by Larry Snyder
The inaugural Three Rivers Classic is in the books, as the Robert Morris University Colonials rode the hot goalie glove of senior Eric Levine and his 51 saves to shut out the Miami (Ohio) University RedHawks 1-0 to bring home the trophy on Saturday night.
Earlier in the day, Penn State downed the Ohio State Buckeyes with a 5-4 score to finish in third place for the tournament. Attendance was solid with 11,663 on Friday night and 10,797 on Saturday night at CONSOL Energy Center. College hockey is off to a good start in building a new tournament tradition in Pittsburgh.
The all-tournament team consists of freshman forward Casey Bailey of Penn State, sophomore forward Ryan Dzingel of Ohio State, sophomore forward Cody Wydo of Robert Morris, senior defenseman Stephen Spinell of Miami, freshman defenseman Matthew Caito of Miami and senior goaltender Eric Levine of Robert Morris.
Levine’s 48 saves on Friday night against Penn State plus his 51 saves against Miami also earned him the tournament’s MVP award.
You will be able to watch both the consolation game between Penn State and Ohio State, and the championship game between RMU and Miami on ROOT Sports on January 5 and 11. Penguins television play-by-play announcer Paul Steigerwald and Penguins radio anaylst Phil Bourque will be behind the microphone. Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma dropped the ceremonial puck at the start of the championship game on Saturday.
The 2013 Three Rivers Classic will see Robert Morris, Bowling Green, Penn State, and Boston College take the CONSOL Energy Center ice next December.
COLONIALS CLIPBOARD: Eric Levine’s third shutout of the season gives the netminder four career shutouts, a new RMU record. The Colonial goaltending corps has four shutouts so far this season, which is also a single-season team record.
Senior defenseman Brendan Jamison is the Colonials’ first-ever Pittsburgh-born captain.
Robert Morris hits the road this Friday to take on the Black Knights of Army for a two-game series. The puck will drop at 7:30 p.m., and the game will be nationally televised on the CBS Sports Network.
REDHAWK TALONS: Miami finished 0 for 7 on the power play for the chamipionship game. The RedHawks were able to kill all five of RMU’s power plays, including the Colonials’ two 5-on-3 advantages. Miami has now killed 18 straight penalties dating back to Dec. 8.
The RedHawks are off this coming weekend, and then will hit the road to resume Central Collegiate Hockey Association action against Northern Michigan on Jan. 11-12. The puck will drop at 7:35 p.m. on both nights in Marquette.
BUCKEYE BULLETINS: Ryan Dzingel’s hat trick against Penn State was the first one for the Buckeyes since Jan. 28, 2012 when then freshman forward Max McCormick scored three times against Lake Superior State.
The Buckeyes are also off this coming weekend, and then they will gas up the team bus to hit the road in CCHA action against Ferris State on Jan. 11-12. The opening faceoff is set for 7:05 p.m. on both nights in Big Rapids, Mich.
NITTANY LIONS NOTES: Casey Bailey got on the scoresheet for a career-high four points, two goals and two assists, to lead Penn State to their 5-4 victory against Ohio State. Sophomore forward Max Gardiner matched a career high with three assists in the consolation game.
Penn State will return to action on the road this coming weekend when they head to Connecticut to take on the Huskies. The puck will drop at 7:05 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
(Editor’s note: Thanks again to Larry for his coverage of what we hope will become a Pittsburgh tradition. We look forward to more of his writing on City of Champions. – Matt Gajtka)