Robert Morris Hockey: Colonials victorious in Consol debut

Soar past Air Force to earn fourth victory

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At least one Pittsburgh team won its Consol Energy Center debut.

Robert Morris senior forward Nathan Longpre scored the game-winning goal with 2:21 remaining as the Colonials overcame an early two-goal deficit to beat Air Force, 3-2, Sunday night at Consol Energy Center in the fifth College Hockey Showcase.

It was the fourth win of the season for the Colonials, who did not win game No. 4 until January in each of the past two seasons.

"We're not a perfect team by any means," Robert Morris coach Derek Schooley said. "We won ugly today. We didn't have our 'A' game, but I'll take that any time over having our A game and losing, that's for sure."

Colonials junior goalie Brooks Ostergard made 36 saves, marking the second time in less than a year he has been stellar to lead Robert Morris to a victory in an NHL arena. Ostergard made 39 saves in January as the Colonials beat then-No. 1 Miami, 3-1, at Mellon Arena.

"He's been good when we've needed him," Schooley said. "He makes the easy saves and gobbles up rebounds. He's big and tall in the net, and that's something you want him to be. He's been very good so far this year."

Longpre became only the second Robert Morris player to eclipse the 100-point mark, tallying two points to bring his career total to 101. Few were more pivotal than the goal he scored to give the Colonials the first men's college hockey win in Pittsburgh's new arena.

Tied 2-2 late in the third, Longpre saw an Air Force defender wind up for a shot in the Falcons' offensive zone. He skated toward the boards, figuring the shot might miss the net and ricochet toward the other end. He guessed right and found himself alone near the Falcons' blue line.

"I just took it down, put my head down, skated as fast as I could toward the net," Longpre said.

As he moved toward Air Force goalie Jason Torf, he faked to his backhand, switched back to his forehand and sent the puck over Torf's right shoulder.

"Luckily it went in," Longpre said.

Schooley said it was an opportunistic goal, but it was the kind he expects from a senior. "He made a big-time play when he had to, and that's what big-time players do."

The Falcons (0-3) scored the first men's college hockey goal in Consol Energy Center less than seven minutes into the game when Falcons defenseman Mike Walsh took a slap shot from the right circle that deflected off Ostergard's left pad high into the net.

It was only the second deficit the Colonials (4-0) faced all season. And it grew later in the period.

After the Colonials successfully fought off two Air Force power plays, the Falcons scored their second even-strength goal of the game with less than two minutes remaining before the first intermission when George Michalke took a rebound near the top of the crease and buried it into a wide-open net.

Robert Morris cut the deficit in half with one second remaining before the first intermission when forward Trevor Lewis fought his way through congestion in front of the net and poked a loose puck past Torf.

The Colonials scored a power-play goal with 2:30 remaining in the second to tie the score, 2-2. Colonials defenseman Denny Urban sent a shot into Torf's pads, collected his own rebound and centered the pass to Kushneriuk, who scored past a diving Torf.

NOTES -- The Robert Morris women's hockey team (1-4) lost to Northeastern (3-1-1), 4-3, Sunday afternoon. Sophomore Cobina Delaney and seniors Whitney Pappas and Sara O'Malley scored for the Colonials. ... The Robert Morris club hockey team beat Pitt's club team, 6-4. The Colonials scored three goals in the third period and fought off a later Panthers rally.

Michael Sanserino: or 412-263-1722.


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