RMU hockey routs Penn State in Three Rivers Classic
Robert Morris, well aware that recruiting players in Western Pennsylvania will never be the same because of the presence of Penn State in Division I hockey, played like a team protecting its home turf while routing the Nittany Lions, 6-0, in the opener at the Three Rivers Classic.
“We'll remember this one,” Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky said.
The Colonials, who are 2-0 against Penn State this season, will take on No. 5 Miami, a 1-0 winner over Ohio State Friday, in the championship game Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Penn State will play future Big Ten rival Ohio State in the consolation game at 4:30 p.m.
When it comes to recruiting local talent, Penn State doesn't plan on taking any consolation.
“We absolutely want the best players in this area,” Gadowsky said hours before Friday's game. “We know how good hockey has gotten in Pittsburgh, and we want those kids to be a part of our program.”
Robert Morris is aware of the competition that is looming.
While Colonials head coach Derek Schooley downplays the rivalry to some extent, his players are aware of the battles on the ice — and recruiting battles away from the rink — that appear imminent.
“When you're being recruited by Penn State,” said Robert Morris forward Colin South, “that Penn State name pops up, I'm sure. It gets your attention. It does in football, and it will in hockey. We know that.”
This marks the second time in two weeks that Robert Morris has defeated Penn State, though the last victory was a hard-fought 3-2 win in Happy Valley.
Robert Morris jumped to a 4-0 lead in the first period and never looked back in the rematch.
Penn State captain Tommy Olczyk, son of former Penguins coach and player Ed Olczyk, suggested this is the beginning of a legitimate rivalry.
“It's only a two-and-a-half hour drive,” Olczyk said. “It won't take a lot for this to become a rivalry. We know we've got them at least once next year. Same building. We'll think about that.”
Four players from Western Pennsylvania were selected in the first three rounds of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, and four are currently playing in the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior tournament.
This is clearly fertile ground.
“But we won't always be recruiting the same players,” Schooley said. “We love getting guys for four good years.”
Schooley's philosophy worked out well Friday as two seniors, Adams Brace and Tyler Hinds, were among the scorers for Robert Morris.
Senior goalie Eric Levine recorded the shutout for the Colonials, stopping 48 shots.
“They may win the next two times they see us,” Schooley said. “Who knows? It is good for hockey in Western Pennsylvania.”
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org