March 7, 2014
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Twelfth-seeded Army drew first blood, but No. 5 Robert Morris went on to net eight unanswered goals stretching the final two periods en route to an 8-4 win in the first game of a best-of-three Atlantic Hockey Association playoff series at 84 Lumber Arena Friday night. Game two from Pittsburgh, Pa., is slated for tomorrow night, March 8, at 7:05 p.m.
Sophomore winger Andrew O’Leary got Army (5-27-0) on the board in the first, while Luke Jenkins, Maurice Alvarez and Garret Peterson accounted for the final three goals of the game. The Black Knights were 2-of-4 on the power play and killed four of five Robert Morris PP chances.
Army freshman goaltender Tanner Creel made a career-high 31 saves in relief of starter Parker Gahagen (16 saves).
Robert Morris’ Cody Wydo led all players with two goals and two assists on the night. The Colonials improved to 14-16-5 on the year.
Army jumped out to a 1-0 lead on O’Leary’s fourth goal of the season late in the first period. The Norwich, Vt., native redirected Zak Zaremba’s shot at the 16:44 mark to give the Black Knights a 1-0 lead at the first intermission. In addition to Zaremba’s helper, Jonathan Gehrt got the play going and earned his third assist of the season.
Robert Morris came out of the locker room like gang busters, netting six goals over the opening 12 minutes to take a commanding 6-1 lead. Creel relieved Gahagen in goal after the Colonials’ fifth unanswered score of the night. Army killed two penalties to help exhaust a decisive period for the home Colonials.
The Black Knights entered the final frame looking to quell the RMU offense, but the Colonials had a different plan in mind scoring just 30 seconds into the third period to balloon the lead to 7-1. Robert Morris tacked on an additional goal during a five-minute power play and led 8-1 midway through the third.
Army netted the final three goals of the game, two of which came over the final 1:12, but it was a case of too little, too late for the visitors.
Jenkins’ first goal of the season came with just under eight minutes to go in the contest, as junior alternate captain Josh Richards and Zaremba fed Jenkins on the door step at the 11:06 mark to make it an 8-2 contest. Alvarez netted his fourth of the year with 2:12 remaining in the contest. Rookie forward C.J. Reuschlein scored his team-best 20th point of the year, collecting the assist on Alvarez’s late goal. Rounding out Army’s scoring, Peterson scored his first collegiate goal with 13 seconds remaining, providing the final 8-4 outcome.
The best-of-three series continues tomorrow, March 8, and follows with game three on Sunday (if necessary). Puck-drop for both contests is slated for 7:05 p.m. at 84 Lumber Arena. Fans can watch the games online via www.americaone.com or listen to the Army call via Knight Vision (www.goARMYsports.com) or the radio (1390 WEOK-AM and1340 WALL-AM - Hudson Valley; 92.5 WBLR-FM - Watertown, N.Y.).
Game Notes: C.J. Reuschlein became the first Army freshman to reach the 20-point plateau since Owen Meyer ’10 did so in 2006-07 … joining Parker Gahagen in the starting lineup was top line Andrew O’Leary, Josh Roberts and Zak Zaremba, along with Ryan Nick and Mac Lalor on defense … the Black Knights and Robert Morris met for the first time in an AHA playoff game Friday night … Tanner Creel made his fifth appearance of the season … Zak Zaremba played in his 100th career game ... Army wore its road black sweaters.
ROBERT MORRIS 8, ARMY 4
#12 ARMY 1-0-3 – 4
#5 RMU 0-6-2 – 8
ARMY – O’Leary (Zaremba, Gehrt), 16:44 PP
RMU – South (Friedmann, Jones), 1:53
RMU – Denham (Rey, Cope), 2:12
RMU – Cope (Gibson, Wilson), 4:16
RMU – Jacklin (Moore, Wydo), 6:21
RMU – Wydo (Golightly, Renwick), 9:19
RMU – Leavens (Rigatti), 11:56
RMU – Lynch (Jacklin, Wydo), 0:32
RMU – Wydo (Jacklin, Lynch), 2:15 PP
ARMY – Jenkins (Richards, Lalor), 11:06
ARMY – Alvarez (Reuschlein, Roberts), 18:48 PP
ARMY – Peterson (O’Leary), 19:47
Shots: Robert Morris 55 (8-27-20); Army 22 (4-6-12)
Saves: Army 47 (Gahagen, 29:19, 8-8-0; Creel, 30:41, 0-13-18); Robert Morris 18 (Shafer, 59:48, 3-6-9; empty net, 0:12)
Power Plays: Army, 2-4; Robert Morris, 1-5
Penalties: Army, 5-21; Robert Morris, 4-8