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

Each of RMU's three match-ups with Bryant have been one-goal affairs with the Colonials taking each of the past two.

RMU will now have almost a week off before it opens postseason play as the Colonials host Mount St. Mary's Friday, May 4.

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MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. #20 Bryant took an 8-6 lead into the halftime break after dominating the second quarter, but host Robert Morris responded in the second half to edge out the Bulldogs, 13-12, and win the 2012 Northeast Conference regular-season title at Joe Walton Stadium Saturday afternoon.

With the victory, the Colonials (11-3, 5-0 NEC) win the right to host the NEC Tournament May 4-6 and will serve as the top seed. The Bulldogs (12-4, 4-1) secure the second seed and will play three-seed Quinnipiac Friday at RMU.

The game featured four ties, the final one coming with 7:55 to play in the fourth quarter, when Bryant sophomore Colin Dunster (Cos Cob, Conn.) knotted the score at 11-11 with a shot from 15 yards out off a pass from linemate Alex Zomerfeld (Port Jefferson, N.Y.).

Dave Morton would respond 21 seconds later for the Colonials, though, netting the go-ahead goal off a Bulldog turnover to regain a 12-11 advantage. Kiel Matisz would follow with his second of the day at the 5:10 mark for a 13-11 lead that would prove to be enough for the win, though just barely.

Because after senior goalie Jameson Love (Darien, Conn.) forced a huge turnover on defense, the Bulldogs found themselves with possession with 31 seconds to play. It was all senior Travis Harrington (Vestal, N.Y.) would need to complete his hat trick and cut the home side's lead to one, 13-12, taking a Cody Isdaner (Gladwyne, Pa.) pass with 19 ticks left on the clock and depositing it behind RMU rookie netminder Matt Bukovac.

Rookie Kevin Massa (Huntington, N.Y.) would come away with the ensuing faceoff with eight seconds left in the game, giving the Bulldogs one last try to force overtime, but Bryant couldn't get a shot off on net before time expired.

"We aren't surprised we were able to cut it to one when we were down by two goals," said head coach Mike Pressler. "We battle back all the time. Our guys are resilient. We fought back, and we had a chance to tie it up, but Robert Morris outplayed us, especially in the second half."

Robert Morris, who outshot the Bulldogs, 46-38, in the contest, jumped out to a fast start to kick off the game, scoring twice in the opening two minutes as part of a five-goal first quarter. And while the visitors cut the deficit to 2-1 with 10:05 to play on a man-up Dunster goal and answered two more Colonial scores with a Harrington tally at 3:17, the hosts would take a 5-2 advantage into the second quarter.

"I was very disappointed with our start today, going down 5-2," said Pressler. "And Robert Morris has a lot to do with that. They are as explosive a team as we have seen all year."

But in the second, the Bulldogs took over, scoring five uninterrupted goals including four in the opening 3:30 to make up the difference and then some, gaining a 7-5 advantage through the eight-minute mark.

Zomerfeld got it all started 31 seconds into the stanza with a goal off a Dan Sipperly (Greenwich, N.Y.) feed, and Max Weisenberg (Long Beach, N.Y.) followed with his first point of the day at the 13:01 mark to draw the Black and Gold within one.

Sophomore defenseman Matt MacGrotty (New Westminster, B.C.) made a great play and brought the ball up field just minutes later, dishing it off to junior attackman Peter McMahon (Wilton, Conn.) with 11:40 showing on the clock to knot the score at 5-5.

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2012-04-28



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