By Thomas Baldwin
BUFFALO, NY – Robert Morris looked like they were going to give this one away……but were rescued in the end.
The Colonials blew a three-goal third-period lead but got a paramount goal from Spencer Dorowicz late in the third period to hold off hard-charging Canisius, 4-3, on Friday evening.
“I thought we played for 50 of 60 minutes tonight,” said RMU coach Derek Schooley. “We took 10 minutes off, and we had to ramp it back up for the final 10 minutes. But during those 10 minutes we were off, we gave up three goals. We lost our composure a little bit in those 10 minutes, but we regained it, and are obviously happy to get out of here with a win.”
RMU got the game-winner when Spencer Dorowicz took Jacob Coleman’s pass from behind the net and shot the puck quickly past Canisius goaltender Simon Hofley with just four minutes remaining to get the Colonials a victory– a triumph that almost slipped away.
“I think we just got it in deep, and there was kind of a loose puck,” Dorowicz said. “Coleman did a nice job down low and they got the puck, and it ended up in my feet. I kicked it up and found a way to put it around the goalie pad on the ice.”
After the game, Schooley seemed relieved his club produced when it had to.
“You don’t have any choice,” he said. “You give up three in 10 minutes– if you sit back, you lose. We did a good job of responding after it was 3-3, but we should have never been in that position. We have an older, veteran team that should be able to close out a three-goal lead. Hopefully we learned another lesson tonight.”
The Colonials, looked like they were in great shape heading into the third period. But they seemed to sag a tad while the Griffs became industrious.
Canisius started its momentum when Nick Hutchison jammed in a loose puck in front of Robert Morris goaltender Francis Marotte at 4:58 with a 2-man advantage. The goal seems to perk up Canisius.
Then, Ryan Schmelzer stormed in, deked Marotte and stuffed the puck past him and all of a sudden Canisius was back in the game at 3-2. They completed the comeback when Matt Long’s bang-bang redirection hit the post. A scramble ensued, where Dylan McLaughlin knocked the puck in.
“It was a tough game,” said Canisius coach Trevor Large. “It was a special teams filled game in the first two periods. I loved the resiliency we showed and the grit we had in that third period. We have a lot of belief in the room. It is an experienced team that has had a lot of success in the past.
“We know they believe in each other and play for each other. I’m not surprised we came back and made it 3-3. I am disappointed they were able to get one late and get the win.”
After the very brief banner ceremony before the game, things went downhill for Canisius. As they have with regularity this season, the Colonials capitalized on power play opportunities.
Matthew Graham gave the Colonials a 1-0 lead knocked in a rebound of Brady Ferguson’s shot from just outside the crease at 9:18 of the first period. Then Michael Louria’s quick shot from the low slot whistled over Hofley to give the Colonials a 2-0 lead just under four minutes later.
In the second period, Luke Lynch stole a poor clearing pass from Canisius’ Ian Edmondson and immediately blasted a shot past Hofley for a commanding 3-0 RMU lead at 15:48.
RMU went 2-for-8 on the power play while Canisius converted on one of eight attempts.
NOTES: Before the game, Canisius unveiled its 2016-17 regular season championship banner……The Griffs return 98 percent of their goal production from last season (105 of 107 goals)….This weekend is the only meeting between these clubs this season……After playing at Canisius on Saturday, RMU plays five of its next six games at home.