College hockey puts local talent in the spotlight

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For the third year in a row, two Division I men's hockey teams will battle at Mellon Arena when Robert Morris plays Ohio State at 8 p.m. today as part of the Pittsburgh College Hockey Showcase.

"This is a great event for our university. We're happy people are supporting this," said Robert Morris head coach Derek Schooley, "It's a neat experience for everyone to see Division I hockey being played at the Mellon Arena. We just have to put on a good show."

Robert Morris and Ohio State skated to a 5-5 tie in last year's showcase before 4,301 spectators at Mellon Arena.

In today's preliminary game, the Robert Morris women's team takes on College Hockey America-rival Niagara at 5 p.m.

At a glance
  • What: Pittsburgh College Hockey Showcase.
  • When: 8 p.m. today.
  • Who: Robert Morris vs. Ohio State
  • Where: Mellon Arena
  • Tickets: $10 general admission, $15 reserved seats available at Mellon Arena box office. Youth hockey players 14 and under wearing team jerseys can purchase tickets for $8.

Penguins defenseman Ryan Whitney will drop the puck for the ceremonial opening faceoff of the men's game.

The game is a showcase of Pittsburgh-area players, seven of whom will play in tonight's game -- three for Ohio State and four for Robert Morris.

The three local products -- including two NHL drafts picks -- playing for Ohio State are forward C.J. Severyn of Beaver, a Calgary Flames draft pick; defenseman Matt Bartkowski of Mt. Lebanon, a Florida Panthers pick; and forward Sergio Somma of Plum.

The four Pittsburgh-area players on Robert Morris' roster are forward Furman South of Sewickley, defenseman Denny Urban of Baldwin, defenseman Josh Jones of Scenery Hill and forward Ron Cramer of New Wilmington.

The game also will display a microcosm of the recently growing Pittsburgh hockey tradition.

"[Hockey] is definitely growing here," said Urban, who scored his first career goal in last year's showcase against Ohio State. "It's neat to get back to the kids and show them that they can play hockey in Pittsburgh. Most people know this city as a football town, so it's nice to show them, yes, you can make it big playing in Pittsburgh."

In total, 26 Pittsburgh-area athletes play Division I hockey. Two years ago, Robert Morris lost, 6-2, to then No. 2-ranked Notre Dame, which started 2004 Penguins draft pick David Brown in goal.


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