Pittsburgh Hockey Digest

Robert Morris

Louria’s OT goal, Ferguson’s hat trick send RMU to AHC title game

Brady Ferguson and Michael Louria celebrate the overtime goal. -- BRIAN MITCHELL

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — In a back-and-forth battle for the ages, Robert Morris struck the last blow.

Michael Louria scored an overtime game-winner 6:42 into the extra period, as the Colonials upset the top-seeded Mercyhurst Lakers, 5-4, in the Atlantic Hockey semifinals at Blue Cross Arena on Friday afternoon.

Mercyhurst had dominated the chances in the extra frame, and Robert Morris forward Alex Tonge iced the puck, but Louria beat everyone down the ice, collected an usually long carom off the end, turned it over to his backhand, and tucked it behind Mercyhurst goaltender Brandon Wildung to end the Lakers’ season and send the Colonials into the Atlantic Hockey final.

On the biggest stage of the season, the Colonials’ best player came through in a big way. Senior forward Brady Ferguson scored three goals. Ferguson saved his best work for late in the game, when his wrist shot from the high slot found its way through a ton of traffic and into the net behind Wildung to tie the game with 45 seconds remaining. The Colonials had pulled goaltender Francis Marotte after Mercyhurst was whistled for a crucial too-many-men penalty.

The third period was a back-and-forth thriller with five goals and five lead changes as the teams battled, with neither squad willing to let their season end without a battle.

Mercyhurst tied the game at 2-2 early in the third after the Lakers beat out an icing call. With the Robert Morris defense scrambling, Taylor Best dropped to one-knee to one-time a loose puck that went over the shoulder of Marotte and into the back of the net.

Robert Morris answered back after a tremendous shift from the second line of Matthew Graham, Luke Lynch and Daniel Mantenuto that saw five or six prime scoring opportunities for the Colonials. Mantenuto finally solved Mercyhurst goaltender Brandon Wildung, when he banged home a rebound to give the Colonials the lead back with

After the Lakers staked a 1-0 lead in the first period, Ferguson took off in the second. With the Colonials on the power play, he took a feed from defenseman Eric Israel, skated laterally across the blue line and sent a laser-beam wrist shot off crossbar and in behind

Just past the midway point of the second, a fantastic individual play by Michael Louria set Ferguson up again. Louria made a nifty move in the neutral zone, sending a Mercyhurst defenseman sprawling to the ice, and springing him and Ferguson on a 2-on-1. Louria then feathered a saucer pass over the second Mercyhurst defender and through to a wide-open Ferguson, who fired it into a wide-open net.

The big second period advantage was a big change from the first, when the Lakers took a 1-0 lead on Kane Elliot’s late wrist shot, but probably could have had more. Two other pucks got behind Robert Morris goaltender Marotte. The first, on a Mercyhurst power play, hit the crossbar, bounced straight down, off the ice, and then off the right post, before deflecting back into play. The second was cleared off the line by back-checking forward Timmy Moore.

Marotte finished with 41 saves on 45 shots. Robert Morris killed both Mercyhurst power plays while scoring once on four man advantages.

HIGHLIGHTS

POSTGAME REACTION

UP NEXT

Robert Morris will face the winner of Air Force and Canisius on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.

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