Last weekend, it was time to renew the I-79 rivalry in men’s ice hockey as the Robert Morris University Colonials and the Mercyhurst University Lakers traded tie games in a home-and-home series to wrap up the 2012/2013 Atlantic Hockey Association season. The scoreboard was knotted at 3-3 after overtime on Friday night, while on Saturday night the outcome after overtime was 1-1.
It was Senior Night on Friday night at 84 Lumber Arena at the RMU Island Sports Center. Goaltender Eric Levine, right wing Adam Brace, center Zach Hervato, and defensemen Tyler Hinds and Brendan Jamison were honored before the start of the game. The battle between the pipes numbers were very similar as Mercyhurst’s Jordan Tibbett made 33 saves on 36 shots, while Levine had 36 saves on 39 shots for RMU.
The next night in Erie, PA, the goaltenders blinked even less on Saturday evening.The Lakers’ Max Strang turned away 31-of-32, and Levine rose again to the occasion by stopping 27-of-28.
Robert Morris finished the season in fifth place in the AHA with an overall record of 18-12-4, and an in-conference record of 13-11-3. The Colonials ended the season just two points behind fourth-place Connecticut in the standings. Mercyhurst finished the season in sixth place with an overall record of 14-15-5, and 12-11-4 in-conference.
TOURNAMENT TIME: The final standings in the AHA after last weekend saw Niagara University in first place followed by Air Force, Holy Cross, Connecticut, RMU, Mercyhurst, Canisius, RIT, American International, Bentley, Army, and Sacred Heart.
This means that Niagara, Air Force, Holy Cross, and Connecticut get a bye in the first round of the AHA Tournament. Robert Morris (#5) will host Sacred Heart (#12) in a best two-out-of-three series at 84 Lumber Arena this weekend. All three games will start at 7:05 PM. Army (#11) is at Mercyhurst (#6); Bentley (#10) is at Canisius (#7); and American International (#9) is at RIT (#8). The teams will be re-seeded after the first round when they move on to the quarterfinals over the weekend of March 15-17, which will be another two-out-of-three tournament series.
COLONIALS CLIPBOARD: Robert Morris went 3-0-2 in their last five games of the regular season, and 9-5-2 overall at home this season. They are currently sitting at 21 out of 33 in the USCHO.com’s PairWise rankings.
RMU and Sacred Heart last met on Friday, February 1 and Saturday, February 2 at the RMU Island Sports Center. On that Friday night, Robert Morris doubled up Sacred Heart 6-3, and on Saturday night, the Colonials brought all muskets to bear against the Pioneers 7-4.
Eric Levine became the third goaltender in Robert Morris school history to make it to the 2,000-saves plateau as he reached that milestone during the game against Canisius on February 23, 2013. He trails only Brooks Ostergard (2,776) and Christian Boucher. Boucher holds the career saves record of 3,244 over his four-year career, that started with RMU’s first year of hockey back in 2004.
PIONEER POINTS: Sacred Heart went 2-2-2 in their last six games of the regular season. They finished in last place in the AHA with an overall record of 2-28-4, and an in-conference record of 2-21-4.
Sacred Heart’s starting four centers, senior Eric Delong, junior Chad Filteau, sophomore Ben Lake, and senior Tommy Castonguay, have combined for 20 points in the last six games.
The Pioneers are 12-14 all-time in Atlantic Hockey postseason games. SHU has won at least one postseason game in each of the last six seasons. Of their 26 postseason games, Sacred Heart is 1-1 in overtime.