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November 23, 2013

Balanced effort gives RMU a split

Five different Colonials found the back of the net and Terry Shafer stopped 23 of 24 shots, as Robert Morris defeated Holy Cross by a 5-1 final on Saturday afternoon at the 84 Lumber Arena. With the victory, RMU split the two game set with the Crusaders, picking up their second win on the campaign.

"That was probably our most complete game of the year," said head coach Derek Schooley. "We just have to stick with the process. You can get frustrated and worry about wins and losses, but if you're doing the right things, it's bound to happen sooner or later."

It took over 37 minutes for someone to find the back of the net on either side, but sophomore forward Zac Lynch got Robert Morris on the board late in the second frame. After hitting the crossbar twice already on the day, Lynch capitalized on defensive zone turnover, going backhand to forehand on the breakaway against Holy Cross goaltender, Matt Ginn.

"I was going for third time's the charm and hope the shot worked, but I made a move on him and it paid off," said Lynch.

It was the Pittsburgh native's fourth tally on the year.

The Colonials carried a one goal lead into the third period, but it vanished less than five minutes into the stanza. Sean Gustin beat Shafer blocker side with a wrist shot from the slot to knot things at one apiece. Other than one miscue, the Colonial netminder was perfect.

"I can't say enough for how great my defense played in front of me," said Shafer. "They kept it really simple. Most of the shots were from the outside, but if we had a little slip, I was ready to bail them out."

Things undoubtedly got more comfortable for Shafer as the period continued, as he watched his mates score four unanswered. The 1-1 draw was broken just 1:14 later, when junior forward Scott Jacklin put home a rebound for his second of the season. The bench boss felt that the British Columbia native was perhaps showing off for the family.

"Scott Jacklin was outstanding this weekend," said Schooley. "His dad and grandpa need to come every weekend."

That was all the Colonials would need, but they added three more for good measure. Lynch assisted on a Jeff Jones tally with a beautiful saucer pass that Jones finished off for his first on the season. Matt Cope registered his second goal in as many games, and Cody Wydo potted his 11th into an empty net with a minute to play.

"It's always great to get production from everyone in the lineup," said Shafer. "Everyone's feeling good right now. It's a good feeling in the locker room."

The victory moves RMU to 2-8-1 overall, but 2-3-1 in Atlantic Hockey heading into Thanksgiving break. Schooley and company were pleased to add one more to the win column before the week off, and feel they're getting to the point where things are starting to come together.

"I thought that was a good weekend," said Schooley. "We want to play 60 minutes like that. You just have to stick with the process and do things the right way."

The afternoon matinee was the final contest for RMU on the Island in 2013. The club will skate on the road in December for two against Bentley and one versus Mercyhurst. They'll then return to Pittsburgh over Christmas break to host the Three Rivers Classic at CONSOL Energy Center on December 27-28.

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