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December 28, 2013

Bowling Green holds off late RMU rally

The Robert Morris Colonials put together a late rally, but it wasn't enough as RMU fell by a 3-2 final to Bowling Green in the consolation game of the Three Rivers Classic from CONSOL Energy Center on Saturday. The loss placed the Colonials at 0-2 on the weekend.

Less than 24 hours earlier, head coach Derek Schooley had given his entire team, with the exception of his goaltender, an "F" after a poor effort in a 3-2 loss to Penn State, in which they surrendered 62 shots. The bench boss wasn't nearly as peeved after this one.

"It was a much better effort by our team tonight than last night," Schooley said. "I challenged them a little bit this morning and I thought our effort was better. We still need to sure up some things within our game, but that was a good effort. We played hard, and left it on the ice. That's all you can ask."

It didn't necessarily appear that the club would do so in the early going, however. Brett Mohler opened the scoring at 15:29 of the opening frame. RMU freshman defenseman Rob Mann cleared a pass away from the crease, but the puck ended up right on Mohler's stick, and the Falcon forward chipped a shot over the shoulder of Terry Shafer.

Robert Morris had trouble mustering any offense in the period, finding themselves on the wrong end of the shot totals, 12-3. The Colonials did get more shots towards the cage in the second stanza, but BGSU netminder Tomas Sholl was equal to the task, including stops on Greg Gibson on a 2-on-1 and partial break. But RMU was getting to the cage with more regularity.

"I thought we got better as the game went on," Schooley said.

Like the first period, however, it was Bowling Green who found the twine. Ben Murphy's shot from the left circle struck the post to the right of Shafer, and bounced to the blade of Bryce Williamson for the tap-in, powerplay marker, good for a 2-0 Falcons lead after 40 minutes.

Kevin DuFour put his club up by three when he fired a wrister past Shafer in the high slot four minutes into the third. RMU then reversed their fortunes with a late push.

David Friedmann recorded his second goal of the tournament, connecting on a shot during a 5-on-3 man advantage with 6:25 to play. Robert Morris continued to press, and with an extra attacker, Pittsburgh native Zac Lynch tipped a Tyson Wilson shot past Sholl with 27 seconds remaining.

The Colonials had one more offensive zone possession, but time eluded the host team, as they ultimately fell by one.

It wasn't the way Robert Morris would've drawn things up, but Saturday's matchup was better; the kind of hockey Schooley is looking for from his squad. He admitted that the tone was different prior to puck drop.

"I was sick of being positive this morning and I think the players were sick of me being positive," Schooley said. "We had a nice little chat this morning an there was no positivity in that meeting. They responded to that today."

The Colonials will now skate in 18 games, two games per weekend, over the next nine weeks. And not that they didn't matter before, but all 18 contests fall within Atlantic Hockey. That's an opportunity to gain some much needed confidence. And wins.

"We need to get into (conference) play and experience some success," Schooley said. "We can't be demoralized because now if you're demoralized you'll be like that going into your schedule. There's things we have to fix, but we fixed our work ethic issue from last night. If we work as hard as we did tonight, were going to have success."

- Boston College won the tournament with an 8-2 win over Penn State. The Eagles scored 13 goals in the two games they played in the Three Rivers Classic.

- Boston College forward Johnny Gaudreau - Robert Morris goaltender Terry Shafer joined Penn State defenseman Nate Jensen, Boston College forwards Bill Arnold and Kevin Hayes, and Bowling Green forward Bryce Williamson on the all-tournament team.

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