part. Both teams played patient and disciplined, waiting for the other side to make the mistake that would cause the momentum to turn in their favor.
With Chargers’ defenseman Scott Kalinchuk serving a roughing minor, RMU’s Chris Margott notched his third goal of the weekend, letting a shot rip from center point on a Colonials’ power play that found its way past Talbot to even the score at two.
Having dominated the territory most of the night and with precious little on the scoreboard to show for it, the Colonials must have had visions of the previous night when Talbot had handcuffed a very potent offense, but Colonials’ freshman Stefan Lachapelle seized an opportunity to give his team control of the game.
Lachapelle skated with the puck over the blue line toward the slot as if he’d been shot out of a cannon and lit the lamp at the 5:56 mark of the third, giving his team the lead for good.
For the rest of the period the teams traded chances, with both goaltenders answering the challenge. Huntsville had two more power plays in the last 10 minutes of the frame, but were thwarted by blocked shots courtesy of the Colonials’ penalty killers and good saves by Russell who stopped Matt Sweazey on a well played 2-on-1 with just a few minutes to go.
“You know, I’m gonna be grey by the time I’m 39 with the way we started (tonight), but minus the first five minutes, that was a pretty complete hockey game on our part tonight,” Derek Schooley. “We threw everything but the kitchen sink at Talbot tonight and he was very good.”
The Colonials will pay a visit to St Cloud State next Friday and Saturday night to take on the Huskies.