ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Junior Brady Ferguson scored three times to lead No. 4 seed Robert Morris to a 6-2 upset of No. 1 seed Canisius in the first semifinal of the 2017 Atlantic Hockey Conference Tournament Friday at Blue Cross Arena.
Spencer Dorowicz, Daniel Mantenuto and Alex Tonge also scored for the Colonials (22-11-4), who advanced to the championship game against No. 2 seed Air Force Saturday night. Junior David Parrottino and freshman Nick Hutchison scored for Canisius (21-11-7), who saw its program-record 17-game unbeaten streak come to an end.
Dorowicz staked RMU to a 1-0 lead at the 12:01 mark of the first period, sneaking a wrist shot through the legs of Canisius keeper Charles Williams from the right faceoff circle during a Colonials rush.
Mantenuto doubled the RMU margin to 2-0 in the final 15 seconds of the first, taking advantage of a turnover deep in the Canisius zone to beat Williams and tuck the puck inside the left post.
Ferguson increased the Colonials cushion to 3-0 with his first of the contest with 12:40 gone in the second period, placing a rebound into the top left corner of the net from close range.
Hutchison got Canisius on the board at the 4:45 mark of the third period, knocking home a loose puck during a goalmouth scramble while the Griffs were on the power play to make it a 3-1 contest.
Ferguson restored RMU’s three-goal cushion at with less than six minutes remaining, wiring a wrist shot through traffic from the top of the slot into the cage to make it a 4-1 game.
The teams combined for three goals in a 1:34 span in the final minutes to close out the contest.
An empty-net tally by Tonge with 2:40 to play to extend the Colonials’ advantage to 5-1, only to see Parrottino strike 43 seconds later during a delayed penalty call to pull the Griffs within three, 5-2.
Ferguson completed the scoring spurt with 1:06 to play, tallying Robert Morris’ second empty-net goal of the game to record the hat trick and secure the victory.
Francis Marotte made 27 saves in goal for Robert Morris. Williams finished with 19 saves for Canisius.
Head Coach Dave Smith’s Postgame Comments
“I thought we really worked hard at our game tonight. We started tentative; we started slow. I believe that ultimately cost us the game.
“We didn’t capitalize on our chances, which we’ve had been doing for a long time here, and we had some things not go our way. We didn’t capitalize on our chances and Robert Morris took advantage of some big mistakes by us. Simple as that.
“We got better as the game went on. I liked how we came out in the third and stuck together and showed why our chemistry was so strong all year.”
– Canisius moved to 8-16-3 against Robert Morris all-time with Friday’s setback. The contest served as just the second meeting between the two programs in an AHC Tournament setting. The Colonials have won both postseason matchups (2014 AHC Championship Game).
– Canisius saw its program-record unbeaten streak snapped at 17 games. The streak was the longest in the nation this season by men’s Division I program.
– The Griffs were 1-for-5 on the power play, finishing the season by scoring a power play goal in 16 of its final 17 games played in 2016-17.
– Canisius played its second contest as a ranked school in program history as it was ranked No. 20 in this week’s USCHO.com national poll.
– Senior Charles Williams set school marks for season goals against average (1.82) and save percentage (.943). His totals surpassed the marks set by Keegan Asmundson during the 2014-15 campaign (1.96 & .930).
– Junior David Parrottino finished the season on a three-game point streak after scoring in the third period of tonight’s contest.
– Freshman Nick Hutchison scored his team-leading eighth power play goal of the season during Friday’s contest.
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