PITTSBURGH, PA – Jake Sparks had a goal and two assists and David Boguslawski had a goal and an assist to lead Robert Morris University scored three power play goals and defeated Merrimack College 3-0 in non-conference hockey action Saturday night at RMU Iceland Sports Center in Pennsylvania.
Joe Tuset made 29 saves en route to his first career shutout for the Colonials, who improved to 6-9-1 with the win, capturing three of a possible four points in their first-ever series against a Hockey East opponent. Senior Jim Healey (Holyrood, N.F.) made 19 saves for the Warriors, who slipped to 2-13-2.
The two schools skated to scoreless tie through the first 20 minutes of play. The Warriors held an 8-4 edge in shots, but the Colonials blocked more shots (nine) than they allowed. Merrimack’s best scoring chance came just past the 13 minute mark when freshman Matt Jones (Kentwood, MI) stepped over the blue line and into a shot that nicked the crossbar. Later, the Warriors had a 4-on-3 power play but were unable to score as RMU blocked four shots on the kill.
The Colonials capitalized on a 5-on-3 just 1:02 into the second period to take a 1-0 lead. Senior defenseman Brian Boulay (Auburn, MA) blocked a shot with his upper body and struggled to remain in the play, and following a shot from the point by Sparks, Aaron Clarke gathered the rebound off the boards and beat Healey for his sixth goal of the season. David Boguslawski picked up the second assist on the goal.
Each team traded chances in the following minutes, as freshman Pat Kimball (Framingham, MA) saw his backhand attempt kicked out by Tuset while Healey returned the favor later when he stopped Brett Hopfe on a breakaway. Kimball had another great scoring chance just with just over 14 minutes remaining when he took a pass from freshman J.C. Robitaille (Des Ruisseaux, Quebec) and walked in alone on Tuset before his shot fluttered wide of the cage.
Merrimack received a 5-on-3 power play of its own for 43 seconds at 10:24 of the second but were unable to score, with its best scoring chance coming on a shot from Byrnes in front. The Colonials pushed the lead to 2-0 when Boguslawski took a pass from Sparks and beat Healey from the slot with a shot low to the glove side at 15:38. Each team fired 11 shots on goal during the period and RMU went 2-for-4 on the power play while the Warriors failed to convert any of their three chances with the extra man.
In the third, Sparks recorded the third power-play goal of the game for the Colonials at 1:18 when his wrister from the point eluded Healey’s glove. The goal, Sparks third of the season, was assisted by Doug Conley and Logan Bittle. The Warriors received a four-minute power play chance prior to the midway point of the third period but managed just one shot on net before it was negated by a slashing penalty by senior captain Ryan Sullivan (Toronto, Ontario).
Merrimack finished the evening 0-for-8 on the power play while the Colonials scored three PP goals for the second time this season. They had 10 chances overall.
The Warriors return to action Friday night when they host Hockey East rival UMass at Lawler Arena at 7 p.m.