Robert Morris (17-15-5 overall, 13-9-5 Atlantic Hockey) takes on a familiar foe in this weekend’s AHA quarterfinal series as the Colonials travel to Niagara for a best-of-three series against the Purple Eagles. After advancing past American International in last weekend’s opening round series -- the first-ever playoff series in RMU history -- the Colonials take on the Purple Eagles in a continuation of RMU’s most prolific rivalry. The Robert Morris/Niagara rivalry has spanned 41 games, eight years and two conferences.
-Robert Morris picked up its first AHA playoff win and its first home playoff win last weekend against AIC.
-Robert Morris is 5-8-1 all-time in playoff contests and 2-2-0 in Atlantic Hockey playoff games.
-Robert Morris boasts the nation’s top penalty kill at .895.
-The Colonials need one win to match last year’s 18 victories -- the most in program history.
-The Class of 2012 is the all-time winningest class in RMU history..
-RMU is 10-22-9 all-time against Niagara (1-3-0 in playoffs).
-Adam Brace recorded RMU’s first hat trick since 2009 last weekend.
-Trevor Lewis was named the AHA Player of the Week after notching eight points last weekend.
-Cody Wydo tied the Colonial freshman record with his 13th goal of the season last weekend.
This weekend’s games, along with every Atlantic Hockey Association contest this season, can be viewed live at Americaone.com. Live stats can be found online at RMUColonials.com prior to each game.
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New Playoff Format:
The top four teams in the AHA will get a bye in the first round of the playoffs while seeds five through eight will host seeds nine through 12. In the second round, the top four seeds will host the four remaining teams. Both playoff series will be a best two out of three. The four winners of the quarterfinal series will meet in Rochester, N.Y., for the final four.
RMU in the Playoffs:
Robert Morris is 5-8-1 all-time in playoff action and 2-2-0 in Atlantic Hockey postseason games. Last weekend’s series win over AIC marked RMU’s first-ever home playoff win, the program’s first AHA playoff win and the team’s first playoff series ever. Friday’s win over the Yellow Jackets also snapped a four-game playoff winless drought for RMU dating back to March 13, 2009 -- a 2-1 CHA semifinal win over Niagara.
Senior Record Watch:
The RMU senior class of Brandon Blandina, Tom Brooks, Nick Chiavetta, Ron Cramer, Cody Crichton, Josh Ones, Trevor Lewis, James Lyle, Brooks Ostergard and Furman South picked up its 54th and 55th career wins over the weekend-- setting a new program record for wins by a class.
One of the Best in Net:
Senior goalie Brooks Ostergard’s .927 save percentage ranks 11th in the nation. The AHA Goalie of the Month for December ranks first at RMU in career GAA (2.75), first in save percentage among four-year starters (.916), second in career wins (39-39-12) and second in saves (2,705).
Robert Morris remains unbeaten in eight overtime games this season (3-0-5) after last Sunday’s 4-3 overtime win over AIC. RMU’s last three series have featured an overtime contest along with four of the last seven games.
Killer Penalty Kill:
Robert Morris has retained the title of the nation’s best penalty kill. The Colonials have successfully killed off 143-of-165 power plays this year (.895) -- ahead of Quinnipiac (.890) and Michigan State (.885). The Colonials have also tallied four shorthanded goals this season including one from Colin South in the deciding game of last weekend’s playoff series.
Brace Nets Three in the Third:
Junior Adam Brace’s third period hat trick last Friday not only pushed the Colonials to their first-ever AHA playoff win, it also marked the first RMU hat trick since Nov. 13, 2009 (Chris Kushneriuk). Brace leads Robert Morris with 14 goals this season.
Scouting the Purple Eagles:
One of four AHA teams to earn a first-round bye last weekend, Niagara enters the weekend on a five-game unbeaten streak. Goalie Chris Noonan ranks first nationally in save percentage (.941) and fourth in GAA (1.70). Patrick Divjak leads Niagara with 23 points. The Purple Eagles own the AHA’s top power play at 21.4 percent this season.
Robert Morris is 10-22-9 all-time against the Purple Eagles and went 0-2-1 against this weekend’s opponents in the regular season this year. The team’s split a 2-2 overtime tie in the first half before Niagara picked up a pair of 2-1 wins in a home-and-home series. Robert Morris is 1-3-0 in playoff action against Niagara with RMU winning the last postseason meeting in 2008-09 (CHA semifinals).
Shots and Goals:
Robert Morris set a new program record on Sunday with 58 shots on goal -- doubling AIC up in Game Three. RMU is very successful when putting pucks on net -- the Colonials are 12-1-0 when scoring four or more goals and 6-1-1 when tallying 40 or more shots. Saturday’s loss to AIC is the lone exception in both cases.
Wydo Ties Rookie Mark:
Freshman Cody Wydo snapped a 13-game goal drought on Saturday for his 13th goal of the year. The score tied Chris Margott’s RMU rookie record for goals, set in 2005.
Eight points last weekend earned senior Trevor Lewis the AHA Travel Team USA Player of the Week award as the captain continues to climb the RMU record books. Lewis ranks fifth in career points (83), fifth in career goals (30), fourth in career assists (53) and first in games played (141). The senior captain has currently played in 121-straight games for the Colonials – another program record -- and is tied for the team lead with 29 points this season.
Cramer Makes His Mark:
Senior Ron Cramer has made huge plays in each of the last three weekends for Robert Morris -- the forward notched his first goal of the season to force earn a 2-2 overtime tie with RIT three weeks ago, again tallied for the overtime winner two weeks ago against Air Force and set up Brandon Blandina’s overtime game winner in Game Three of last weekend’s playoff series. Cramer now ranks tenth in points (61) and assists (40) in RMU’s career record books.
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