Robert Morris Completes The Sweep of No. 1 Miami of Ohio
/ Pittsburgh Penguins
If the college hockey world was stunned when the Robert Morris Colonials took down the No. 1 ranked Miami of Ohio RedHawks, 3-1, at Mellon Arena on Friday then they should be shocked no more. The Colonials validated their upset by heading to Oxford, Ohio on Sunday and beating Miami again, this time in their building, 2-1, to sweep the two-game series.
“Anybody can beat anybody on a given night but we were able to do it two nights in a row,” Robert Morris head coach Derek Schooley said. “I think what makes it even more special is to be able to do it in back-to-back games.”
Robert Morris rode the same formula they used on Friday night to give the RedHawks their first two-game losing streak since Mar. 14-15 of last season – namely superb goaltending from Brooks Ostergard, solid special teams and strong attention to details.
Ostergard was sensational against the RedHawks on Friday when he stopped 39 of 40 shots, including 27 of 28 over the final two periods, but he might have been even better in the rematch. Miami came out flying on Sunday and threw 17 shots towards the RMU net in the first period but Ostergard was there to stop every one.
“I think a lot of it had to do with very good goaltending,” Schooley said. “We got great goaltending this weekend.
“I have been getting on them about their consistency and their lack of focus at times but Brooks Ostergard, especially (Sunday) in the first period when they came out hard – he was the best player on the ice.”
Special teams were also a huge factor in the Robert Morris victory. Both Colonials’ tallies came with the man-advantage as RMU went 2 for 7 on the power play. Robert Morris was also able to kill off eight of the nine power plays against them, and over the two games they held Miami to a 2-for-14 showing with the extra skater.
“It came down to good goaltending and sacrificing everything for a common goal,” Schooley said. “We had sticks in the lanes, we blocked a tremendous amount of shots and when we did have a breakdown Brooks Ostergard was there for us.”
After Miami controlled the action in the first period it was Robert Morris which owned the second. They would outscore the RedHawks, 2-1, and outshoot them, 10-8, in the middle frame. The Colonials held Miami without a shot the first 10 minutes of the period.
Just like they had on Friday, the Colonials were able to strike first on the man-advantage thanks to a couple of players who participated in the Penguins’ prospects camp over the summer. Defenseman Denny Urban (Pittsburgh, Pa.) set up Nathan Longpre in front and the junior stayed with the puck when his first shot was denied to open the scoring on the rebound 11 seconds into the period.
Pat Cannone knotted the score for the RedHawks with a power-play goal at 11:46 but Urban closed out the scoring with an unassisted tally at 16:45 with Robert Morris possessing the extra skater.
Ostergard held the fort from there as Miami outshot RMU, 14-2, in the final period thanks to four more power plays. Just like Friday, Ostergard was at his best when it counted the most. Schooley couldn’t stop praising the work of his netminder.
“All of our goaltenders have given us good performances but to have it against the No. 1 team in the nation in back-to-back games is something that is pretty special,” he said.
Robert Morris now hopes to use back-to-back victories over last season’s NCAA Tournament runner-up to fuel a late season run as they attempt to separate themselves from the pack in the battle for second place in their conference, College Hockey America, behind undefeated Bemidji State.
“Now our challenge is to sustain this for the remainder of the year,” Schooley said. “We proved we could do it over two games. Now we have to move forward with the same kind of intensity, the same attention to all of the little things and with good goaltending as well.
“That is what we have to do. We have to move forward. We can’t look at the past. We realize what we did was something very special but now we have to look forward to the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers.”
Robert Morris returns home to host Alabama-Huntsville this Friday and Saturday at the Robert Morris Island Sports Center. Both contests are slated to begin at 7:05 p.m. The Colonials will be looking to exact revenge on the Chargers for coming and stealing three of four points earlier in the season.
“This is a team that came into our building in December and tied us on Friday and beat us on Saturday,” Schooley said. “We have to be focused and be ready to play. We have to build off the momentum because they are a good hockey team. They beat Notre Dame early in the year.”
Alabama-Huntsville might be a good hockey team, but after sweeping the top team in the nation this weekend, Robert Morris has proved they are a very good team themselves.