The first annual Three Rivers Classic will start on December 28th and run through December 29th. The tournament will feature four Division I college programs, each playing two games at Consol Energy Center, home of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The four programs are Penn State, Robert Morris University, Ohio State, and University Miami of Ohio. We will preview each team throughout the week starting with Robert Morris.
The Colonials enter the Three Rivers Classic on a five game unbeaten streak, the fifth longest in the country. They are 3-0-2 in their last five games with wins at Holy Cross, Ohio State, and Penn State. RMU will face Penn State in the first game of the tournament and although Penn State is in their first year as a varsity Division I sport, the Colonials know the Nittany Lions will be a tough matchup based on their meeting on December 15th.
"'It was an intense, physical, aggressive hockey game that leads well into the first game of the Three Rivers Classic,' Schooley assessed of the 3-2 win at PSU. 'It was a good start to our rivalry as Division I hockey programs.'" (-RMUcolonials.com)
Physical is just the way head coach Derek Schooley likes his hockey team to play. While not a notably big squad, the Colonials will hit and scrap with anybody as evidenced by their nine penalties against PSU.
RMU overcame a 2-1 deficit midway through the game to win 3-2. On paper, the Colonials are a better team, but with a two week layoff the question is, will they maintain their edge and extend their streak to six games?
If they do, it will certainly be with forwards Zach Hervato and Adam Brace leading the charge. Both players lead the team in scoring with twelve points and a combined +14 rating. Meanwhile, goaltender Eric Levine has had a solid season thus far, registering a .941 save percentage and 2.19 goals allowed. He is 4-0-2 in his last six starts.
Despite being 6-4-2 on the season, the Colonials are 1-2-1 at home and considered the hometown team in relation to the three other programs. The winner of the RMU-PSU matchup will face the winner of the Ohio State-Miami of Ohio contest.