For new coach Romanella, there couldn’t of been a bigger challenge for his first game as head coach of the Blue Hens than Robert Morris. The 2nd ranked Robert Morris Eagles came into the game 4-0 for the season and full of confidence. The Blue Hens on the other hand, were playing their first game of the season and that would prove to be the difference unfortunately for the Blue Hens.
The special teams unit for the Blue Hens got off to a rocky start. The first goal of the game came on a Blue Hen power play, but it was not the Blue Hens who scored. Robert Morris intercepted a pass in their own zone, which led to a 2-1 rush and eventually a goal.
Still early in the first period, Robert Morris would score yet again, this time on their own power play. Robert Morris forward Chris Pontello pounded the puck in between the pads of Blue Hen starting goalie Noble Tucker, and the score was now 2-0 Robert Morris.
In a situation where the other teams Robert Morris have played so far this season have been intimidated, the Blue Hens fired right back. With less than two minutes in the period, Matthew Gumina lifted up the spirits of those in attendance in the Fred Rust arena with a huge goal to end the first period. The score was now a manageable 2-1.
The Blue Hens momentum continued into the second. A mere 56 seconds into the period, Maxwell Freeman found John Brancaccio crashing the net and fed the puck to him. Brancaccio scored and the Blue Hens were able to tie the game 2-2.
Robert Morris would dampen the spirits of the Blue Hen faithful with another timely goal two minutes later. The goal gave the Eagles the lead yet again, forcing the Blue Hens to respond
The rapid scoring in the beginning of the second period continued. Only four minutes into the period, the Blue Hens scored yet again. Sophomore John Redgate joined line mate Max Freeman in a battle behind the net of Robert Morris. John Redgate won possession of the puck and found freshman line mate Cole Zucker in front of the net. Zucker scored his first goal with the Blue Hens and tied the game up.
Midway through the second, the Eagles would respond. After a scrum, both the Blue Hens and the Eagles took a minor. During the 4 on 4 action, Robert Morris looked their best, making it difficult for the Blue Hens to even get the puck out of their own zone. Eventually, Tim Prinz would score for the Eagles to make the game 4-3 Robert Morris.
The third period was surprisingly low scoring. Coach Romanella said in the post game interview that both teams were focused on not making any mistakes. He also pointed out that because Robert Morris had the one goal lead, they could afford to wait till Delaware came to them. The only goal in the period went to Robert Morris. The Blue Hens struggled on offense and did not have many good chances.
Coach Romanella was pleased with the performance of the young first line. He pointed out that against a structurally sound team like Robert Morris, their second period goals pleased him and the line was the most consistent out of the four.
By: Tyler Fitzpatrick