NEVILLE TWP., Pa. — Kyle Horsman scored a buzzer-beater in the first, while Daniel Mantenuto followed it up with the game winner in the second to give the Robert Morris Colonials a 3-1 win over the Niagara University Purple Eagles at the Robert Morris Island Sports Center.
An uneventful first period that saw the two clubs exchange opportunity after opportunity ended in dramatic fashion, as Niagara registered the first goal off of the stick of captain Nick Farmer. The Colonials responded with the epitome of a buzzer-beater, as senior Kyle Horsman batted a puck out of the air and into the net past Brian Wilson with one-tenth of a second remaining to give the Colonials a much needed tie going into the second period.
“It made us lucky to start over 0-0 headed into the second period,” Derek Schooley explained. “I still had to be hard on them, I had to make them wake up and they did. Hats off to them for taking and receiving the message and putting it into action.”
It was that second period that Robert Morris came alive, outshooting Niagara 10-0 in the second stanza- the first time that the Colonials ever held an opponent without a shot in a period in school history. Mantenuto was able to capitalize on a 3-on-1 with Alex Tonge and Luke Lynch, scoring the eventual game-winner at 17:17 of the frame.
The third period was more of the same for the teams, as the Colonials thoroughly dominated Niagara with a punishing forecheck and tough as nails backcheck. Jason Lammers and Derek Schooley exchanged timeouts with 3:00 remaining in the period, and with Wilson on the bench, Lynch scooped up the puck in the neutral zone and deposited it in the net at 17:12. Wilson attempted to get to the bench twice, only to have the Colonials create consecutive odd-man opportunities and seal the victory.
While the goose egg that the Purple Eagles dropped in the second period was the first record set, the second secured that a year-and-a-half old record would respectfully fade into oblivion. The Colonials allowed only 13 shots to Niagara, besting the 14 that they allowed to Air Force in the 2017 Atlantic Hockey Championship game, a game in which the Colonials lost 2-1.
Horsman’s goal came at the one-tenth mark remaining in the first period, a breath of fresh air during an otherwise lackadaisical and uneventful period.
“Big, huge goal,” Derek Schooley explained. “I’m happy for Kyle Horsman, he’s been our 13th forward and in his senior year he knocks one out of the air. Thats a big goal. He got the Colonial wig today, what a big goal. We just spring-boarded from there.”
The defense followed up the effort by blanking the Purple Eagles in the next stanza.
“We weren’t feeling to good after ourselves after the first period,” junior Alex Robert said. “Not being down one, being in a tied game, kind of a wash of a period allowed us to go out there and establish our identity”
The Colonials and Purple Eagles close out their series at the Island Sports Center on Saturday night with a 7:05 puck drop. The family of late associate head coach Mark Workman will be on hand to drop the ceremonial first puck before the contest.