Senior night at 84 Lumber Arena nearly slipped away Friday night for Robert Morris.
But a third-period goal by Colin South salvaged a 3-3 tie with Mercyhurst, and the Colonials live to take one more crack at a first-round bye in the Atlantic Hockey Association postseason.
The two teams close the regular season tonight in Erie.
Robert Morris (18-12-3) has clinched anywhere from fourth to sixth place and will get home ice.
But a win, coupled with a loss or tie by Connecticut (which tied Sacred Heart Friday) also would mean a first-round bye.
"We just have to focus on our own jobs. We get wins, we force other teams to get wins," Colonials coach Derek Schooley said. "You can't worry about it. Every team wishes they had points back from Christmastime or a game here and there. It's unfortunate but now we need to go out and win another hockey game and let the chips fall where they fall."
Robert Morris trailed, 3-2, to start the third period after taking a 2-0 lead.
South started the comeback when he trailed the rush and finished a rebound at 6:23 of the third.
Zach Hervato nearly converted with a blazing shot a two-on-one rush with 30 seconds to play, but Mercyhurst goalie Jordan Tibbett turned away the shot with his blocker.
"I was thinking game over. Absolutely," South said. "But it wasn't to be. ... It's definitely not a good feeling not being in control. It seems like it's like this every year in this league, but I think we're used to it by now."
The Colonials were on the power play for the final 30 seconds of overtime, but didn't get a shot off.
The Colonials got off to a 2-0 start with goals by Scott Jacklin and Adam Brace in the first period.
Jacklin one-timed a rebound in at 5:31 on the power play and Brace finished a two-on-one rush with a shot at 10:29.
The Lakers made it 2-1 before the period was over when Daniel Bahntge one-timed a shot past goalie Eric Levine at 15:21 and Mercyhurst controlled the second period with two more goals.
The equalizer came just 32 seconds into the period when Grant Blakey buried a puck just inside the right circle that the Colonials failed to get out of the defensive zone.
Ryan Misiak made it 3-2 at 7:43.
Defenseman Andrew Blazek swept a puck from crossing into the goal behind Levine with about six minutes to play to preserve the tie.
"We had a little bit of a lull in the second period," Schooley said. "But our third period was very good."
Robert Morris finished with 36 shots, and Mercyhurst had 39.
NOTE -- Friday was senior night for five players: Brendan Jamison, Tyler Hinds, Brace, Levine and Hervato. ... Senior assistant captain Cobina Delaney scored at the 108th minute to lead the Robert Morris women's team to a 2-1 triple overtime victory against Lindenwood in the first round of the College Hockey America tournament earlier Friday at the RMU Island Sports Center. Game 2 is at 2:05 p.m. today at the Island Sports Center.mobilehome - rmusports - frozenfour
Jenn Menendez: email@example.com and Twitter: @JennMenendez.