RMU Men’s Hockey Looking To Build On Last Year’s Success


The 10th season of Robert Morris men’s hockey came to a close in March with a 7-3 loss to No. 1 seed Minnesota in the NCAA West Regional.

It was a season for the ages as neither the Colonials’ coaches nor players gave up, and were able to move past a 2-12-2 start to finish 17-6-3, capturing their first American Hockey Association championship.

Now, Derek Schooley’s crew enter their second decade on Saturday with a 7:05 p.m. exhibition contest on Neville Island against the Ryerson University Rams from Toronto.

Coming into this week, the AHA Preseason Coaches’ Poll ranked Robert Morris to finish second in conference play to last year’s regular season champion, Mercyhurst. The Lakers received six first-place votes to the Colonials’ three. RMU also ranked an unofficial 26th in both in the United States College Hockey Online (USCHO.com) and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine preseason polls.

Robert Morris hosted their media day at their Island Sports Center on Thursday. There the Colonials let us know there are seven incoming freshmen this season on a squad that returns two goaltenders, four of its top six defensemen and eight of its top nine scorers from the 2013-2014 campaign.

It is well documented that the Colonials know how to find the back of the net against the opposition. Cody Wydo skates into his senior season as RMU’s all-time leading scorer in goals with 65. This year’s captain has 107 career points, ranking him fourth in program history as he set a team record last season with 31 goals.

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Adding to the high-octane attack were junior forward Zac Lynch, who was second with 19 goals – including four while shorthanded. Senior forward Scott Jacklin contributed 15 goals while junior forwards Greg Gibson put up 15 and Brandon Denham added 11 goals on the score sheet.

Another RMU strength is their goaltending tandem of junior Terry Shafer and sophomore Dalton Izyk. Shafer finished last season with 971 saves, a record of 15-15-5 and two shutouts while Izyk put up a 6-2 mark in the playoffs and stopped 162 of 172 shots in the AHA tournament.

During his Media Day talk, coach Schooley emphasized the need for the team to be better in controlling the puck in their own end. This is where one of the two freshmen defensemen may make one of the lines this season.

The freshmen in question are Alex Bontje and Elias Ghantous, who could be paired up with one of the five returning defensemen. Redshirt junior Tyson Wilson, juniors Chase Golightly and Evan Moore, and sophomores Rob Mann and John Rey are the veterans providing the depth on the blue line.

These players are handling Schooley’s system in practice with speed, energy and grit. It is about being consistent from the beginning of the season all the way to the end.

The Colonials open the regular season on Friday, Oct. 10 and Saturday, Oct. 11 at home when they host the Lake Superior State University Lakers at 84 Lumber Arena. The puck will drop at 7:05 p.m. on both nights.