RMU Hockey Reaches All-Time High In Prominent National Poll


RMU center Scott Jacklin passes to winger Cody Wydo in a recent game at Army. The Colonials are off to their best start ever at 7-0-1. (Credit: Paul Bereswill/RMU Athletics)

NEVILLE ISLAND, Pa. – Reaching new heights has been a theme for the Robert Morris University men’s hockey team in 2014, a trend that continued Monday when the Colonials earned their highest-ever ranking in a prominent national poll.

After steadily earning more and more votes during October, RMU (7-0-1) leaped into the United States College Hockey Online (USCHO) top 20 this week, earning the No. 18 ranking in the first poll of November. This is the program’s loftiest USCHO position in 11 seasons of Division I hockey.

Dating back to Jan. 4, the Colonials have gone 24-6-4, a run that includes an Atlantic Hockey Conference championship and their first trip to the NCAA Tournament last spring. With head coach Derek Schooley’s team off to its best start ever in 2014-15, it seemed to be a matter of time until RMU grabbed a spot in the top 20.

RMU’s previous high in the USCHO poll was No. 19 in 2012-13, which doubles as the last time the Colonials were ranked. Robert Morris made it to No. 18 in the now-defunct Inside College Hockey poll several times during the 2010-11 season.

The last Atlantic Hockey team to be ranked by USCHO was Niagara two seasons ago, so the Colonials continue to carry the flag for their conference as well as their university. RMU was only one point away from a top 20 ranking last week, but its point total jumped from 79 to 163 this week. Only one other league rival, Mercyhurst, received votes Monday.

Coaches, beat writers and sports professionals from around the country participate each week in the USCHO poll, which is published by the Associated Press. Each of the poll’s 50 voters rank 20 teams on their individual ballots, with the No. 1 team receiving 20 points, the No. 2 team getting 19, and so forth. Minnesota (5-1-0) remains the top team in the country according to USCHO, earning 984 of a possible 1,000 points along with 37 first-place votes.

RMU held steady as the lone Atlantic Hockey school in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine top 15, earning 13 points to remain in the 20th position. In the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), one of the tools used by the NCAA to set its postseason tournament field, the Colonials have risen to a season-high seventh out of 59.

Of the 53 D-I teams who’ve played more than two games, RMU is one of three yet to suffer a loss. Michigan Tech (6-0-0) and Northern Michigan (5-0-1) join the Colonials, who are one game shy of matching the program’s all-time longest unbeaten streak.

RMU improved to 5-0-1 in Atlantic Hockey by sweeping league foe RIT over the weekend at 84 Lumber Arena, part of the Robert Morris University Island Sports Center. The Colonials have this week off before hosting Air Force on Nov. 14-15 as part of their Men’s Cancer Awareness Weekend.