Playoff Fate Looms for Icers After Weekend Split
With a playoff berth on the line, the Penn State Icers took on Robert Morris (Pa.) last weekend. After taking the first game on Friday night, the Icers fell in game two on Saturday.
The 11th-ranked Icers needed a good showing over the weekend, as falling below the 12th spot would mean missing out on the playoffs. The tense situation seemed to affect Penn State on Friday, but the Icers managed to take a goal advantage when Rich O’Brien scored in the first period. In the second period, Robert Morris took the lead after two goals just 35 seconds apart. Paul Daley equalized at 7:27, but Robert Morris scored again half a minute later. With four minutes left in the period, Daley netted his second, tying the score at three goals apiece.
Tim O’Brien, the Icers’ leading scorer, put one in the net 3:18 into the third period. After Robert Morris tied it again, Eric Steinour scored the game-winner and Daley got another for his hat trick. As the period progressed, Robert Morris became increasingly physical. Even the Colonial goalie got into the action, receiving a game misconduct penalty with three minutes to go, after he smacked his stick in Steinour’s face. The Icers fought through the rough play for the 6-4 win.
The Saturday match-up was a wild affair that saw Robert Morris win 8-5. The Colonials scored first, but Dominic Morrone and Rich O’Brien both scored to take a 2-1 lead. The first period ended with Robert Morris getting a goal 14 seconds before the break. In the second period, the Colonials took the lead again, but three-straight goals from Rich O’Brien, Marek Polidor and Nick Seravalli put the Icers up 5-3. It looked like Chris Pronchik had added another midway through the period, but the referees waved it off as the net had been displaced.
The Icers would rue that missed opportunity. The Colonials scored twice in the second to even the game and scored three more in the third period for the 8-5 win. This was another physical contest that included three offsetting roughing penalties.
After the weekend, Penn State’s record stands at 20-9-1 overall and 10-5-1 in conference (ESCHL) play, only good enough for third place. However, the weekend split with Robert Morris should be enough for Penn State to earn a playoff spot. After learning their ACHA tournament fate midweek, the Icers will head to Rhode Island to play in the ESCHL Tournament, where they will take on Delaware in the semifinals on Friday.