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Playoff-level hockey was on display Saturday night at 84 Lumber Arena as the Mercyhurst Lakers managed to get one more bounce, which they used to snag an overtime victory over the Robert Morris Colonials. Lakers forward Derek Barach knocked a friendly carom off the back boards past starting Colonials netminder Andrew Pikul with just 29 seconds remaining in overtime to put the game in the win column for the Lakers, who upped their record to 7-9-0 on the season.
“The games are always good and always entertaining,” Lakers coach Rick Gotkin said, alluding to the type of hockey played between the two developing rivals over the years. “I thought it was a great hockey game and had a little bit of everything. I thought as easily as we won that it could have gone the other way and tonight we just found a way to score one more goal. We could have not been successful tonight and I still would have felt like it was a great hockey game both ways, and I liked the way our team responded to some adversity.”
It was a back-and-forth battle, full of intense physical battles, hard hits, and momentum swings. Following a scoreless first period that saw the Colonials head to the penalty box four times, the scoring chances began to open up in the second frame as Timmy Moore got the Colonials off and running with a power-play goal, deflecting a shot from Eric Israel behind Lakers goaltender Colin DeAugustine.
Mercyhurst forward Johnathan Charbonneau scored two timely goals in the second period, the first of which followed Moore’s and evened the score and his second followed Israel’s goal, which had given the Colonials a 2-1 lead midway through the period.
Mercyhurst took the lead into the dressing room on Stephen Hrehoriak’s goal at 18:53, setting the stage for a third-period Colonials rally sparked by captain Rob Mann’s power-play goal that tied the game at 11:04. The Colonials seemed to dominate play in the final frame, outshooting the Lakers 13-7, but could not manage to get another puck behind DeAugustine the rest of the way.
“I thought we were running around a bit in overtime, we were on the other side of the puck too much in overtime,” Colonials coach Derek Schooley said. “We were playing with fire and they got a fortunate bounce off the back wall. It’s frustrating because we expended a tremendous amount of energy in this game, we played hard to tie it, and to lose it in overtime is a tough one. It seemed like every key draw, we were losing. We got a faceoff goal, they got a faceoff goal, and they got a couple of rush goals where we didn’t pick up the right man. We played with a lot of energy and emotion but I don’t know if we controlled our emotions the right way tonight.”
For the Colonials, the game was a microcosm of how the season has gone, as the team has been doing most of the things necessary to get wins on a nightly basis, even if the results haven’t always been the desired outcomes. To achieve such desired results, the Colonials must find consistency and play for 60 minutes, two aspects of their game they’ve stressed as the season has progressed.
“I don’t think we played too bad; we just made a few big errors and when you give a skilled team like that opportunities, they’re going to capitalize on them and they seemed to make the most of their chances tonight,” Colonials captain Rob Mann said. “We didn’t give them much, but we have to be tighter defensively tomorrow.”
The Colonials and Lakers finish their weekend series Sunday evening at 4:05 p.m. at Mercyhurst Ice Arena in Erie, Pennsylvania.
No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth 2, at No. 15 Bemidji State 1
The Bulldogs got their first win over the Beavers since December 2012 when Dominic Toninato scored the game-winning goal at 12:33 of the third to complete a rally from a one-goal deficit. Bemidji goalie Michael Bitzer made 25 saves in the loss. Bemdji struck early when Kyle Bauman scored just 44 seconds into the game, but it was the only puck the Beavers could get by Hunter Miska, who stopped 18 shots. Karson Kuhlman tied the game for the Bulldogs with a power-play goal at 7:20 of the second. Bemidji went 0-for-5 on the power play in the loss.
“Everyone contributed tonight and it was a really good team win,” said Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin, who notched career win No. 299. “We played a very good hockey game tonight from start to finish and made it interesting at the end with a couple of late penalties, but our guys did a nice job and stuck with it.”
No. 13 Union 7, at No. 11 Vermont 3
Spencer Foo scored twice and chipped in an assist, Mike Vecchione scored a the game-winning goal and added an assist, and Cole Maier also had a goal and an assist while Brett Supinksi had two assists as the Dutchmen rolled to a 7-3 win. Vermont had rallied from a two-goal deficit to tie it after one period behind goals from Brady Shaw at 16:28 of the first and Jarrid Privitera at 18:51 of the first, who scored on a two-on-one with a quick shot short side. However, Ryan Burton broke the game open at 13:25 of the second, picking up a rebound of a Matt Krug wrap-around attempt and stuffing it home, and Vecchione scored just 12 seconds later, as Foo carried the puck up the ice and sprung him behind the defense, where he scored with a quick wrist shot. Maier capped off the Union second period with a goal at 19:01 with a quick shot top corner glove side. Foo got both his goals in the third, one at 10:36 when Supinksi made a nice move to get the puck to Foo at the left post, where he had a wide-open net, and one a four-on-four empty-netter at 17:52. Alex Sakellaropoulos had 31 saves in the win.
Vecchione and Foo now lead the country in scoring, and Union has a five-game winning streak.
No. 19 Minnesota State 5, at Princeton 4
The Mavericks earned a split of their weekend series behind Michael Huntebrinker’s game-winner at 4:27 of the third period. Princeton twice rallied from two goals down in the loss. Nicolas Rivera got the Mavericks on the board early, striking just 54 seconds into the game, and Marc Michaelis gave the Mavericks at two-goal lead at 8:47. However, the Tigers rallied to tie it in the second, scoring twice in a 32-second span, first on a goal by Jackson Cressey at 2:32 and then a goal from Ryan Kuffner at 3:04. Minnesota State responded with two more goals for another two-goal lead, scoring once on a power play at 5:57 when C.J. Franklin got his second point of the night, beating Princeton netminder Colton Phinney. Daniel Brickley gave Minnesota State its second two-goal lead at 9:13. However, Princeton again responded, as Kuffner got his second of the night on a five-on-three power play at 12:04 and then Josh Teves scored on a power play at 15:35. Phinney made 43 saves in the loss, while Jason Pawloski made 32 saves in the win for Minnesota State.
“We got caught chasing the puck a lot last night, and chasing them, and so we wanted to take away time and space,” said Mavericks coach Mike Hastings. “I thought we were harder tonight as far as getting in between dots and getting to the net and getting behind their defensemen.”
Arizona State 4, at Massachusetts 1
Arizona State recorded its third win in a row, all on the road, and a weekend sweep on the road against Massachusetts, the Sun Devils’ first sweep of the year, as they rallied from a one-goal deficit with four unanswered goals, including two in a 12-second span in the final 32 seconds of the second period. After Steven Iacobellis gave UMass the lead at six minutes of the second, Nicholas Gushue tied it for the Sun Devils at 15:06 of the second on a power play. Louie Rowe scored what turned out to be the game-winner at 19:26 of the second, and Riley Simpson gave the Sun Devils a two-goal lead and momentum when he struck 12 seconds later at 19:38. Brett Gruber capped off the scoring for the Sun Devils at 7:53 of the third. Robert Levin made 23 saves for Arizona State in the win.
“We got down tonight 1-0 just like we did against RPI and Colgate,” said Arizona State coach Greg Powers. “In both of those games we couldn’t find a way to win, but tonight they dug deep and found a way. What I love about this team is that they’re learning from past experiences and building off of things that aren’t going our way to get better. It’s a really good sign.”
Bowling Green 6, Alaska 3
Six players scored for the Falcons, who earned a split of the WCHA series. Mitchell McLain, Frédéric Létourneau and Kevin Dufour scored third-period goals to help Bowling Green pull away.