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RMU, Penn State welcome Ohio teams for college Classic at Consol

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Team breakdown

Robert Morris

Coach: Derek Schooley

Record: 7-4-2

Players to watch: Goalie Eric Levine has been terrific all season, producing a 6-2-2 record. He has recorded a 2.17 GAA and .942 save percentage.

Signature win: A 3-2 victory in Columbus against Ohio State

Scouting the Colonials: Schooley has said that, while this might not be his most talented team, it might be his best. Robert Morris is led by its goaltending and defense. Given the big games it has won during the past few seasons, playing against high-caliber competition in an NHL arena doesn't figure to rattle this squad.

Penn State

Coach: Guy Gadowsky

Record: 7-8-0

Players to watch: Tommy Olczyk has only two goals this season, but the son of former Penguins coach Ed Olczyk is the team's captain. Forward David Glen leads Penn State with 16 points in 15 games.

Signature win: A 4-3 win against American International in its second game gave Penn State its first win as a Division 1 program.

Scouting the Nittany Lions: Don't expect anything flashy, but that doesn't mean this team should be taken lightly. The Nittany Lions throw shots at the net in bunches and play a physical style that nicely makes up for the lack of star power.

Miami (Ohio)

Coach: Enrico Blasi

Record: 11-3-4

Players to watch: Riley Barber and Austin Czarnik are two well-rounded forwards who each have produced more than 20 points for Miami this season.

Signature win: A 4-3 victory against Michigan in Ann Arbor

Scouting the Redhawks: One of the nation's strongest teams, Miami showcases a number of game-breakers and is stingy defensively. Beware when on the power play: The Redhawks have produced five short-handed goals.

Ohio State

Coach: Mark Osiecki

Record: 7-6-5

Player to watch: Ryan Dzingel, an Ottawa Senators draft pick, leads the Buckeyes in goals and points

Signature win: Consecutive victories at Michigan State have helped the Buckeyes get on a roll

Scouting the Buckeyes: Beating goalie Brady Hjelle is no easy task. He showcases a sterling .951 save percentage. OSU has struggled to score goals, but when it does produce, it is difficult to beat.

Rob Rossi podcasts

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Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Derek Schooley has built the Robert Morris men's hockey program over the past eight years by maintaining perspective.

“Everything you do,” he said, “you shape the future of your program.”

He should remember that because his upstart college hockey tournament, the Three Rivers Classic, is something Penguins CEO David Morehouse envisions becoming a staple of future holiday seasons.

It begins Friday at Consol Energy Center: Robert Morris vs. Penn State at 4:30 p.m., followed by Ohio State taking on fifth-ranked Miami (Ohio).

The second Classic already is set for next December. Bowling Green, alma mater of Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, and Boston College, winner in three of the past five Frozen Fours, will join Robert Morris and Penn State.

“Our kids are excited to play on this big stage,” Ohio State associate head coach Steve Rohlik said Thursday at a news conference attended by Schooley and Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky.

Rohlik noted that R.J. Umberger, a Plum native and veteran forward with the Columbus Blue Jackets, is serving as an assistant for his alma mater during the NHL lockout that will hit day 105 Friday.

Miami (Ohio) was late arriving to Pittsburgh on Thursday because of inclement weather.

Gadowsky, his injured left arm in a sling, was accompanied by 10 Penn State players, but only eight sets of full equipment. He said 16 Nittany Lions players were set to arrive by Friday morning.

None of the competing schools has played since Dec. 15 because of mandated holiday breaks, so scattered players had to navigate tricky travel conditions. David Friedmann, a freshman forward for Robert Morris, took a cab from Baltimore to Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.

The lockout's sacking of Penguins games — and television/radio platforms intended to promote the first Classic — did not sink this event. The lower bowl of Consol Energy Center, about 10,000 seats, is projected to be full for Friday's games.

Penn State's area alumni dominance no doubt helped sell Classic tickets, Gadowsky said. The Nittany Lions are in their first season of Division I competition.

The last game Gadowsky's squad played was against Robert Morris — a 3-2 loss at Penn State.

“I'm anxious to see our support here,” he said.

As for Schooley's squad being the road team at the tournament he spent two years helping to organize?

“We already beat them at Penn State,” he said smiling. “We're the home team.”

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 412-380-5635.

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