|RMU Sets Program Record for Wins in Playoff Opener|
Pittsburgh, Pa. – The Robert Morris University men’s hockey team opened the first round of the Atlantic Hockey Association playoffs with a 4-1 win over the Sacred Heart Pioneers on Friday night. The victory improved the Colonials to 19-12-4 on the season which represents the most wins by a Colonial team in any season. Behind three first period goals, the Colonials jumped out to an early lead and cruised to the victory which allows them to potentially close out the first round series with a win tomorrow night.
The first period was all Colonials as they dictated the tempo from the start. They opened the scoring less than two minutes into the game when sophomore forward Jeff Jones (Revelstoke, British Columbia / Merritt Centennials) buried a one-time shot past the Pioneers’ goaltender. The play was set up by linemates Zach Hervato (Stittsville, Ontario / Smiths Falls Bears) who slid a pass across the crease to Jones and Colin South (Sewickley, Pa. / Bay State Breakers) who played the puck to Hervato.
The Colonials increased their lead four minutes later when junior forward Mac Roy (Chilliwack, British Columbia / University of Alabama-Huntsville) poked home a rebound while diving through the air. The play was initiated by junior defenseman Evan Renwick (Calgary, Alberta / Canmore Eagles) who had his initial shot blocked by a defender. Freshman forward Zac Lynch (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Bay State Breakers) would find the loose puck and fire a backhand shot which fell to the ice in front of Roy after the initial save was made.
The Colonials would add before the end of the first period when forward Greg Gibson (Burlington, Ontario / Amarillo Bulls) backhanded a shot into the vacated net. The play was set up when junior defenseman Andrew Blazek (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Topeka Roadrunners) took a shot from the point that ricocheted off the end boards and caromed back towards the far post where Gibson was waiting. Robert Morris would take the 3-0 lead in to the locker room after 20 minutes of play having outshot the Pioneers by an 18-7 margin and holding Sacred Heart to only 17 shot attempts in the period.
After a scoreless second period, Sacred Heart would end the shutout bid by goaltender Eric Levine (Wheeling, Ill. / Pembroke Lumber Kings) with only six minutes remaining in the game. After a missed check by a RMU defender at the blue line, the Pioneer forward walked in to the slot and beat Levine with a wrist shot to make the score 3-1.
As time wound down and the Pioneers pulled their goaltender, forward Adam Brace (Cobden, Ontario / Canisius College) would register an empty-net goal with 44 seconds remaining. Linemates Scott Jacklin (Kimberley, British Columbia / Trail Smoke Eaters) and Cody Wydo (Southgate, Mich. / Motor City Metal Jackets) would both be credited with assists on Brace’s 46th career goal.
The Colonials strong defensive effort was led by senior captain Brendan Jamison (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Jersey Hitmen) who registered six blocked shots in the contest. The Colonials shut down the Pioneers on the power play, killing all five of their attempts while only allowing four shots on goal during that time. Levine was the strong in his first career playoff victory as the senior brought his win total to 18 games on the season.
Robert Morris will look to close out the first round series tomorrow when they take the ice for game two of the series against the Pioneers. Game time is scheduled for 7:05 at the 84 Lumber Arena and tickets are still available through the Robert Morris Ticketing Office by calling (412) 397-4949 or visiting www.rmucolonials.com.