Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Robert Morris Joins 2012-13 Schedule

Derek Schooley will lead RMU into the Ice Pavilion on December 15th - and into a possible second matchup against PSU at Pittsburgh's Consol Energy Center.

In the course of discovering games for Penn State's inaugural NCAA men's schedule, one thing has been in short supply: quality home games. Sure, there's the first home series with American International and the November clash with a tremendous Air Force program. Beyond that, however, the Ice Pavilion slate contains only a smattering of non-NCAA games.

That situation has been alleviated a little bit, as confirmed with the addition of a December 15th game against Robert Morris to the Atlantic Hockey Association composite schedule.

Long-time Icers fans surely remember PSU's 3-2 win over the Colonials on October 8th, 2005 behind three points each from Lukas DeLorenzo and Michael McMullen and 41 Paul Mammola saves. RMU got their revenge a year later to the tune of 6-0, helped by a pair of Sean Berkstresser tallies. As one might expect though, Derek Schooley's program has done a lot of growing up since those formative years of a program that only joined NCAA Division I in 2004-2005.

Schooley, a one-time Head Coach Candidate and the man in charge of RMU for their entire NCAA life, guided the program through the demise of their original conference, College Hockey America, and into Atlantic Hockey for the 2010-2011 season. He's also earned a reputation as a giant killer, thanks to the following belt notches:
  • January 7, 2007 - One season after losing to the Icers, Robert Morris beat No. 2 Notre Dame 4-2. Notre Dame advanced to the NCAA tournament as a No. 1 seed that season, and was a year away from a run to the NCAA championship game.
  • October 12, 2007 - The Colonials score a come-from-behind 3-2 win over Boston University en route to winning the Nye Frontier Classic in Anchorage, AK. BU was ranked No. 8 at the time and featured many of the players who would help the Terriers to the 2009 national championship.
  • January 8-10, 2010 - Beginning with a win in the College Hockey Showcase, RMU sweeps No. 1 Miami, the team that was less than a minute from a national championship the previous season before BU's stunning comeback.
Not bad for a program (now) with eight seasons in the books, and one that offers the Atlantic Hockey limit of 12 scholarships, two-thirds the NCAA limit of 18.

The Colonials enjoyed their first winning season (18-12-5) in 2010-2011, then went 17-17-5 last year with a senior-laden team - 11 in all, including starting goalie Brooks Ostergard and the top four scorers on the team. Notable additions for the coming season include right wing Mac Roy, an Alabama-Huntsville transfer, defenseman Evan Moore, who played with PSU's Joe Lordo in Sioux Falls (USHL) last season and Chase Golightly, who put up 43 points in the BCHL as a defenseman.

The tilt on the 15th may only be the first of two with RMU in December. The AHA schedule has also added the "Pittsburgh College Hockey Tournament" at the Consol Energy Center. For now, the only lines under that header are "TBD vs. Robert Morris," but Joe Battista has previously indicated Penn State's involvement. Notably, the tournament takes now takes place over two days - in previous years, it has been a single-day showcase.

In all, PSU is now up to 29 known games, 28 of which count against the NCAA's 34-game limit. Twenty of the 29 are against NCAA DI opposition, within the range of 20 to 22 given previously by Battista. For the complete volume of known PSU games, visit TYT's dedicated schedule page.

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