Veteran sportswriter, member of the WDVE Morning Show and hockey aficionado Mike Prisuta has been covering the Pittsburgh sports scene for over 20 years. He has covered Pittsburgh sports as a reporter for the Beaver County Timesand as a columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and has had his pulse on the happenings of each of the professional organizations and college programs in the area. A graduate of Michigan State University, Prisuta got his start in the profession covering the Spartan hockey program and possesses knowledge of the college hockey world unmatched in the region.
Throughout the 2012-13 season, Prisuta will serve up weekly stories surrounding Colonial hockey as well as the latest notes and news around college hockey.
Prisuta on Pucks: Going Streaking
The five-game unbeaten streak they've crafted ties North Dakota for the fifth-longest in the nation, and trails Notre Dame and Wisconsin by just one game for the fourth-longest current such run.
In keeping that type of company the Robert Morris Colonials clearly must be doing something right.
"It's a pretty impressive streak," head coach Derek Schooley allowed. "Going into Holy Cross, a tough place to play against a good hockey team, and then a home-and-home against Ohio State, and then at Penn State, which is pretty impressive as a first-year hockey program, that's a credit to our guys."
The Colonials got a win and a tie at Holy Cross (9-4-2overall) on Nov. 30-Dec. 1.
They also got a win and a tie in the home-and-home dates with Ohio State (7-6-5 overall) on Dec. 7-8.
Most recently RMU won, 3-2, last Saturday at Penn State (7-8-0 in its first season at the NCAA Division I level against non-club team competition).
That's a 3-0-2 mark against three teams with a combined record of 23-18-7, with four of the five games staged on the road.
Voters in the uscho.com Top 20 have apparently noticed. Robert Morris received 15 votes in the "others receiving votes" category of the Dec. 17 poll (the Colonials were third in that group, just behind Holy Cross and just ahead of Ohio State).
Next up for RMU is a neutral-site rematch with Penn State on Dec. 28 at the CONSOL Energy Center, the home of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins, in the inaugural Three Rivers Classic.
If the second RMU-Penn State confrontation is anything like the first, the tournament is going to get off to a combative start.
"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."
The Colonials had to battle back from a 2-1 second-period deficit.
The eventual game-winning goal was scored at 11:49 of the third period by defenseman Tyler Hinds, the first of the season for the season for the senior and full-time RMU alternate captain.
"He's been a warrior the last three games against Ohio State and Penn State," Schooley said. "He's won every one of his battles, he's competed, he's jumped up into the offense and he's been tremendous blocking shots."
"Tyler Hinds has taken his game to another level. I can't say enough about how well he's been playing."
While Hinds excelled individually, the rest of the Colonials struggled to get to their game and never really found it for extended stretches.
"We didn't play as well as we would have liked," Schooley said. "I thought Penn State took it to us at times. I thought we were on our heels for most of the game."
"But that being said, good teams find a way to get wins when they aren't playing their best hockey. I think that was a characteristic we saw (last) Saturday night."
The two teams are scheduled to meet twice again next season, once at the Island Sports Center and one at next year's Three Rivers Classic.
"Hopefully, we can continue playing games down the road," Schooley said. "I think those games would be very good for the growth of college hockey in Pennsylvania and the exposure of college hockey in Pennsylvania."
"I'm willing to do it. We'll wait to see if Penn State is committed to playing."
Another significant aspect of the Colonials' five-game unbeaten run is they've taken advantage of the chance to get some different faces into the lineup over the past three games against non-Atlantic Hockey Association foes.
"We've used everybody that has been healthy outside of our goaltenders," Schooley said. "We got (sophomore forward) David Rigatti back into the lineup. We got (freshman defenseman) Chase Golightly back into the lineup (Golightly also scored a goal at Penn State, his second of the season). We got (junior defenseman) Jimmy Geerin back in the lineup."
"We've tried to play as many players as we can because we're going to need everybody down the stretch."