The Robert Morris men’s hockey team (13-16-2, 12-11-2) fell to the Mercyhurst Lakers (16-11-4, 13-8-4) on Friday by the score of 2-1. In the game, Michael Louria had the lone goal for the Colonials in the second period after Robert Morris fell behind 2-0 in the first.
In the first period, the Lakers would come out of the gate firing as they would outshoot Robert Morris 15-6 in the first. The Lakers’ first goal would come just under seven minutes in off the stick of Bryan Sienerth. From that point on, Mercyhurst would control the game and lead the scoreboard, but they never managed to firmly pull away. Robert Morris would have a couple shots, but weren’t able to find the back of the net.
With one minute left in the first period, Robert Powers would get sent to the box for two minutes on a hooking penalty. That penalty would lead to a power play goal with exactly one second left in the first. That goal was scored by Derek Barach and represents a concerning trend for Robert Morris as the team sits last in the AHC in terms of penalty kill percentage as they have only killed 77% of their penalties all season long.
After scoring a goal with just one second left in the first, Mercyhurst entered the second with all of the momentum. Robert Morris would quickly take that momentum and play their best period of the game. The Colonials would out shoot the Lakers 12-6 and score the period’s only goal. That goal would be scored by Michael Louria and assisted by Spencer Dorowicz and Sean Giles. It would bring them within one and finalize the score at 2-1.
The third period would be almost even with the Colonials leading by one in shots at nine to eight with both teams also failing to score. Eric Israel from Robert Morris would have the only penalty in the third period. That penalty would be the fourth of the game for Robert Morris. Only four penalties in the entire game is right on par with the Colonials, they average 4.74 a game and is the best in the AHC in that category, and that being on par is a good sign to see as they were coming off a loss to RIT in which the team tallied up eight penalties.
With the standings as bundled up as they are, this loss hurts the Colonials. They have now lost three games in a row and the Mercyhurst loss moves the Lakers in front of RMU with Holy Cross (12-13-7, 12-9-4) as both have 28 points in the AHC. Both of those teams are only two points behind Canisius (15-13-2, 15-9) and just two points above Robert Morris who is tied with Army (12-12-6, 10-9-6) for fourth in the AHC.
It is clear that Saturday’s game, which will be at Mercyhurst in the second game of a home-away series, has major implications on the seeding in the AHC. All teams make the playoffs, but the Colonials can mathematically fall all the way to the ninth seed. While that is highly unlikely, it shows just how tight the AHC standings are. Following Mercyhurst, the Colonials have two games left in the season. Both games are home games against Air Force (15-13-4, 10-11-3) on February 23rd and 24th. Following that will be the AHC playoffs. Those games start on March 2nd and will go on until March 17th.