92-year-old Yost Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich., will be the site for RMU hockey’s first-ever meeting with the University of Michigan. (Credit: Archinect.com)
In case you missed it, the Robert Morris University men’s hockey team released its 2015-16 regular-season schedule last week, featuring 14 home games at 84 Lumber Arena, the program’s first visit to the University of Michigan, and two holiday tournaments – including the fourth-annual Three Rivers Classic at CONSOL Energy Center.
More from Robert Morris University
- Big Week for Robert Morris University Colonials Athletics
- Three Rivers Classic: Hometown team RMU prevails, wins championship
- Three Rivers Classic: Robert Morris vs Penn State recap
- Three Rivers Classic preview: Robert Morris vs Penn State showdown
- Rodney Pryor, RMU guard, named Northeast Conference Player of the Week
With just 34 games on the schedule – less than half of what an NHL team plays – every time the Colonials take the ice, it’s important.
However, there are certain matchups on the calendar that catch the eye more than most. Let’s look at a few of those now…
Oct. 15-16 vs. Air Force / Feb. 19-20 at Air Force: The Colonials and Falcons will once again get together for four games this season, giving these old College Hockey America rivals an opportunity to grow their shared history even further.
Last year’s season series was especially memorable, as three of the four games went to overtime, with each side winning at the other’s rink and a tie thrown in for good measure. Colonials senior winger Cody Wydo scored this spectacular third-period goal Nov. 15 to tie the game 1-1 on the Island:
Air Force would go on to win that game 2-1 in overtime, but RMU had its revenge this January, sweeping the Falcons in a two-game set at Colorado Springs. In the process, the Colonials snapped a seven-game losing streak at Cadet Ice Arena and skated to the verge of an Atlantic Hockey Conference regular-season crown.
Audio highlights from that series:
Oct. 30-31 at Michigan: You knew we’d get to this series eventually. After facing league foes Air Force and Niagara in the first two weekends of the season, the Colonials take a week off from Atlantic Hockey play to challenge the always-game Wolverines at 92-year-old Yost Arena.
If you were curious, this series will allow RMU to complete “Big Ten Bingo.” The Colonials have played five of the six Big Ten hockey teams in their 11 seasons, with Ohio State (eight games) as their most frequent opponent from that conference.
Robert Morris has faced Penn State five times – winning three of those – while Michigan State (two games in 2011), Wisconsin (two in 2007) and Minnesota (2014 NCAA Tournament) have also been checked off the list. The only Big Ten school that remains uncovered on the bingo card is Michigan, which will be rectified over Halloween weekend.
Dec. 4-5 at Rochester Institute of Technology: As the fall semester comes to an end, the Colonials will return to the site of one of their greatest triumphs, the Gene Polisseni Center on the campus of RIT. It was there that RMU scored a 4-3 comeback victory on Feb. 20 to clinch its first-ever regular-season conference championship:
With RIT coming off its second AHC postseason title, this series will match the two most recent Atlantic Hockey representatives in the NCAA Tournament. Expect more of what we saw this Feburary, with two attack-minded teams trading punches in front of the Tigers’ usually-raucous fanbase.
Dec. 28-29 – Three Rivers Classic / Jan. 2-3 – Ledyard Classic at Dartmouth: We’re combining two “series” into one, since the Colonials will take on four non-conference opponents over the span of seven days. First comes the yearly Three Rivers Classic, which will once again show off one of Division I hockey’s burgeoning rivalries: Robert Morris vs. Penn State.
After the Colonials share the Pittsburgh Penguins’ home ice with the Nittany Lions to conclude the first day, RMU will hope to be in position for its second 3RC trophy. No matter what happens, they’ll square off on the second day with either Clarkson, which boasts two western Pennsylvania goalies on its roster in Greg Lewis (Mars) and Steve Perry (Ligonier), or 2013 Frozen Four participant UMass-Lowell.
Either 2014 NCAA national champion Union or Hockey East’s Merrimack will provide the opposition on the second day of the Ledyard Classic.
Three days later, the Colonials will be in Hanover, New Hampshire for Dartmouth’s annual get-together. This trip will mark the first time RMU competes as a guest in an invitational tournament since Oct. 7-8, 2011, when it split a pair in Nebraska as part of the Mutual of Omaha Stampede. The Colonials program has come through in this situation before, winning the Nye Frontier Classic in Alaska to start the 2007-08 season.
Jan. 22-23 vs. Mercyhurst: Finally, a chance to strike back against the team that ended RMU’s outstanding 2014-15 season. Even though they posted a school-record 24 victories on the year, the Colonials suffered a 4-3 overtime loss to in-state rival Mercyhurst on March 20 in the Atlantic Hockey semifinal round, thus ending their quest for a second straight NCAA Tournament berth.
For the second consecutive year, Atlantic Hockey’s unbalanced schedule dictates that RMU and Mercyhurst will play in only one weekend series. The Colonials and Lakers will have to squeeze all of the usual emotion into two games on Neville Island.