Kent State hockey sweeps Robert Morris over the weekend


Kent State freshman forward Lucas Ethington carries the puck forward against John Carroll on Jan. 19, 2018. The Flashes won the game, 9-2. 

Morgan Dunlop

 The Kent State club hockey team (2-0) capped off their opening weekend with a game-winning overtime goal to defeat Robert Morris (0-2) in Moon Township on Saturday night.

30 seconds into overtime junior forward Sean Moore found the back of the net to give the Flashes a 6-5 win in the second game of the weekend to complete the weekend sweep of the Colonials.

“It felt great to score the goal,” Moore said. “My teammates all congratulated me after the game which was nice and it feels pretty good that we are 2-0. We have a lot of things to work on but I was very impressed with our new guys and the things they showed this weekend. I am looking forward to getting better everyday.” 

The team won game one Friday night at home by a score of 5-2.

Coach Jim Underwood was impressed with his team’s performance overall and how it made strides in the right direction after fighting nerves during the first game of the year.

“Any time you start off the season with two straight wins, you start to feel a little better about yourself,” Underwood said. “As the game progressed we got better and better, we got our timing down and we got our rhythm down. That is why we scored five goals in the last two periods.”

Penalties played a big role on Friday night for both teams, players were in and out of the penalty box all night usually leaving one team at an advantage. 

“No one likes to start their season off trying to kill penalties,” Underwood said. “We had about six penalty kills, one of those being a five on three for almost a minute and a half. I felt like our guys embraced the adversity. They buckled down and got into the shooting lanes.”

Underwood was particularly proud of the impact that the freshmen made on Friday night. 

“I really felt that every single freshman made an impact,” Underwood said. “You see them in practice, but you don’t really know what to expect when you put them in the game. I felt that they handled the pressure and situation with a lot of maturity, they were all great tonight.”

Freshman defenseman Justin Bioni scored a goal in the third period with the score tied at two to give the Flashes a lead late in the game.

“It was definitely a great feeling,” Bioni said. “Especially as a freshman, to be able to contribute to the team and be able to help give us the win.”

After that goal, senior forward Chance Taylor and senior forward John Buttitta scored to put the Flashes ahead 5-2.

 “We’re going to make mistakes, but the way we responded after the first was good,” captain Mike Sullivan said. “It was a full team effort, and everybody bought in.” 

Buttitta was happy with the performance of his team and the camaraderie they are establishing as a unit.

“At first we came out a little sloppy,” he said. “I think we really picked it up going into the second and the third. As a team we were starting to develop consistency. Overall, I think we have great chemistry so far, this team seems pretty special. It is a different feeling this year, it feels like we’re vibing already.” 

Saturday night at Robert Morris the Flashes won only 30 seconds into the overtime period with a goal from Sean Moore after Buttitta forced a turnover. 

Robert Morris scored first on Saturday to give the team a 1-0 advantage, but with three seconds left in the first period, Sullivan scored a power play goal assisted by Buttitta.

Sullivan scored again in the second period, assisted by Lucas Ethington and Rob Ferrari to give the Flashes a 2-1 lead. 

The team is comprised of mainly freshmen and sophomores, so leadership can play a critical role in this teams success.

“Our older guys kind of set the tone,” Sullivan said. “Our new guys kind of look at that and realize that this is what we got to do, and that will help us out in the long run.”

In the third period, Buttitta intercepted a pass and put a shot on goal, rebounded by Moore to give the Flashes a 3-2 lead with 11 minutes to go.

Freshman Shane Handlovitch then scored his first career goal to give the Flashes a 4-2 lead in the third period.

Robert Morris then scored a goal to cut the deficit to 4-3 with 9:30 left in the final period of regulation.

Robert Morris pulled their goalie late in the game to put them at an advantage, scoring with 11 seconds left  to send it to overtime.

“This lead us to focus on what areas we really need to get better at,” Underwood said. “To give up three separate leads in the game is something we really need to fix. We will be playing a stronger team this weekend,” said Underwood. “We will focus on improving during this big week of practice.”

The Flashes will be back in action Friday and Saturday at The University of Pittsburgh.

 Morgan Dunlop is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected]