Three things from Atlantic Hockey play this weekend:
A milepost for Robert Morris
When Robert Morris makes the NCAA tournament – it may be this season, it may not, but it will happen someday – the program can look back on this past weekend as a big milestone on its way to the top.
The Colonials won the inaugural Three Rivers Classic tournament in their hometown of Pittsburgh, dominating Penn State 6-0 and then knocking off No. 5 Miami 1-0 in the championship game. Goaltender Eric Levine pitched two shutouts, stopping all 99 shots he faced.
As important as the the success Robert Morris achieved on the ice, the tournament drew over 10,000 fans each game, the second-highest attended college hockey tournament of the weekend, behind only the Great Lakes Invitational . Saturday’s crowd totaled 11,663, easily shattering RMU’s prior record of 6,957 set in the same building on the same date in 2010. Derek Schooley’ program has stepped up in the wake of the NHL lockout and is increasingly its fans base, hopefully many of which will stick around once the Penguins return.
Robert Morris defeated Miami for the third straight time – the Colonials swept the RedHawks when Miami was ranked No. 1 early in 2010. That was a milepost as well for the RMU program, but this one is probably sweeter for Coach Schooley and his squad.
Consistency is key
Teams near the top of the standings find ways to get points every weekend. Army finds itself in a three-way tie for second after earning a hard-fought split at Canisius last weekend. The Black Knights were dominated on Friday, losing 5-1 and getting outshot 51-19 in the process. But Saturday was another story. Army was the aggressor, winning the shots battle 36-25 in a goaltenders duel between the Golden Griffins’ Tony Capobianco and the Black Knights’ Rob Tadazak. Scoreless through regulation, Army’s Joe Kozlak got the game winner 2:09 into overtime.
No. 17 Niagara stumbled in its only game of the week, losing 3-0 at Bowling Green. It was a one-goal game until the Falcons scored twice about a minute apart late in the third period to seal the win.
Will that be enough to drop the Purple Eagles out of the Poll? Will Robert Morris, which has been getting votes for the past few weeks, be ranked based on its Three Rivers Classic win, which included a win over No. 5 Miami? What about Holy Cross, which also has been receiving votes and coming off a good win against No. 5 Yale? The Crusaders are now 10-4-2, one of only 16 Division I teams with double digit wins.