In spite of the defeat, junior Brianna Delaney (Stittsville, Ontario / NCCP Raiders) continued her recent run up the RMU record books as she tied the Colonials' all-time record for career assists with a second-period helper. Delaney, who now has five points in her last three games, collected her 41st career assist Friday, which moved her alongside Morgan Beikirch for the top spot in Robert Morris history.
Despite coming out of the gates well by firing the first three shots on net in the contest, RMU was unable to get on the board early. Not long after the Colonials killed off an early Niagara power-play chance, however, Jenna Hendrix's goal gave the Purple Eagles the edge at the 10:38 mark of the opening period.
Robert Morris was penalized in the closing minutes of the first, and Niagara took advantage to double its lead. Robert Morris was 17 seconds away from returning to even strength, but the Purple Eagles' Daniela Dal Colle gave Niagara a 2-0 lead with just 33 seconds remaining before the first intermission.
Although the intermission interrupted the game, the scoring picked up where it left off when play resumed as Robert Morris came right back to pull within one just 35 seconds into the second. Sophomore Kelsey Thomas (Hamilton, Ontario / Hamilton Hawks) found the twine for RMU as both Brianna Delaney and her younger sister, Cobina Delaney (Stittsville, Ontario / Ottawa Senators), assisted on the goal. It marked the first time that the Delaney sisters combined to assist on a goal since Nov. 6, 2009 when the pair assisted on the opening goal in Robert Morris' 3-1 victory over defending national champion Wisconsin.
Niagara continued the scoring spree by responding just over two minutes later as Dal Colle put home her second tally to return the Purple Eagles' margin to two. Robert Morris killed off a Niagara power play during the middle portion of the frame to remain within striking distance and earned an extra-man advantage of its own at the 17:14 mark of the second stanza. RMU attempted five shots during the ensuing two minutes and nearly found the net when Cobina Delaney's shot hit the post, but Robert Morris headed into the locker room trailing 3-1.
The Colonials killed off two Niagara power plays within the first six minutes of the third period to give themselves a chance at a comeback. As the clock approached five minutes to play, the teams found themselves in a 4-on-4 situation, and RMU took advantage. Frehsman Thea Imbrogno (Etobicoke, Ontario / Mississauga Jr. Chiefs) continued her strong rookie season by lighting the lamp at the 14:34 mark to pull Robert Morris within one again. Senior assistant captain Sara O'Malley (Guelph, Ontario / Hamilton Hawks) and sophomore Dayna Newsom (Oakville, Ontario / Oakville Ice) provided the assists.
Robert Morris pulled its goalie with the time winding down in search of the tying goal. However, RMU did not have the edge since it was forced to go on the penalty kill with 1:29 to play. Therefore, the teams were still skating 5-on-5, which made it easier for Niagara to put home an empty-netter with 51 seconds to play that removed almost all doubt from the proceedings.
O'Malley, who now has 14 points in her last 14 games, moved into first place at Robert Morris in career shots in goal with an attempt immediately preceding RMU's second goal. O'Malley moved one clear of Kristen Miles' previous mark of 319.
Robert Morris will look for revenge in fewer than 24 hours as the teams hit the ice for a rematch at 2:05 p.m. Saturday to close out the series.