Chris Kushneriuk (Ottawa, Ontario / Orleans Blues) scored at the 11:42 mark of the third period to break a 2-2 tie and give the Colonials (5-1-0, 4-1-0) a lead they would not surrender. Niagara (1-3-2, 1-1-0) battled back after trailing, 2-0, at the start of the third period to tie the game at two at the 6:36 mark of the third period. The 5-1-0 start for the Colonials ranks as the best six-game start in school history.
"I was really proud of our maturity and our reliance," head men's ice hockey coach Derek Schooley said. "We played very well all weekend and got a win tonight in a really tough place to play."
Nick Chiavetta (Harrisburg, Pa. / New York Applecore) gave the Colonials a first period lead with a goal 13:01 into the game with an assists from Furman South (Sewickley, Pa. / Bay State Breakers) and Brandon Blandina (Centennial, Colo. / Indiana Ice). The biggest play of the first may have come on the penalty kill as Niagara earned a 5-on-3 late in the first frame for 1:55 after back to back penalties by the Colonials. Robert Morris used a solid team effort to kill of the penalties and only allowed four shots to reach Brooks Ostergard (Chagrin Falls, Ohio / Bay State Breakers) despite being down two men.
Robert Morris stretched the lead to two goals in the second period with a score from Adam Brace (Cobden, Ontario / Canisius College) at the 6:07 mark of the period. The goal was the first of the season for Brace and his first since transferring from Canisius.
Niagara refused to quit and came out fast in the third period scoring two goals in the first 6:36 including a power-play tally by Bryan Haczyk, which tied the game. After a successful penalty kill for the Colonials, a series of shots peppered Ostergard. Following six saves by the junior netminder and heavy pressure from the Purple Eagles, Schooley called for a timeout.
During the timeout, Schooley told his team "Relax, take a deep breath and calm down."
The pep talk paid off immediately, Kushneriuk won the faceoff falling the timeout and after some solid puck movement, the captain put the puck past the Niagara goalie to give Robert Morris its second lead of the game. Blandina added empty net goal to secure the win for the Colonials.
Robert Morris returns to action at 7:05 p.m. Friday when they travel to Worcester, Mass. to take on conference foe Holy Cross.
- The record of 5-1-0 ranks as the best six-game start for the Colonials in school history.
- The win for the Colonials ranks as just their fourth ever in Dwyer Arena. Robert Morris moves to 4-11-2 all-time in the Purple Eagles home arena.
- The win along with a loss by Canisius moves the Colonials back into first-place in Atlantic Hockey Association standings.
- The Colonials have not allowed one opponent to score three or more goals in a game this season.- Robert Morris picked up two tallies in the final 10 minutes of regulation Saturday night. On the season, the Colonials have outscored its opponents 9-1 in the final 10 minutes of regulation.
- Brace's goal is his first as a Colonial
- Blandina tied career highs in points and goals Saturday night and picked up just the second multi-point game of his career.