Robert Morris hockey faces key series

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Robert Morris’ 5-1 victory Saturday against RIT etched it into the history books twice. It stretched the team’s unbeaten streak to a program-record nine games and gave this seniors the most wins (66) of any class in school history.

Robert Morris (11-13-4, 11-6-4 Atlantic Hockey) salvaged a 2-2 draw Friday in Rochester, N.Y., and dispatched the Tigers with five unanswered goals Saturday night.

The Colonials have climbed to fifth in the conference standings, just two points away from second-place Bentley, and own the second-longest unbeaten streak in Division I, behind only No. 1 Boston College (14-0-1 in the past 15 games).

Robert Morris now takes on Niagara (9-15-4, 9-8-4) in a home-and-home series, playing Thursday in Niagara, N.Y., and Saturday at 84 Lumber Arena.

The teams tied, 3-3, Oct. 19 in the first game of the Atlantic Hockey season and have experienced similar rebirths since the turn of the year.

As of Jan. 1, Robert Morris was 2-12-2, and Niagara, 3-11-2.

“At Christmas time, it was a season to forget for both of us,” Colonials coach Derek Schooley said. “Both teams have managed to turn it around. You’re going to see two completely different hockey teams than you saw in October.”

Robert Morris sophomore goalie Terry Shafer earned his second consecutive Atlantic Hockey goaltender of the week honors after making 66 combined saves in two starts against RIT in his hometown of Rochester.

“He made the saves he had to make and mixed in a couple big ones,” Schooley said.

The Colonials’ top forward line of junior Cody Wydo (34 points), sophomore Zac Lynch (31) and junior Scott Jacklin (21), the team’s three leading scorers, has been hot recently, contributing 13 goals the past five games.

Wydo, whose 21 goals are tied for third in Division I, scored the late equalizer Friday night. Saturday, Jacklin scored twice, and his linemates each scored once.

“Anytime you can get your top line clicking the way they are is a big benefit to the team,” Schooley said. “You need secondary scoring, but teams are going to be focusing on your top line, especially this late in the year.”

NOTE — Saturday night will be Military Appreciation Night at 84 Lumber Arena. The Colonials will wear special camouflage jerseys that will be auctioned off for the RMU Veterans Emergency Fund. “We’re a very military-friendly university and we wanted to show our appreciation to the veterans and active military out there who have given a lot to protect our freedom,” Schooley said.


Stephen J. Nesbitt: snesbitt@post-gazette.com, 412-290-2183 and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt.

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