|South’s Overtime Goal Lifts RMU over Niagara|
Pittsburgh, Pa. – The Robert Morris University men’s hockey team defeated AHA rival and nationally ranked Niagara on the back end of the home-and-home series Saturday night. Colin South (Sewickley, Pa. / Bay State Breakers) netted the game-winning goal during the overtime period as the Colonials were victorious, 6-5.
The Purple Eagles opened up the scoring in the first period with a short-handed goal as a misplayed puck in the defensive zone led to an open net and the early 1-0 deficit for the Colonials. South would answer ten minutes later when he got off a one-time shot past the Niagara goaltender. Senior forward Zach Hervato (Stittsville, Ontario / Smiths Falls Bears) passed the puck to sophomore forward Jeff Jones (Revelstoke, British Columbia / Merritt Centennials) who deked past the Niagara defender in the corner and fed the one-time pass to an awaiting South. Niagara would retake the lead with two minutes remaining in the period as the Purple Eagles held a 2-1 advantage after twenty minutes of play.
The Colonials were able to capture the momentum and the lead in the second period after the Purple Eagles took a five-minute major penalty for boarding. Freshman forward Zac Lynch (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Bay State Breakers) capitalized first on the major penalty when he banged home a rebound just eleven seconds into the power play. Assists on Lynch’s goal were credited to South and Cody Wydo (Southgate, Mich. / Motor City Metal Jackets). Just two minutes later the Colonials capitalized again on the extended power play as sophomore forward Scott Jacklin (Kimberley, British Columbia / Trail Smoke Eaters) wristed a shot from the bottom of the circle past the Purple Eagles goaltender. The goal came after junior defenseman Andrew Blazek (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Topeka Roadrunners) dished the puck to Hervato who then found Jacklin wide open in the corner. The two power-play goals would be the only two scoring plays in the period as the game got rather chippy and physical with both teams taking multiple penalties with the Colonials holding a 3-2 lead after two periods.
Niagara tied the game early in the third period with a power play goal before taking a 4-3 advantage on a 5-on-3 power play with 12 minutes remaining in the third. The Colonials would answer less than a minute later as Wydo tied the game with a shorthanded goal. Wydo toe-dragged the puck past a sliding defender after receiving an outlet pass from Adam Brace (Cobden, Ontario / Canisius College) before ringing a shot off the crossbar and into the back of the net to make the score 4-4. Defenseman Evan Renwick (Calgary, Alberta / Canmore Eagles) was also credited with an assist on the shorthanded goal.
The Colonials then took the lead less than two minutes later when freshman forward Matt Cope (Lakewood, Colo. / Wenatchee Wild) scored off a shot from the slot. Cope fired a wrist shot through a sea of defenders off a pass by freshman forward Greg Gibson (Burlington, Ontario / Amarillo Bulls) who was circling from behind the net. Senior defenseman Tyler Hinds (Orleans, Ontario / Nepean Raiders) also registered an assist on the play. The Purple Eagles capitalized on a late Colonial penalty as they tied the game at five with a little over a minute remaining in the game.
While on the power play in the overtime period, South would deliver the knockout punch with his second goal of the evening. The puck made its way around the perimeter of the umbrella set up as Wydo and Jimmy Geerin (Anchorage, Alaska / Burnaby Express) worked the biscuit to South who has an open shot as the defense couldn’t keep up with the puck movement. The Colonials poured on to the ice to mob South as the team picked up the 6-5 victory.
The Colonials return to action next weekend with a home-and-home series against Canisius. The Colonials will travel to Buffalo State Sports Arena on Friday to take on the Golden Griffins at 7:05 before returning to 84 Lumber Arena on Saturday for a 7:05 p.m. rematch.