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January 25, 2014

RMU polishes off sweep of Air Force

Five different Colonials found the back of the net and Terry Shafer stopped 33 pucks, as Robert Morris completed a sweep of the Air Force Falcons, taking the second game of the series by a 5-3 final at the 84 Lumber Arena on Saturday night.

The success on the weekend moves RMU to an 8-6-3 record in Atlantic Hockey, and continues the streak of completing five contests in a row with at least one point. It was the first sweep for the Colonials over the Falcons since joining the AHA.

"To get four points and continue to climb the standings and put ourselves in a good position was very good," said head coach Derek Schooley. "This team believes in themselves and I believe in this team."

Cody Wydo opened the scoring 8:41 in, potting his team leading 16th of the season with a backhander that eluded Chris Truehl for a 1-0 RMU lead. Air Force captain Adam McKenzie evened the contest, beating Shafer on a rebound with the man advantage before the period was out.

It took just 48 seconds into the middle frame for Zac Lynch to capitalize on a shorthanded breakaway. The sophomore forward snapped a shot glove side for his 11th, and a 2-1 lead. Scott Jacklin added to the total with a one-timer on the powerplay to move RMU ahead by two. David Friedmann then finished off a netmouth scramble for his 7th, and 2nd in as many nights, giving RMU a 4-1 advantage headed into the room.

"It was nice to pick up a couple goals this weekend," Friedmann said. "To score some goals and help the team win, that's the most important thing.

"We just worked hard and stuck to the systems. We were relentless all night and all weekend, until the last period, but we worked hard for five periods. That's going to help us win games and this weekend we got rewarded for it."

The sophomore forward and his bench boss agreed that the final stanza became a little too close for their liking.

Ben Persian and Chad Demers pulled the Falcons to within one in the third period, but Shafer and his defensive corps corralled the Falcons in time for Brandon Denham to tally an empty-netter with 26 seconds on the clock.

"They don't ask how, they ask how many," Schooley said. "We put ourselves in the position with two very good periods, but it's a great lesson for a young team to figure out how to get a win when you're not playing well. When you're up 4-1, teams are going to push and come at you and you've got to make sure you stick to your gameplan and we didn't. But, at the end of the day we got two points."

Schooley praised his netminder, adding that if not for the stellar play of the Penfield, N.Y. native, things could have easily gone sour in the final minutes.

"Terry Shafer was outstanding in the third period," Schooley said. "He was definitely our MVP tonight.

"We had five very good periods. That's what we need to look at, and be happy that Terry Shafer was outstanding in the third period. We were able to block a few shots and win a few battles and get the empty-netter, but I really believe that it's a great lesson for our young team."

The on-ice tests are over until next weekend when Army comes to town, and Friedmann and his mates aren't about to start strutting around campus just because of a solid stretch.

"We have Army next weekend and they're a hard working team," Friedmann said. "The last thing we need right now is to be complacent."

However, there's still time to acknowledge that a sweep over a team, which coming into the weekend had rattled off five straight wins of their own, is a significant achievement.

"I think the whole team is coming together," Schooley said. "We're playing with a lot of energy and lot of effort. Our mindset is right."

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