NEVILLE ISLAND, Pa. — Niagara University’s Armando Scarlato couldn’t have picked a better time to pick up his first career goal, scoring 40 seconds into overtime to lift the Purple Eagles to a 3-2 win over Robert Morris University at the RMU Island Sports Center on Saturday night. The win pushes Niagara (18-14-1, 11-6-1 CHA) into a first-place tie with Alabama-Huntsville in the conference standings.
Scarlato pounced on a rebound that sat in the slot for several seconds after a shot by Matt Caruana. Scarlato just ripped a slap shot from 10 feet out for the game-winner 40 seconds into overtime.
A back-and-forth first period saw Niagara take the first lead of the game at 7:08. Jason Williamson picked up a drop pass from Caruana in the offensive zone and beat RMU sophomore goaltender Christian Boucher to the stick side.
The Colonials answered just 18 seconds later as sophomore Sean Berkstresser found Jeff Van Nynatten’s five-hole from the left circle. Sophomores Jace Buzek and Chris Kaufman earned the assists.
Ted Cook put Niagara back on top, 2-1, at 10:06 of the period burying a rebound off a shot from the right point by Mike Novosad.
Robert Morris wasted little time tying the game in the second period. Freshman Chris Margott one-timed a soft cross-ice feed from senior Kurt Wright 60 seconds into the period to tie the game, 2-2. Sophomore Rob Cowan started the two-on-one break with a long outlet pass from the defensive zone.
The Colonials would spend much of the remaining time in the second period on the penalty kill after taking four penalties. However, Robert Morris held Niagara to just five shots on those four power play chances, keeping the game deadlocked.
Neither team would score again in regulation, although the Purple Eagles appeared to have the game-winning goal at 11:42 of the third period. Kyle Rogers rebound goal was waved off after the officials determined the net had been dislodged before the puck crossed the line.
Niagara held a 36-27 advantage in shots on goal although Robert Morris held a 15-7 edge in the third period. Boucher made 33 saves for the Colonials while Jeff Van Nynatten finished with 25 for Niagara. Neither team scored on the power play as RMU went 0-for-3 and Niagara was 0-for-5.
The Colonials (11-18-3, 7-10-2) had locked up fourth place in the conference last weekend and found out who their CHA Quarterfinal opponent will be. Air Force defeated Wayne State Friday night, 3-1, to lock fifth-place in the standings and draw Robert Morris in the playoffs. The Colonials have beat the Falcons five straight times, including a four-game season sweep in 2005-06.
These two teams meet again Saturday in a 7:35 p.m. game at the RMU Island Sports Center.