by Larry Snyder
It was the end of one winning streak for the Robert Morris University men’s hockey team this past weekend, but hopefully the beginning of a new string of victories. The Colonials split their weekend series with the Black Knights of Army at West Point, N.Y.
On Friday before a CBS Sports Network audience, Army sophomore goaltender Rob Tadazak turned away all 22 shots to shut out the Colonials 5-0 and snap RMU’s seven-game unbeaten streak. Robert Morris’ previous loss had been a 3-0 shutout by Niagara back on Nov. 17.
The Black Knights would get on the scoreboard with just one minute remaining in the first period when sophomore defenseman Maurice Alvarez put the biscuit in the net. That goal ended senior goaltender Eric Levine’s shutout streak that had lasted over 175 minutes, spanning nine periods of hockey.
Army brought a full on assault on the scoreboard by putting away three goals in the second period. The Black Knights scored their fifth and final goal in the opening moments of the third period at Tate Rink. That goal would send Levine to the bench as redshirt sophomore Eric Ferber came into the game at the 1:57 mark. In just over 40 minutes, Levine made 23 saves, with Ferber recording eight saves in relief.
On Saturday night, Robert Morris improved their overall record to 10-5-2 with a 4-1 victory over Army. Eric Levine was sharp in goal as he turned away 47 shots, 28 in the third period alone, to pick up his ninth regular-season win.
Freshman center Greg Gibson, sophomore left winger Cody Wydo, and redshirt junior defenseman Andrew Blazek would all find the back of the net against Black Knight goaltender Tadazak in the first period to make the score 3-1 in favor of RMU.
Army senior defenseman Cheyne Rocha scored the Black Knights’ lone goal of the game. After a scoreless second period, the final goal of the evening came on Colonials sophomore right winger Jeff Jones’ empty-netter with just 61 seconds remaining in the third period.
PUCK POINTS: It was announced this week that seniors Adam Brace, Zach Hervato, and Eric Levine are on the ballot for the 2013 Hobey Baker Award, honoring the best player in NCAA Division I men’s hockey. Colonials fans can vote online at: http://www.hobeybakeraward.
The Colonials held Army to an 0-for-8 night when the Black Knights had the man advantage. The Robert Morris’ penalty kill unit has stopped 31 consecutive power plays, a streak that goes back to Dec. 8, when Ohio State scored against RMU with the man advantage.
Adam Brace and Zach Hervato lead the Colonials in goals and points. Both forwards have six goals and 14 points. Jack Jones is the leader in assists with nine.
Robert Morris will be back in action at 84 Lumber Arena, part of the RMU Island Sports Complex, on Friday and Saturday against Atlantic Hockey Association opponent Connectiuct. The puck will drop both nights at 7:05 p.m.
It should be noted that starting with this weekend’s games against the Huskies, the Colonials will play 10 home games out of their last 17 on the regular-season schedule