The Robert Morris Colonials rolled past Sacred Heart in a two game sweep to open the Atlantic Hockey Association playoffs. The victories put RMU to 20 wins on the season, and advances them to round two, where they will face the University of Connecticut.
Friday night the AHA playoffs kicked off, and the Colonials were more than ready. RMU tallied three goals in the first period from sophomore Jeff Jones, junior Mac Roy, and freshman Greg Gibson. Senior net minder Eric Levine stopped 26 of 27 shots and senior Adam Brace added an empty netter to give the Colonials a 4-1 win, their new program record 19th victory of the season.
Saturday night, Sacred Heart came out strong in the first, dominating the opening 10 minutes. Despite SHU controlling the play to open the game, RMU opened the scoring. Junior Colin South put the Colonials on the board first, before Sacred Heart evened the score late in the frame.
The second and third periods belonged to RMU. Senior Tyler Hinds gave RMU the lead back, sophomore Cody Wydo increased it, and freshman Matt Cope put RMU solidly in control with a 4-1 lead after two periods. Wydo netted his second of game in third, and Gibson also tallied in the final frame, giving RMU their 20th win and the sweep of SHU.
Head Coach Derek Schooley said “we controlled everything we needed to be successful. It’s a pretty good start to our playoffs.”
Sacred Heart was the lowest seed in the tournament, but the Colonials routing of them was impressive none the less. Brace was named AHA Co-Player of the Week as he compiled five points in the sweep. He recorded four assists on Saturday, a program best for the senior.
Wydo said “we wanted to make sure everyone was ready and focused this weekend.” One person who was on focused and on top of their game was Levine. Coming in, everyone knew the senior could be a difference maker for RMU, and he was solid in the sweep, stopping 48 of 50 shots he faced. Schooley commented on his play, saying “Eric was very good.”
The Colonials head to Connecticut to face the UConn. Huskies this weekend. RMU spit a pair of games with UConn. in the regular season, with a 3-2 loss and 4-3 win, both coming on home ice back in January.
The series kicks off on Friday night, with game two Saturday night, and game three Sunday night if needed, all played in Connecticut.
The Huskies, the number four seed with a 17-13-4 record, come in riding a six game unbeaten streak, while the Colonials come in unbeaten in their last seven contests. RMU carries some confidence to Connecticut with them, but not to much confidence as Wydo pointed out. “We’re pretty confident right now, we don’t want to be too confident, if we get over confident bad things can happen.”
Schooley shared his thoughts headed into the series with the Huskies.
“These are two teams that are hot at the right time, I think it’s just going to be a battle,” he said. “We haven’t accomplished anything, what we have is in front of us.”