By Sam Brouwere
The Griffs’ hockey team started off their conference schedule with a win and a tie against the Robert Morris Colonials in front of a home crowd last weekend.
In the first game on Friday night, the Griffs had a convincing win over the Colonials, winning 6-3. The first goal of the game came on a power play for the Griffs. Sophomore forward Felix Chamberland scored 8:29 into the first period. Not that long after, the Colonials tied it back up with a goal from junior forward Brady Ferguson at 11:08 into the frame. The Griffs would then capitalize on another power-play opportunity with a goal from freshman forward Nick Hutchinson with 5:24 remaining in the first period, giving the Griffs a 2-1 lead. The Griffs would go on to take control of the game with four more goals. Chamberland scored two power-play goals for the Griffs, giving him a hat trick for the game.
Chamberland spoke to the Griffs about being successful on the power play. “I think it was a big team effort. We were working on our power play a lot last week,” he said. “I think it was amazing to see our power play wake up like that, and I was lucky to be a part of our overall team work on the power play.”
The Griffs also got a couple of goals from two freshmen. Defenseman Matt Stief scored with 1:56 remaining in the second period and forward Matt Hoover scored 35 seconds into the third period. The Griffs were also helped by strong goaltending in the game. Senior Charles Williams got the start in net and had 27 saves on the day, giving him his second win of the young season. The Griffs would go on to win the game, 6-3.
However, the Griffs would go on to have a different result in the second game against the Colonials on Saturday night. Sophomore forward Alex Tonge scored first for Colonials. He scored a power-play goal 8:23 into the first period. The Colonials would hold the lead until 14:39 into the second period. Junior forward Ryan Schmelzer scored a power-play goal to tie the game up for the Griffs. Schmelzer would then score again with 8:25 seconds into the third period to give the Griffs a 2-1 lead. Schemelzer gave his thoughts on scoring the two goals, saying, “It was nice to be able to chip in and help the team. But no matter who gets the goals, it doesn’t really matter as long as long as we have a good offensive game. It was a hard fought one.”
The Griffs wouldn’t hold the lead long, as Tonge was able to score another power-play goal for the Colonials with 6:35 remaining in regulation. Neither team would go on to score again, ending in a 2-2 tie. Coach Dave Smith gave his thoughts on the game. “Well, it was a crazy game. I really thought we played, arguably, a way better 5-on-5 game Saturday than we did Friday,” he said. “I think we were troubled trying to make plays and we couldn’t do anything about that. The end story is how our effort really helped us gain the tie and it felt really good after being on the penalty kill so much down the stretch.”
The Griffs were helped again with a strong performance from their goalkeeper. Williams got the start again for the Griffs, making 32 saves in the game. Coach Smith spoke to the success that Williams had over the weekend, saying, “I thought he played really well and on Saturday night, especially his confidence and his calm demeanor in net, I think our guys fed off of that and it felt like Charles has got our back and lets go make the plays.”
The Griffs will be travelling to State College, PA to play the Penn State Nittany Lions this weekend in a two-game series. The Nittany Lions are coming into these games red hot, as they just upset the No. 3 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irishmen last weekend. The Nittany Lions are currently ranked as the nineteenth team in the country with an overall record of 3-1-1 on the season. Coach Smith spoke to the opportunity to play the Nittany Lions, saying, “Well, it’s great. All of our non-conference opponents, I think, are opportunities for us to establish our identity against teams from other leagues. It’s a chance to go into one of the top-five buildings in the country and show them what we’re capable of. ”
Win or lose this weekend, the Griffs will be given the opportunity to play a high caliber team and the experience of playing the Nittany Lions will help them moving forward.