Carie Kuehn—Indy Co-President
BLOOMINGTON—The ISU Hockey team went up against number six Robert Morris University this weekend, but could not pull out the W.
Friday night the Redbirds came out skating fast. Even with their dominance the first ten minutes of play, RMU scored first—not once, but three times, putting them up 3-0 going into the third period.
ISU made the Eagles know they weren’t going to take that. Early in the third Tim Talty scored one, and soon after Kyle Melton buried a second. The Redbirds were one goal away from making it an even game.
“It was a lot of hard work by my other line-mates to create that opportunity,” said Melton. “We just talked about not waiting to turn it on when we’re down three nothing. We have to come out of the gates like we did in that third period with that same mentality.”
“We were down but we didn’t feel like we were playing a bad game,” said Captain Steve Wrzala. Their goals were not pretty goals, just some lucky bounces. We just told the boys to keep playing, and they responded.”
That one goal just wasn’t in the books, however, as RMU buried another one to seal the deal and end the game 4-2 in favor of the Eagles.
“It was a good effort by all of our guys,” said Assistant Coach Jim Sanchez. “I think we came out well. Robert Morris is a very good team, they’re ranked sixth in the nation. I think our guys came out and realized that they can compete with these guys. Yes they got a three goal lead on us, but we came out and showed some heart. I think we played excellent as a team, and as a whole.”
With three number one goalies on the roster, ISU started freshman Marc Hayton between the pipes on Saturday. Much like Friday, the Redbirds were playing from behind early with Robert Morris burying their first goal just two minutes into the first.
Redbird fans and players alike were not happy when the next Robert Morris goal was not waved off. The puck snuck in behind Hayton, who was pushed out by a RMU player in the crease. The official thought otherwise, and the ‘Birds were down 2-0 going into the second.
A lot of scrappy play from both sides offensively and defensively did not result in any goals in the second. ISU was still down by two heading into the final 20 minutes.
ISU started the third on the PK while Talty finished the last minute of a tripping penalty in the box.
RMU continued to roll over Illinois State, scoring four more times for the shutout win against the Redbirds. ISU never got their offense going, ending the game with only 20 SOG. The ‘Birds also struggled keeping men on the ice with 28 minutes in the box.
“Just things we have got to work on,” said Wrzala. “I think the guys know we can play with them, we know we can play with any team in the country, so we’ll be ready to go.”
The Redbirds won on Sunday afternoon, beating the Alabama Crimson Tide 9-8. They travel this weekend to take on Colorado State.
Read more about the Redbirds weekend at illinoisstatehockey.com