|Late Comeback not Enough for the Colonials|
Niagara University, N.Y. – The Robert Morris University men’s hockey team hit the road for the first time after a five-game homestand as the Colonials took on the nationally-ranked Niagara Purple Eagles on Friday evening. Despite falling behind by two goals in the second period, the Colonials fought back to tie the game, 3-3, before allowing a last-minute goal to Niagara for a 4-3 loss.
Robert Morris would get on the board first as freshman Matt Cope (Lakewood, Colo. / Wenatchee Wild) picked up his second goal of the season. Awaiting a delayed penalty call from the referee, the Colonials maintained possession in the offensive zone and worked the puck around to defenseman Evan Moore (Grosse Point, Mich. / Sioux Falls Stampede) who got the puck on net through traffic. In all of the humanity in front of the Niagara net, Cope got a piece of the puck and redirected it for the first goal at 10:53 of the period. Captain Brendan Jamison (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Jersey Hitmen) picked up the secondary assist on Cope’s goal.
A short time later, the Purple Eagles would tie the game off of a deflected shot in the slot above the RMU net. Despite facing fifteen shots in the period, the Colonials would head to the locker room with the score tied, 1-1, after the first period of play.
Niagara would take the lead for the first time in the game as the Purple Eagles recorded two goals just 79 seconds apart in the second period. The goal that would put the Colonials down 2-1 came off of a defensive zone turnover as the loose puck came through the goalmouth and in to the slot where a Niagara defenseman was all alone for the goal. The second goal came as Niagara capitalized on an odd-man rush after the initial save was made by Eric Levine (Wheeling, Ill. / Penbroke Lumber Kings), the puck squirted out in to the slot where it was fired home as the net came off its moorings after the initial save by Levine.
Down by a score of 3-1, the Colonials responded just 27 seconds after Niagara’s third goal. Freshman Zac Lynch (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Bay State Breakers) picked up the loose puck after an offensive-zone faceoff win by senior Zach Hervato (Stittsville, Ontario / Smiths Falls Bears). Lynch possessed the puck while on his backhand as he skated in to the slot and got off a shot that snuck through the Niagara goaltender to make the score 3-2.
The Colonials would tie the game in the third period as Scott Jacklin (Kimberley, British Columbia / Trail Smoke Eaters) would corral a loose puck with less than five minutes remaining in the period. After a faceoff victory, Cody Wydo (Southgate, Mich. / Motor City Metal Jackets) possessed the puck before finding Adam Brace (Cobden, Ontario / Canisius College) behind the net. Brace then set up Jacklin who positioned himself in the offensive slot for the shot that tied the game, 3-3.
As it looked like the two teams would head to overtime, Niagara would net the game-winning goal with less than a minute remaining. A loose puck came out from behind the Robert Morris cage to an open Purple Eagle to make the score 4-3. Despite pulling the goaltender for an extra skater, the Colonials were unable to rally for another game-tying goal as the loss dropped the Colonials to below .500 in Atlantic Hockey (10-11-1) for the first time this season. Despite making 30 saves in the contest, Levine fell to 14-10-2 on the season.
The Colonials wrap up the home-and-home series with Niagara tomorrow evening with a 7:05 p.m. contest at the 84 Lumber Arena.