RMU Hockey to Host Longtime Conference Rival Niagara in Postseason Series


The top-seeded RMU hockey team celebrates a goal earlier this season. The Colonials will host Niagara as they attempt to defend their AHC playoff title. (Photo: Steve Copeland/RMU Athletics)

NEVILLE ISLAND, Pa. – The Robert Morris University men’s hockey team will host longtime conference foe Niagara in a best-of-three Atlantic Hockey Conference quarterfinal series this weekend at 84 Lumber Arena.

After earning its first regular-season conference title in 11 seasons of Division I hockey, RMU (22-7-5, 19-5-4 AHC) enjoyed a first-round playoff bye last week. Niagara, which finished last in the 11-team AHC, upset sixth-seeded Holy Cross over the weekend to advance to the quarterfinal round.

Games 1 and 2 are set for Friday and Saturday on Neville Island, with a potential Game 3 scheduled for Sunday if needed. Opening faceoff is slated for 7:05 p.m. for all games this weekend.

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This will be the seventh time that RMU and Niagara meet in the postseason. The two programs collided four times in the College Hockey America playoffs from 2005-09 before both made the move to Atlantic Hockey prior to the 2010-11 season.

Niagara swept a quarterfinal series from RMU on its home ice in 2012, but the Colonials gained a measure of revenge last March, topping the Purple Eagles 5-4 in a winner-take-all AHC semifinal game in Rochester, N.Y. Senior center Scott Jacklin netted the overtime game-winner that night, boosting RMU to the championship game, which it won over Canisius to clinch its first NCAA tournament berth.

Overall, Niagara holds a 29-17-10 advantage in the all-time series, including a 5-2 edge in postseason competition. However, this is the first playoff meeting between the programs at 84 Lumber Arena, where RMU holds a 6-3 record in postseason play. The Colonials topped Army two games to one in an AHC first-round series last year on their way to their first postseason league title.

In other news, the Colonials were ranked 20th in the latest United States College Hockey Online (USCHO) poll released Monday. This is the seventh consecutive week that RMU has been nationally ranked, coming in at No. 20 in the past three polls. Robert Morris has at least received votes in all 21 USCHO surveys this season; the Colonials have been ranked in 17 of those.

Robert Morris finished the regular season on a 9-2-1 run, a surge that included a program-record-tying nine-game unbeaten streak (8-0-1). RMU wrapped up the regular slate with a home-and-home series against Niagara; the home team won each game of that set, including the Colonials’ 2-1 senior-night victory Feb. 28.

For the full AHC tournament bracket, check out USCHO’s Atlantic Hockey playoff central page.

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