Robert Morris Rallies, Then Holds on to Upend No. 20 Bryant

Moon Township, Pa. Robert Morris rallied from a three-goal deficit, pulled ahead in the fourth quarter, and hung on for a nail-biting, 13-12, victory over #20 Bryant to claim the 2012 NEC regular-season title Saturday afternoon at a chilly and rainy Joe Walton Stadium.

With the win, its first-ever over a nationally ranked conference opponent, RMU broke its program record for wins by tallying the 11th of the 2012 campaign. The regular-season NEC title is the first league championship of any kind for Robert Morris.

The victory also guaranteed the Colonials the No. 1 seed and the right to host the upcoming NEC Tournament. Robert Morris will host fourth-seeded Mount St. Mary's Friday, May 4, in a league semifinal while second-seeded Bryant will face third-seeded Quinnipiac in a neutral-site match-up. Friday's winners will meet Sunday, May 6, in the NEC Tournament championship.

The Colonials picked up their sixth-straight win, tying the program record for longest unbeaten streak, due to an unselfish offensive effort that saw them notch 11 assists on their 13 scores. It marked RMU's sixth-consecutive contest with double-digit assists as the national leaders in assists per game extended their school record in that category. Robert Morris also tied its single-season team record for assists by reaching 138 for the campaign.

Senior Kyle Buchanan (Nepean, Ontario/John McCrae) and junior Jake Hayes (Calgary, Alberta/Central Memorial) led the offensive effort for RMU by tying for game-high honors with six points.

Buchanan tied RMU's single-game school record by registering five assists, including one on the game-winning goal, and also added a goal. He tied his career high of six points, which he originally set in last season's victory at Bryant, and moved into a tie for second place in single-season helpers at Robert Morris with 22. Buchanan tallied his 34th career multi-point game and extended his point streak to 18 games.

Buchanan's five-assist game was the third such effort in the past five weeks for Robert Morris as three distinct Colonials have accomplished the feat. Prior to this season, only one Colonial had notched a five-assist game in program history.

Hayes posted three goals and a trio of assists to claim his fourth game with at least six points in the team's last 12 outings. He became just the third Colonial in history to score 40 goals in a season and also moved into a tie for third in single-season points at RMU with 58, three off the record. Hayes, who moved into eighth in career points (82), notched his 12th career hat trick and has now posted 15 points in his last two games. Hayes tallied his sixth straight multi-goal game and grabbed his 11th such effort this season.

RMU jumped on top early, scoring twice within the first 83 seconds, and tallied four of the first five goals in the opening 11:15. Each team scored once late in the first frame, and RMU led 5-2 after one quarter.

The Bulldogs owned the second quarter and scored six straight times to flip the momentum and take an 8-5 lead. Buchanan scored courtesy of Hayes late in the first half to break the Bryant run and set the halftime score at 8-6 in favor of the guests.

Robert Morris used its momentum from late in the first half and opened the third quarter strong by scoring three straight in 7:05 to retake the lead, 9-8. The Bulldogs would tie the game, 9-9, but RMU scored twice in the final five minutes of the frame to take an 11-9 lead into the fourth.

Bryant tied the game, 11-11, by scoring twice within the first half of the final period. However, RMU bounced right back and went back up by two again with five minutes to play as redshirt junior Dave Morton (Orangeville, Ontario/Hill School) and senior Kiel Matisz (Stoney Creek, Ontario/Saltfleet) both found the twine.

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2012-04-28



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