RMU: Atlantic Hockey’s Dark Horse

The Robert Morris Colonials men’s hockey team has had quite the season, beating some high ranking opponents and tying the program record for wins.  Now with the Atlantic Hockey playoffs set to begin, can this translate to post season success for the team?

With a record of 18-12-4, and 13-11-3 record in conference play, RMU sits outside the top 20 in the rankings, but did receive a top 20 vote in the most recent USCHO.com poll.  The Colonials finished fifth in the conference and face off with last place Sacred Heart University to open the Atlantic Hockey post season.

RMU has knocked off some of the high ranking teams to get their 18 wins, including number one Quinnipiac, number three Miami (Ohio), and Atlantic Hockey’s number one seed Niagara University.  The highlight of the Colonials season came December 28th, when they defeated the Miami Redhawks to claim the inaugural Three Rivers Classic Trophy at the Consol Energy Center, home of the Pittsburgh Penguins and the 2013 NCAA Frozen Four.  In the two day event, they knocked off Penn State University, 6-0 to advance to the title game, and then defeated Miami, 1-0 the following day.

Senior net minder Eric Levine shined in that tournament, and throughout the season.  Between the two contest, Levine made 98 saves without surrendering a single goal.  On the season, the Wheeling, Illinois native has a 17-10-4 record with four shutouts, a 2.59 goals against average, and a .930 saves percentage.  He gives the Colonials a chance to win every night, and as he showed in the Three Rivers Classic, he can shut down anyone and steal a game with the pressure on.

Offensively RMU is lead by Senior forward Adam Brace.  Brace has 13 goals and 22 assists for 35 points in 34 games.  Just behind him is Sophomore Cody Wydo, who has 17 goals and 11 assists for 28 points also in 34 games played.  From the blue line, the Colonials are led by Senior Tyler Hinds, who has a pair of goals and 15 assists for 17 points in 34 games.

The Colonials head to the post season with confidence, as was apparent after sweeping a pair of wins from Canisius in the season’s second to last weekend, when Brace said “I think we’re pretty confident” and Hinds added “we’re a very confident bunch.”  The Colonials followed up the sweep with a pair of ties against Mercyhurst to end the regular season.

Head Coach Derek Schooley has a lot of confidence in his team as he said “I love this hockey team, it’s the best team we’ve had chemistry wise” also adding “we’ve got a team that’s got the ability to do very good things, we’ve got all the peices, it’s just a matter of if they all show up and they all perform.”

Robert Morris opens their post season match up with Sacred Heart Friday night on home ice at the RMU Sports Island in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, also playing game two at home Saturday night, and again at home on Sunday night for game three if needed.

How far can the Colonaials go?  Only time will tell, but one thing is for certain, opponents should not take them lightly.

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