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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Zac Lynch scored 12:44 into overtime to lift the top-seeded Robert Morris Colonials to a 2-1 victory over Army West Point in the first semifinal of the Atlantic Hockey tournament on Friday.
It was Lynch’s 25th goal of the season. He took a feed intended for linemate Greg Gibson that bounced to him in the slot, and put a wrist shot off the arm of Black Knights goaltender Parker Gahagen.
Atlantic Hockey playoffs
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“[David] Friedmann was looking for Gibson but it wound up on my stick,” Lynch said in describing the game-winner. “I just tried to make a good shot.”
Army had carried play in the overtime, unable to convert on several chances before Lynch ended it.
“We didn’t want to settle in and get comfortable [in overtime],” said Army West Point coach Brian Riley, whose team played in its 15th overtime contest of the season. “It started in the locker room. When we came out, we were going to have some jump.”
Regulation was a tightly played affair, with Army West Point scoring a power-play goal in the first period, and Robert Morris tying things up with the man advantage in the second.
The Black Knights opened scoring when Clint Carlisle converted a feed from C.J. Reuschlein, beating RMU goaltender Terry Shafer stick side with 1:21 left in the first.
The Colonials got their first power play chance midway through the second and capitalized when defenseman Eric Israel’s shot from the half wall snuck past Gahagen at 13:24.
Army West Point was able to bottle up Robert Morris’ high-power offense for long stretches, outshooting the Colonials 32-31 through regulation.
“I felt good how we were playing,” said Riley. “It was our type of game.”
“That’s not a sixth-place team,” Schooley said of Army’s effort. “They were a tough out.”
Shafer made 39 saves for his 19th win of the season. The Rochester native said he had over 25 family and friends in attendance.
“I would be excited to play this game in the middle of nowhere,” said Shafer. “But in my hometown, and the chance to play for a championship here, it’s pretty special. My family and friends have traveled all over to watch the Colonials play, so it was nice to be home.”
The Colonials advanced to the title game for the second time in three seasons. Last year, Robert Morris was also the No. 1 seed, but lost in overtime to Mercyhurst.
“Last year we didn’t capitalize on our chances in overtime,” said Schooley. “This time we did.”