RMU Advances to 1st Atlantic Hockey Title Game
Jacklin OT Winner Lifts Colonials
CHN Staff Report
Scott Jacklin scored with five minutes remaining in overtime to lift Robert Morris it a 5-4 overtime defeat of Niagara in an Atlantic Hockey Semifinal Friday night.
The win clinched Robert Morris' first trip to the Atlantic Hockey Championship Game. The Colonials will play defending-tournament champion Canisius Saturday night at 7 p.m. for a chance to earn its first-ever NCAA Tournament bid.
"I was so proud of them, the way they played in overtime," RMU coach Derek Schooley said. "They were outstanding."
Freshman goaltender Dalton Izyk, riding one of the more remarkable stories this postseason, made 51 saves for RMU, including nine in the overtime to keep his club alive.
After two periods, RMU led Niagara, 2-1. The teams combined for five goals in a span of 9:12 in the third period. Niagara fought back from 2-1 and 4-2 deficits to force the overtime. Purple Eagle goaltender Jackson Teichroeb made 38 saves of his own, including eight in the overtime.
Jacklin's goal came after a shot deflected off a Niagara player and fell right to his stick.
"That was a great game," Niagara coach Dave Burkholder said. "I felt that both teams left it all out on the ice. After the first two periods we were dramatically outshooting them, but I think Robert Morris had the greater number of grade As. Unfortunately, goals are not always pretty in overtime, and, in our case, an unfortunate bounce went off one of our players' helmets in front of the net and went to the tape of a guy wearing white jersey."
Robert Morris' title game berth comes after the club recovered from a 2-12-2 start to the season to win 16 of its final 24 games. Despite the poor first half, Schooley praised his club's resolve and believes his players always understood and expected the same success.
Defeating Canisius on Saturday is no small task. However, the last few months have proved RMU is ready for the opportunity. And they've done it with a goalie who was barely used in the regular season, but came on in relief of an injured Terry Shafer in the opening-round series against Army, and has dazzled ever since.
"To be the champion, you have to go through the champions," Schooley said.
"The goal we set in the beginning of the year was to win the championship. Now, we are one of the teams left playing for a championship (Saturday)."