OT goal puts RMU in Atlantic Hockey Association finals
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Perhaps the ugliest shot of the night was at the same time the most beautiful for Robert Morris.
Junior center Scott Jacklin mostly fanned on his swipe at the across-the-slot pass by linemate Zac Lynch but still got enough on the puck to steer it over the goal line and give the Colonials a 5-4 overtime victory against Niagara.
The goal, at 14:56 of overtime, gave fifth-seeded Robert Morris a date with No. 7 seed Canisius in the Atlantic Hockey Association championship game at 7 p.m. Saturday at Blue Cross Arena.
Cody Wydo, the AHA's leading scorer, could have given RMU a victory twice in the first six minutes of overtime but was denied by Niagara goalie Jackson Teichroeb. At 3:03 of overtime Teichroeb kicked out his right leg to deny Wydo's short-handed breakaway. At six minutes Wydo jumped past a defenseman and sliced to the net but Teichroeb again was able to extend his right leg and stop the shot.
The Colonials (18-17-5) were in good position to advance after third-period goals by Colin South and Wydo a minute part gave them a 4-2 lead with 7:31 remaining.
But sixth-seeded Niagara (15-20-5) forced overtime with two late goals. A Kevin Patterson shot deflected in off Stephen Pietrobon's stake at 16:57 and then just 47 seconds later Hugo Turcotte slammed home a Matt Williams rebound.
Niagara outshot RMU, 55-43, with Colonials freshman goalie Dalton Izyk making 51 saves.
Linemates Greg Gibson and Matt Cope scored the other goals for RMU.
Izyk was pressed into duty when Terry Shafer, a third-team all-AHA seletion, suffered a knee injury in the deciding third game of the playoff series against Army on March 9. Since then Izyk, from Oswego, N.Y., has allowed just six goals and stopped 135 shots in 231 minutes, 37 seconds.
South's goal came with 8:31 remaining in the third period. He drove to the net from along goal line to sweep in a loose puck. Just a minute later, Cody Wydo steered home a Zac Lynch pass off a two-on-two fast break and the Colonials led 4-2.
Canisius (17-20-3) ousted regular-season champ Mercyhurst, 5-4, in the first semifinal when defenseman Stephen Ferrell scored 13:30 into the second overtime. Ferrell, playing just his seventh game of the season, was inserted into the lineup when Geoff Fortman was injured last weekend.
The Colonials took a 1-0 lead over Niagara just 2:56 into the first period on Gibson's 13th goal of the season. Taking pass from Cope in the high slot, he used the defenseman as a screen and snapped a shot into the top left corner of the net.
Izyk faced 18 shots in the period, though not a significant number were from prime scoring range. He did, however, made clutch stops on Ryan Rashid at 17 minutes, then leaped across his crease to blocked Sam Alfieri's shot toward an open net on a Niagara power play with 35 seconds left in the period.
Niagara tied the score 3:39 into the second period when Izyk's misplay of a Dan Kolenda shot gave Turcotte a free swipe at a rebound.
Cope restored the RMU lead at 9:30 when he fired a shot from the right circle into the top right corner of the net for his sixth goal.