by Karl Henkel/Wayne State Men's beat writer
Coming off three wins in their last four games, Wayne State men's hockey looked for a much better showing against Robert Morris than their previous three meetings, all Colonial wins. Unfortunately, it didn't happen.
The opener consisted of 32 combined penalty minutes, with Robert Morris having nine power play chances.
Sean Berkstresser got the Colonials on the board early in the first period with the man advantage, but Stavros Paskaris fired home a shot from between the circles in the second period to tie the score.
In the third period, with WSU putting the pressure on, Ryan Cruthers broke free on a breakaway, tallying a shorthanded goal to put RMU up 2-1.
Chris Margott added another power play goal late to seal a 3-1 victory for Robert Morris.
“We were out-disciplined and took stupid penalties,” Paskaris said, “That definitely hurt us.”
Saturday night didn't start off much better, with RMU outshooting WSU 19-3 in the opening period. Despite being outplayed, however, the scored was tied after one, as Cruthers and Jeff Caister (power play) provided the goals.
Defenseman Matt Krug's slapshot from the right point was deflected off the stick of Derek Bachynski to put the Warriors ahead 2-1 a mere three minutes into the middle frame.
In the third, though, the tide changed in a hurry.
Cruthers added his third goal of the series for RMU at the 11:01 mark, knotting the game at two. Just 17 seconds later, Nathan Longpre put Robert Morris ahead 3-2.
With less than five minutes to go in regulation, Tylor Michel sent a pass in front of the Colonial goal to Jared Katz, who flipped a backhander over the shoulder of netminder Christian Boucher.
As time expired, both teams got in a scrum in the corner of the Warriors zone. Multiple penalties were assessed, and WSU came out of the fracas down a man.
That's when Margott took a feed from Denny Urban and fired it past CHA Defensive Player of the Week Brett Bothwell, completing the five-game season sweep of the Warriors for RMU.
Like Friday night, the game was marred by 34 penalty minutes, 16 of which went against WSU.
“We had no discipline,” an upset head coach Bill Wilkinson said after the game, “It was very uncharacteristic of us to play that way. We talked about it at the meeting today that we had to have better discipline through the whole game. And what did we do at the end? Take a stupid penalty that cost us the game.”
Next weekend, WSU (8-20-2, 4-10-0 CHA) travels down south to play Alabama-Huntsville (4-17-3, 1-10-3 CHA). Wayne State swept the Chargers in late January, 2-0, and 4-3 (OT).