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Canisius, Niagara lose, will meet in playoffs

Atlantic Hockey regular season champion Robert Morris broke away from a second-period tie, scored the last four goals of the game and defeated Canisius, 6-2, Saturday night at 84 Lumber Arena in Pittsburgh.

David Friedmann’s second power-play goal of the game snapped a 2-2 tie at 13:25 of the second to put the Colonials in front.

Brandon Denham made it 4-2 in the third and Greg Gibson added two more tallies, including an empty-netter for the final accounting. Gibson had three goals for RMU, giving him 28 for the season.

Gibson tallied at 17:50 of the first to give Robert Morris the first lead but Ralph Cuddemi of the Griffs scored on the power play to even things at with 39 seconds left in the first. Ryan Schmelzer and Jimmy Mazza assisted on the Cuddemi goal.

After RMU took a 2-1 lead on the first Friedmann goal, Canisius tied it again at 8:16 when Cameron Heath tallied with assists by Josh Supryka and Cuddemi.

“The score isn’t indicative of the chances,” said Canisius coach Dave Smith. “Robert Morris capitalized on its opportunities better than we did ours.”

Canisius finished the regular season at 10-19-5. They are 10-13-5 in Atlantic Hockey, finishing in seventh place. The Griffs will face Niagara in a best-of-three series at HarborCenter with games at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and, if necessary, at 5:05 p.m. on Sunday.

At Dwyer Arena in Lewiston, Air Force shut out Niagara, 3-0, despite getting only 18 shots on goal and swept the two-game Atlantic Hockey series from the Purple Eagles.

Evan Feno scored in the first period for the Falcons and Matt Sterratore and Tyler Ledford had second period tallies against Niagara goaltender Jacob Teichroeb.

Niagara failed to score on its four power-play opportunities. Shane Starrett made 28 saves for the Air Force shutout.

Niagara finished its regular season at 5-23-6, 5-18-5 in Atlantic Hockey.