PITTSBURGH – The Robert Morris Colonials’ comeback fell just one goal short in the third period as the Bowling Green Falcons held on to win the Three Rivers Classic consolation game 3-2 on Saturday afternoon at Consol Energy Center.
Bowling Green’s offense was steady and solid through out the entire game as Brett Mohler scored in the first period, Bryce Williamson found the back of the net in the second and Kevin Dufour brought home the game-winner in the third.
Robert Morris brought all muskets to bear in the third period as David Friedmann and Zac Lynch lit the lamp as the Colonials tried to force the game in to overtime before Bowling Green (9-9-4) held on.
“I thought we responded well from last night,” Bowling Green coach Chris Bergeron said, referring to a 5-0 loss to nationally-ranked Boston College. “Didn’t think we started great, but we played better as it went along. We were consistent, but some of our decisions with regards to discipline late were concerning. They didn’t cost us tonight but we’re going to address it.”
With the Colonials on a 5-on-3 power play, sophomore center Friedmann got Robert Morris on the scoreboard with his fourth goal of the season at 6:25 in to the third period. Friedmann sent a screen shot down the center of the ice past Falcons freshman goaltender Tomas Sholl off a feed from senior defenseman Andrew Blazek.
Sophomore center Lynch scored his eighth goal of the season for the Colonials with just 23 seconds left in the third period, deflecting a shot from Tyson Wilson as Robert Morris had pulled Shafer for the extra attacker in the final 1:50 of the game.
The Colonials (2-12-2) couldn’t muster another goal to tie, but coach Derek Schooley said his team’s performance improved from Friday’s loss to Penn State, in which RMU allowed 62 shots on goal.
“Our effort was better tonight,” Schooley said. “We have some things to shore up in our game but much better than last night. We fixed our work-ethic issue. They say you have to be positive when the team’s losing, but I was sick of it and I think the players were too. You can’t be a fraud.”
RMU sophomore netminder Terry Shafer turned in another yeoman’s performance by stopping 32 of 35 shots. In the two games against Penn State and Bowling Green in the Three Rivers Classic, Shafer had 91 saves, including a program-record 59 vs. PSU.
Bowling Green lit the lamp at 4:31 of the first period when senior right wing Mohler took a deflected pass from Brent Tate and and went top shelf on Shafer. Senior left wing Williamson extended the Falcons lead at 2:58 of the second period on the power play when he tapped in a rebound past Shafer on a shot from Ben Murphy.
Sholl kept Robert Morris at bay, stopping good shots by sophomore defenseman Wilson and sophomore left wing Greg Gibson on a two-on-one break to the net. The Hermosa Beach, Calif., native had 20 saves on 22 shots for the Falcons in the victory.
The eventual game-winning goal for Bowling Green came at 4:01 of the third period when freshman left wing Dufour sent a screen shot just past the stick hand of Shafer.
Robert Morris hits the road for a pair of Atlantic Hockey Association games with Sacred Heart next weekend.
“My old boss at Air Force [Frank Serratore] said that the only thing you learn from losing is how to lose,” Schooley said. “All seven of our non-conference losses have come down to us pulling our goalie, and it’s been a challenging schedule.
“Still, you need to experience success to get some confidence. If we work as hard as we did tonight, we’ll have success. We’re in the game but we have to break the habit of losing close games.”
From The Clipboard: RMU won the faceoff battle with Bowling Green by taking 35 of 64. Friedmann led the way by winning 10 of 17…The Colonials have not been shut out this season…Coming in to the tournament, Robert Morris has averaged 34.86 shots on goal per game this season, which leads the AHA…In the Friday game against Penn State, the Colonials blocked 27 shots as a team, which was a new season-high this year.
Watch as Matt Gajtka and I wrapped up the second annual Three Rivers Classic from the Consol Energy Center press box: