Bensenville, Ill. – The #8 ranked Robert Morris Men’s Gold Hockey team swept their weekend series from #13 ranked Davenport University, defeating the Panthers 5-1 on Friday, October 12th and 6-2 on Saturday, October 13th. The victories raised the Eagles season record to a sparkling 8-0-1 on the year.
The weekend started on a tenuous note, as Davenport drew first blood with a power play goal in the first period of the first game of the weekend. It was the first power play goal scored against RMU this season, as the Eagles had killed the prior 32 penalties they’d had this season over their first seven games. But the Eagles would tie the game on a power play of their own, as sophomore Rock Einersen converted a perfect pass from linemate Paul Isleib. It was Einersen’s first goal of the season. Sophomore goalie Andy DiCrsitofaro’s highlight reel blocker save preserved the 1-1 first period tie.
RMU found their game in the second period and took control. Einersen lit the lamp again, slapping home a drive from outside the circle on a nice assist from junior defenseman Ryan O’Connell. Junior Gehrett Sargis netted his team leading eighth goal of the year on another power play, scoring from the slot, with senior Brett Moser providing a smothering screen in front of Davenport goalie Phil Graveline. The Eagles built on their 3-1 lead in the third period, with a spectacular shorthanded goal. After junior captain Chris Cimoch made a great shot block, sophomore Kyle Hamilton gathered a loose puck in the neutral zone and sped down the left wing. He slid a perfect pass to sophomore linemate Mason Riley who tipped the puck past Graveline and RMU led 4-1. Sophomore Tony Domico made it 5-1, batting home a rebound of a Hamilton shot, and RMU coasted the rest of the way.
The Eagles started out quickly in the second game of the weekend, coming at Davenport in waves and taking an early lead when senior wing Josh Kaebel made a great move to the net, flipping home a shot to the short side. Davenport would tie the game when a shot ticked off an Eagle defender, but RMU answered quickly as sophomore Markus Ellis scored on a brilliant solo effort to restore their one goal lead. Domico made it 3-1, scoring from close in and sending the home team to the locker room after an impressive opening 20 minutes.
In the second, the visitors drew close again, scoring on a point shot that bounced off the chest of DiCristofaro and crazily over his shoulder into the net. But as they did after Davenport’s first period goal, RMU answered again with two more goals. Ellis scored his second of the game on picture perfect power play execution. After junior Andrew Montague punched a puck deep into the Davenport zone, Isleib sent a one-time pass to Ellis who roofed a shot over Graveline’s right shoulder to make it 4-2. Just moments later on another power play, Cimoch scored on a nice rush to the net, sending a low shot into the bottom right of the net making it 5-2.
Kaebel capped the scoring with less than 10 seconds left in the game on the power play, as Domico chipped a puck past the Davenport goalie who’d left his net to try and make a pass. Kaebel got the loose disc and slid it into the vacated cage.
“It was important for us to sweep this weekend,” said Eagles Head Coach Chico Adrahtas. “It proved that our ranking was not a fluke. What I liked most about the last few games has been the evidence that we’ve begun to develop the type of killer instinct a team with lofty goals must have. In each of the last four games, we’ve scored very timely goals, and in our last five games, we’ve only given up seven goals. This weekend we didn’t give up a goal five-on-five. We’re ahead of where I thought we’d be at this point, so it’s very exciting to see the progress in our competitive mentality.”
RMU’s home weekend was only a brief stop, as they head out again on the road, this time to play league rival Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa on Friday, October 19th and Saturday, October 20th. The two game set will mark the first league games for the Eagles this year.