It took only one short month for Robert Morris, the wreck of Atlantic Hockey, to become the wreckers.
The Colonials’ tour-de-force January turnaround resulted in an 8-1-1 record and rocketed them into a fourth-place tie in the conference.
After a near-perfect 5-0-1 homestand, the Colonials (10-13-3, 10-6-3 Atlantic Hockey) visit Rochester, N.Y., this weekend for a two-game series against struggling RIT (8-14-4, 7-10-2), which has lost nine of its past 11 games.
“We’re playing with a lot of confidence and energy,” Robert Morris coach Derek Schooley said. “The one thing our guys have figured out is if you work and give the extra effort, you’re going to get rewarded with wins.
“Winning is contagious, and we’ve got that going for us right now.”
In the teams’ first meeting of the season Nov. 9, the Tigers defeated the Colonials, 4-2.
“We overlooked them last time,” Schooley said. “They didn’t have any wins, and they beat us pretty handily here [in Pittsburgh] after we had just won our first game. We thought it was going to be easy, and they made us pay.”
The Colonials swept Army, 4-0 and 6-4, at 84 Lumber Arena last weekend. Junior forward Cody Wydo tallied three goals and two assists to earn Atlantic Hockey player of the week honors.
Wydo, the Colonials’ leading scorer with 19 goals and 31 points, has the fourth-most goals in Division I. He has 53 career goals in 98 games at Robert Morris.
“Cody just knows how to score goals and produce points,” Schooley said.
“Pucks find his stick, and he creates on a lot of chances. That’s why he’s only 11 goals away from being our all-time leading scorer just as a junior.”
Sophomore forward Zac Lynch, Wydo’s linemate, added two goals and two assists against Army.
Lynch has 13 goals and 14 assists this season, including a Division I-best four short-handed goals.
“Zac works very hard and gets his points by going to dirty areas,” Schooley said.
Though the Colonials have the second-worst penalty-kill percentage (.703) in Division I, they have ticked at 87 percent in the past 10 games.
Their six short-handed goals are third most in the country.
Sophomore goalie Terry Shafer made 23 saves Friday to earn his first shutout this season.
“It was good to see him rewarded because he’s been close a couple times,” Schooley said.
Stephen J. Nesbitt: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-290-2183 and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt.