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 2011-12 season, Prisuta will serve up weekly stories surrounding Colonial hockey as well as the latest notes and news around college hockey.
Prisuta on Pucks: Senior in the Spotlight
Senior Weekend has a bit of a different feel at Robert
Morris this season in terms of size and scope.
The 10 players the Colonials will officially recognize on
Saturday night - Brandon Blandina, Tom Brooks, Nick Chiavetta, Ron Cramer, Cody
Crichton, Josh Jones, Trevor Lewis, James Lyle, Brooks Ostergard and Furman
South - are on the verge of making the celebration historic.
With two more victories RMU’s 2011-12 senior class will set
a program record for the most wins in a four-year period (54, one better than
the 53 registered from 2007-08 through 2010-11).
Those two victories could come this weekend against Air
Force (7:05 p.m. on Friday
and Saturday at the Island
or, failing that, in the Atlantic Hockey Association postseason tournament.
Either way, head coach Derek Schooley is convinced this
year’s seniors have already left their mark.
“It’s such a quality group of young men that has really
matured,” Schooley said. “Whenever they’re done we’ll be very proud to call
them Colonials Hockey alumni.”
The group’s run at RMU has already included:
-Coming within one goal of an NCAA Tournament bid before losing
in overtime at Bemidji
State in the College
Hockey America Championship Game as freshmen in 2008-09.
-Beating then-No. 1 Miami,
Ohio in consecutive games as
sophomores in 2009-10.
-Compiling the best record and the first winning record in
program history (18-12-15)
as juniors in 2010-11.
There remains much to play for in 2011-12 for a Robert
Morris team that is playing perhaps its best hockey of the season.
The Colonials managed just a pair of 2-2 ties at RIT last weekend, but it was how those ties were
achieved and the circumstances in which they were achieved that had Schooley
Both games were on the road.
Both were against an RIT
team that came in second in the AHA, one had been to the Frozen Four as
recently as 2009-10 and one that had a record of 32-2-7 in its last 41
conference games at home.
And both games demanded from the Colonials all they had to
“We left everything we had on the ice on Friday and then we
came back and left everything we had on the ice again on Saturday,” Schooley
said. “We blocked shots. We finished checks. And at the end of both games our
guys were spent.
“I was really proud of our effort. Those were really good
hockey games. Both teams played hard and played physical, and both goalies
played well. It was playoff (-style) hockey in a hostile environment and we
handled it well.
“Those were two very good ties.”
The two points earned left the Colonials at 14-13-5 overall
and 12-8-5, good
for 29 points and seventh place in AHA play.
Air Force, 16-8-7
overall, leads the conference at 14-5-6 for 34 points, followed by RIT
Bentley, Mercyhurst and Niagara
are tied for third with 32 points and Holy Cross occupies sixth place with 31
The top four finishers earn a first-round bye in the AHA
The Colonials might yet secure one of those top four spots,
but Schooley is more intent on recapturing the intensity and execution Robert
Morris put on display at RIT and
letting the playoff chips fall.
“It’s the time of year where you have to pick up your game
and be playing your best hockey come playoff time,” Schooley said. “We did that
against RIT. We did that against
Mercyhurst (in a 3-1, 4-2 split) the previous weekend.
“I really feel if we continue to play the way we’ve been
playing we’ll be playing for a lot longer here.”
There would be no better way to honor this season’s senior
“These are 10 kids who have put their heart and soul into
this hockey team over the last four years,” Schooley said. “This is a great
group of guys.
“They’re a quality bunch of people and they’ve experienced
some big wins and big events in Colonials Hockey history.”
And they’re not done yet.
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