MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. – The Niagara Purple Eagles led after the opening period, but the No. 20 Robert Morris Colonials came back over the final 40 minutes to take game one of the AHA Quarterfinals 4-2 on Friday night at 84 Lumber Arena.
Niagara (7-27-4) got goals from Patrick Conte and Kevin Patterson while Jackson Teichroeb turned in 36 saves. The special teams stayed hot as the power-play went 1-for-4 and the penalty kill went 2-for-2. Both teams put 40 shots on net.
“I thought that if we kept it close and stayed in the game that it would go our way,” head coach Dave Burkholder said. “As the game wore on we looked like a team that played five games in eight days, since we had that overtime that was a full game. With that being said, I thought that a lot of guys looked tired.”
The Purple Eagles tallied a pair of quick goals at the end of the first to take a 2-1 lead into the break. Hugo Turcotte started the play that led to Niagara’s first goal of the game when he picked a Colonial pocket at the red line and carried the puck into the zone on a 2-on-1 rush with Brock Edwards. Conte crashed the net and buried a rebound and tied the game at 1-1. Patterson gave his team the lead with a power-play goal less than a minute later after the puck found the sophomore off of a face-off and he sent a rocket through traffic with less than three minutes to play in the period.
Teichroeb made 21 saves through the final two periods, but a goal from Robert Morris (23-7-5) early in the second tied the game and another tip-goal early in the third gave them a 3-2 lead. The hosts added an empty-netter with a minute remaining to come away with the 4-2 win.
Niagara will look to even the series in game two of the quarterfinals tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m.