Robert Morris' Eric Levine sharp in goal for win
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Robert Morris goalie Eric Levine slammed his stick to the ice in elation Friday night just as the final buzzer sounded to wrap up a 3-0 victory against Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) at 84 Lumber Arena on Neville Island.
Levine, poised and seeing the puck well, turned away 34 shots to rebound from the program's worst home loss in history Tuesday to Mercyhurst.
The win earned the Colonials two valuable points in the standings, as they stand at 15-10-2 overall, 10-9-1 in the Atlantic Hockey Association.
"I was happy we got the win. It's been an up and down last month and my team's been bailing me out," Levine said. "I was just happy to finally have a game where I felt like myself."
The Colonials had 41 shots but struggled to find the net until a nifty second-period goal by Cody Wydo broke a scoreless tie.
David Friedmann made it 2-0 at 14:34 of the third when he wristed one past RIT goalie Jordan Ruby off the rush. Zach Hervato added an empty-netter with 23 seconds to play.
It got hectic in the game's final 3:38 when Robert Morris had to withstand a stint of 48 seconds, down 5-on-3, but Levine turned away two shots and the penalty-killing unit held RIT scoreless in its final of five power-play situations.
"[Levine] was focused and sharp right from the start," Robert Morris coach Derek Schooley said. "He made the saves he had to and threw some big ones in. His focus was outstanding. He worked extremely hard in net and our defense didn't give a lot of second chances. I thought our want level was off the charts."
The Colonials lost, 8-1, Tuesday night to Mercyhurst, a game in which Levine gave up four goals, then his backups gave up two apiece.
Schooley took the team bowling Wednesday to try to put the loss behind them, and it worked.
"We needed to refocus and forget about the Tuesday night debacle," he said. "I think the way we played in the second and third period you get frustrated because you're not scoring. So you stick to the process. ... We kept playing in their end, and kept getting opportunities."
Wydo broke the scoreless game with a goal from close range at 7:37 of the second on 4-on-4 play.
Defenseman Evan Moore intercepted an outlet pass just inside the blue line, and turned to feed Wydo still in the low slot.
Wydo took the puck just above the crease, turned, and went left-right-left to beat Ruby.
The team could not capitalize on a five-minute power play later in the period, when Anthony Hamburg was whistled for a boarding/contact to the head major.
Adam Brace had a short-handed opportunity later in the period, but was turned away by Ruby.
The Colonials spent four minutes killing two minor penalties in the first, and managed to escape the period with the game scoreless.
Levine made a key save on the first RIT power play, blocking a point-blank shot by Brad McGowan in a 2-on-1 rush.
He came up with 16 saves in the first period, six in the second, and 12 in the third.
NOTE -- After this weekend series with RIT, the Colonials will close the season with three consecutive home-and-home series against Niagara, Canisus, and Mercyhurst. ... The Robert Morris women's team defeated No. 7 Mercyhurst, 4-2, in Erie. Kristen DiCiocco made 28 saves, 11 in the third period, for the Colonials.
First Published February 9, 2013 12:00 am