Colin South scored a power-play goal at 1:53 of overtime to lead Robert Morris to a 6-5 win against first-place Niagara University Saturday night, netting a signature win for the program that did not come easy.
South, in the right circle, took a cross-ice feed from Jimmy Geerin at the point, and ripped a slap shot into the net as his team stormed onto the ice in celebration.
The loss kept Niagara (19-6-5, 18-3-2) from clinching the Atlantic Hockey Association regular-season championship. The Colonials, searching for home ice in the playoffs, raised their record to 16-12-2, 11-11-1 in the conference.
"We got what we deserved [Saturday night]. We've been playing extremely hard, doing things the right way and we have not been getting what we deserved," coach Derek Schooley said.
"It was emotional, up and down, swings both ways, and we stuck with the process. We got what we deserved."
South, who grew up in Sewickley, said he could not remember scoring a bigger goal.
"Maybe in high school hockey, but, no, I would say that's definitely the biggest goal of my career," said South, who also scored in the first period.
"Historically, it's a team we haven't fared too well against. They're the top dog in our league ... they had a chance to clinch the regular season on our ice and we didn't want that to happen."
It was nearly a heartbreaker for the Colonials, who led, 5-4, late in the third period after twice overcoming a deficit.
The nearly backbreaking goal came when Niagara's Ryan Murphy scored on the power play with 1:04 left to tie the score, 5-5, while Schooley shouted in rage from behind the bench.
The puck appeared covered in a scrum of bodies in the crease, but he said it also appeared Murphy kicked in the puck.
"I thought it was kicked in, that was what I was yelling [to the officials] about. Hey, they didn't think it was, and they're the ones who are in charge of the game," Schooley said.
His team, which has played Niagara 47 times -- more than any other team -- was fired up to prod his team after the dramatic and controversial goal.
Then, at 1:15 of overtime, Niagara's Matt Dineen was whistled for cross-checking, and that set up South's winning goal.
The Colonials bounced back after trailing, 2-1, at the end of the first period to take a 3-2 lead into the third, then fell behind again at 4-3.
Niagara's Dan Weiss found the top corner of the goal on a power play to open the third period and tie the score, 3-3, at 1:16.
Then, Isaac Kohls put the Purple Eagles ahead with a 5-on-3 power-play goal at 7:48.
Cory Wydo wristed one top shelf to tie the score,4-4, at 8:46 and build some momentum for the Colonials.
Less than two minutes later, teammate Matt Cope scored on a rebound from the slot to make it 5-4.
"That was the most fun game I've played in my whole life," Cope said.