The #7 Robert Morris Colonials season ended Saturday after a loss to the #5 Air Force Falcons in the AHC Championship game by the score of 5-1. It’s the second year in a row that the Colonials would fall to the Falcons in the AHC Championship game. The loss likely ends the Colonial’s season, while Air Force will continue on to the NCAA tournament.
Right out of the gate Air Force controlled the game as they came out flying and scored two goals within the first three minutes. Those two goals, scored by Kyle Haak and Matt Serratore came within 50 seconds of each other and put the Falcons up 2-0 in the first. The Falcons would add another goal late in the first period while on a power play, making the score 3-0. That is where the score would remain as the two teams would head into the first intermission.
Just like in the first period, Air Force would come out flying as Evan Giesler would extend the lead to 4-0 early in the second period. This would cause Robert Morris head coach Derek Schooley to pull Francis Marotte in favor of senior Andrew Pikul. Pikul wouldn’t give up a goal for the rest of the game. As for the Colonials in the second they would get on the scoreboard as Nick Prukusic would score on the power play, making the score 4-1. That is where the score would remain as the two teams headed into the second intermission.
Not much would happen in the third period. The Colonials would pull their goalie with 6:30 left in the game, but unfortunately that would against them. The Falcons would tack on an empty netter goal by Kyle Haak, making the score 5-1. That is where the score would sit as the final horn rang, giving Air Force their 7th AHC Championship within the last 12 years.
It was a strong finish for Robert Morris, that is the playoffs as a whole. The team had an up and down year, but still managed to stay within the middle of the conference. After receiving the 7th seed they would go on to dominate the playoff field until Rochester. Unfortunately for Robert Morris, their captain Alex Bontje was ruled out with a broken leg before their semifinal game against Mercyhurst. This proved to be a tough loss for the team as they struggled to muster anything in the championship game.
While the Colonials aren’t officially out of a NCAA playoff berth, realistically their only chance of getting in was by winning the AHC Tournament. While one would hope that their miraculous playoff run could be enough to get them in, their overall record of 18-20-3 and lack of statement victories outside of their AHC opponents will more than likely keep them out.
So while their season won’t officially be over till tomorrow after the NCAA selection show it can be assumed that it will be. For Robert Morris though, they can look back at this season knowing that they overcame adversity to get where they were. While one can argue that they didn’t play up to their potential this season, one could also argue that this team was able to make a run to the finals despite having a rocky overall. The Colonials will hope that they can use this momentum to get back to championship game next season.