Colonials hope to continue playoff surge

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Robert Morris reached 20 wins for the first time while winning the first round of the Atlantic Hockey Association playoffs last weekend.

And the players said this week that the confidence gained will carry the No. 5 seed Colonials (20-12-4) into a best-of-three series against No. 4 seed Connecticut (17-13-4) that starts at 7 p.m. today in Storrs, Conn.

The winner will advance to the Atlantic Hockey semifinals in Rochester, N.Y., which would be a first for Robert Morris since joining the league three years ago.

A game at 7:05 p.m. Saturday follows, and a third game, if necessary, will be played at 7:05 p.m. Sunday, all in Storrs.

"I think we're playing our best hockey right now and I think our goalie is playing his best hockey right now which is key in playoffs," said senior center Adam Brace. "We know what it takes to win, especially on the road. Although we're young, our freshmen aren't freshmen anymore. They know what it takes. We know what it takes."

The Colonials are on a seven-game unbeaten streak that leads the nation, and the Huskies are unbeaten in five.

"We're confident right now. We did what we needed to do. Got everything accomplished in the games and again this week," said coach Derek Schooley.

The Colonials swept No. 12 seed Sacred Heart by a combined score of 10-2 in two games.

Schooley said one of the big keys has been contributions from all four classes.

"Our seniors have done such a good job with the leadership. They've welcomed all of our new players and made them feel a part of the team from day one. Our team chemistry has been outstanding, and we owe a lot of that to the seniors," said Schooley. "The freshmen have brought in new energy we haven't had. They're fun, outgoing and sometimes don't shut up.

"One of those things, the seniors and older guys have allowed them to be themselves ... our guys have done an excellent job of making everyone feel welcome."

Agreed, said senior captain Brendan Jamison.

"They have a lot more skill than a lot of the other classes who came through here had. If you can let them be creative but stay within the system [it works]," he said.

Brace is tied for the 12th in the nation in scoring with 40 points (14 goals, 26 assists), and goalie Eric Levine is ranked in the top 10 in save percentage (.932), minutes played (1951:42) and shutouts (4).

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Jenn Menendez: jmenendez@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1959 and Twitter @JennMenendez.


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