NEVILLE TWP., Pa. — Four goals from underclassmen lead the Niagara University Purple Eagles over the Robert Morris Colonials on Saturday at the Island Sports Center.
The first period was nearly a carbon-copy of the first game, as the two teams exchanged end-to-end opportunities while ramping up the intensity with each shift. A rare miscue by Nick Jenny allowed Alex Truscott to strip him of the puck, skate across the circle and fire it over the glove of Francis Marotte to give the Purple Eagles the lead late in the period once again.
The second period this evening was not as eventful as the previous night, as Niagara came out with the intensity and quickly took a 2-0 lead off of the stick of West Mifflin native and Penguins Elite alum Eric Cooley. A small shift in momentum occurred and Robert Morris started to heat up the offense, and an Eric Israel shot was deflected by freshman Nick Lalonde to get the Colonials back within one. A scary moment occurred later as Niagara sophomore Justin Kendall slid back-first into starter Francis Marotte, laying the net-minder out behind the goal.
Niagara jumped all over Robert Morris at the beginning of the third, and freshman Ryan Cox slid one past Marotte at 5:05, giving the Purple Eagles another two-goal lead. Nick Lalonde’s second of the evening gave the Colonials life with one minute remaining, but Kendall scored on an empty cage to give seal things for Niagara.
YOU CAN GO HOME AGAIN
After two seasons away from the Island Sports Center, the Niagara series served as a homecoming for two Purple Eagles, as Luke Edgerton and Cooley played their first collegiate contests in Pittsburgh.
Edgerton attended Wheeling Catholic, where he played varsity hockey for the Maroon Knights of the PIHL, as well as with the Penguins Elite. Cooley, a sophomore from West Mifflin, played for the Penguins Elite program. Both were members of the Elite’s 2017 National Championship squad.
Prior to the contest Robert Morris and Niagara welcomed the niece and brother of former Colonials associate head coach Mark Workman to the Island Sports Center for an honorary puck drop. Captains Brandon Watt and Nick Farmer participated in the tradition, as Workman’s god-daughter and niece Morgan dropped the puck.
A NITTANY INVASION
The Colonials prepare for a home-and-home with the Nittany Lions of Penn State next weekend. The first half takes place at Pegula Ice Arena in State College, Pennsylvania, the back-half occurs at the Island Sports Center on Saturday. Both games have 7:05 p.m. face-offs.