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2014 Three Rivers Classic Blog: Day 1

by Joey Sykes / Pittsburgh Penguins
Welcome to the 2014 Three Rivers Classic blog. RMU, Colgate, Western Michigan and Penn State are all competing for the tournament crown on Dec. 29-30 at CONSOL Energy Center. Stay tuned here for the latest updates, results and reactions from the tournament!



LOOKING AHEAD

With Tuesday night's championship game set to take place, it's fitting the two teams competing are the highest ranked teams in the tournament. RMU (19) and Colgate (17) have more than just a trophy on the line. The winner of the matchup means a big leap in the rankings.

For RMU to emerge victorious for the second time in tournament history, special teams will be key. They must play like they did against Penn State killing penalties and capitalizing on mistakes made by their opponent.

For Colgate, precision passing and smart plays are two aspects of their game that can't falter. The three other schools had tough a tough time setting up plays as they were prone to making bad passess. If the Raiders can rely on their fundamentals, they'll make it tough for the Colonials to get comfortable.

A lot is on the line in the tournament championship, so expect the teams to be well rested and in the right mindset. The puck drops at 7:30pm with the consolation game between Western Michigan and Penn State set to faceoff at 4:30pm in the afternoon. Check back here Tuesday for full coverage of each game. Good night!



RECAP: ROBERT MORRIS 4, PENN STATE 2


The battle of Pennsylvania hockey has concluded and Robert Morris reigns victorious over Penn State. The meeting was filled with goals, shoves and a little bit of controversey, which all made for an interesting night.

After a stalemate of a first period, both team came out guns blazing in the second. Robert Morris scored two power-play goals midway through the second period after a controversial five-minute major was bestowed upon the Nittany Lions. The call came after what seemed to be an illegal hit to the head by PSU's Nate Jensen. However, PSU headed into the locker room at the second intermission with a little bit of momentum after they brought the game back to within one goal.

Guy Gadowsky, the PSU bench boss, was irritated with the major call in the second. He expressed his displeasure after the game when he spoke to the media, but remained professional.

"It was a 0-0 game," Gadowsky said. "It was a great hockey game. We had two teams that were playing to score goals. I thought it was very evenly matched. A five-minute major, for that, I tell you this: We watched it over and over and we're going to tell Nate Jensen to make that play the exact same way every single time."

In other words, Gadowsky would be surprised if that call ever gets made again.

In the third, RMU earned a little bit of insurance with a tip-in by sophomore forward Daniel Leavens. The shot was originally taken by junior D-man Chase Golighty from the faceoff circle, but thankfully Leavens was there to tap it home.

But PSU wasn't finished. A late third-period goal brought the game back within one until the Colonials stripped the Nittany Lions of the puck with less than a minute to go to score the empty-netter.

With the win, the Colonials are now in prime positioning to win their second Three Rivers Classic crown. If they can do that, they can surely say that this is "their" tournament. However, a tough Colgate Raiders team awaits.

Here's what RMU head coach Derek Schooley has to say about this Raiders team:

"We broke the (Colgate-Western Michigan game) down as it went on," Schooley said. "Our hockey ops guy broke the game down and each of our assistants were in charge of taking one of the teams an we'll meet after this. It's tough. You don't want to look too far ahead, because you don't know who you're going to play so you have some ideas. My one assistant went to Colgate and a lot of their players are players that we're familiar with because we recruit a lot of the same leagues so we got a pretty good idea about their skill level and some of their top guys. They're a good hockey team. It'll be a battle."



RMU-Penn State Running Blog


That's it for the first night of the Three Rivers Classic! Robert Morris holds on to win 4-2 and will take on Colgate University for the crown tomorrow night!

Stick around for a recap of the game plus what you can expect to see tomorrow night.


UPDATE:


ANDDD the flood gates have opened!

After a first period of zero scoring, the tally at the end of the second period is 2-1 in favor of Robert Morris.

RMU got a huge help midway through the second when Penn State got a controversial five-minute major penalty after the Nittany Lions' junior forward
Nate Jensen seemingly made contact to a Colonial player's head. Robert Morris then capitalized on the opportunity and netted two power-play goals within seconds of each other. The first was scored by freshman forward Brady Ferguson who wristed a shot from the slot after receiving a pass from defenseman Tyler Wilson with 5:49 left in the period. The second goal came from defenseman John Ray who fired a snap shot past PSU netminder Matthew Skoff from atop the left circle. 

Penn State wouldn't let their misfortune get the best of them, however. Just two minutes after Ray's goal, freshman forward Scott Conway roofed a pass from Curtis Loik past RMU goalie Dalton Izyk.

The only thing Penn State must worry about now is making a comeback. Stayed tuned to see if they can do just that.

UPDATE:

The horn sounds for the end of the first 20 minutes. Like last game, it's scoreless after 1.

Both sides were rewarded two sets of power-play opportunites, but both penalty kill units have been phenomenal. Penn State has the edge in shots with 13 compared to RMU's 9.

As the ice gets resurfaced here in Pittsburgh, it seems both squads have a pretty good idea of the other's tendancies. Expect the coaches to adjust for another period of Keystone hockey!

20 Penn State Nittany Lions vs. 19 Robert Morris Colonials

Two ranked schools have begun play here at CONSOL Energy Center as the 19th-ranked Colonials don their third jerseys tonight vs the 20th-ranked Nittany Lions in what looks to be one enticing matchup. Led by phenom Cody Wydo, the Colonials are looking to establish a rivalry with their fellow in-state school. Who will get the bragging rights as Pennsylvania's best? Stay tuned...



RECAP: COLGATE 2, WESTERN MICHIGAN 1


The first matchup of the 2014 Three Rivers Classic was a great start to the third annual college hockey tournament. The Colgate Raiders and the Western Michigan Broncos played well in their respective ends, but the better team won today. The Raiders have earned the right to take on either the Penn State Nittany Lions or the Robert Morris University Colonials in Tuesday's championship game.

Both schools sized each other up in the first period, and was deadlocked at nothing until late in the second period when Raiders D-man Spiro Goulakos netted the first goal of the game.

The third period was when the doors blew wide open. A good ammount of scoring chances on both sides of the rink were seen with the Raiders being the first team to capitalize on one with Tim Harrison's shot off Andrew Black's rebound. Western Michigan did not falter, however. A late goal by freshman forward Aidan Muir brought the game to 2-1 with less than five minutes left.

The Broncos were unable to find the back of the net for the remainder of the game, however. WMU's head coach, Andy Murray, thought if the team capitalized on each of their scoring opportunites, the game would have had a different outcome.

"Obviously, we're very disappointed losing a hockey game," Murray said. "We're very disappointed whenever we lose. Colgate is obviously a good team. They've got great quickness. But we can't serve it up on a platter like the way we did. We passed up too many scoring opportunites and got beat tonight by a good team."

Colgate's bench boss, Don Vaughan, stressed to his team during the game how important it was to not take anything lightly being up for most of the matchup.

"We actually talked in between periods and just reiterated (not getting too relaxed)," Vaughan said. "We wanted to turn it into a 200-foot game and earn their ice. (Western Michigan) did a really good job. When they started strecthing at the end, it's hard to defend. I thought we bent a little bit there at the end, but we didn't break. That was kind of the message on the bench."

Tim Harrison, the Raider that scored the second goal, took us through his scoring play that ended up being the game-winning goal.

"Andrew (Black) came down the left side, there were a couple defensemen, and I found myself alone in the slot," Harrison said. "(Black) ended up hitting the post, popped out for me and luckily banged it home because I missed the first one, so I had to redeem myself."

Stay tuned for the second matchup of tonight as the Penn State Nittany Lions take on the Robert Morris Colonials!



Western Michigan-Colgate Running Blog

And the final buzzer sounds! The Colgate Raiders defeat the Western Michigan Broncos 2-1 to secure a spot in the championship game Tuesday night.

The third period saw a new spark under each of the teams’ benches. Colgate knotted their second goal of the night after sophomore forward Tim Harrison netted a juicy rebound off the goalie’s left pad at the 10:16 mark. Assists would be credited to sophomore forward Andrew Black and senior defenseman Brendan Corcoran.

While the goal was devastating to WM's hopes of competing in the championship, WMU came back with a late-period goal by Aidan Muir, but were unable to find a second one to tie it up.

 Stay tuned for reactions from the coaches and a total recap of the game.

UPDATE:

At the end of the second period, we have our first tally of the night. The Raiders are up 1-0 after senior defensman Spiro Goulakos buried a slap shot from the blue line past Broncos netminder Lukas Hafner. The goal is Goulakos' second of the season and and assist is credited to junior forward Kyle Baun.

UPDATE:

At the end of one, neither team has found the back of the net. Shots are 10-8 Colgate.

Western Michigan Broncos vs. 17 Colgate Raiders

Hello cawlidge hawkey fans! We're underway here at CONSOL Energy Center for the first game of the 2014 Three Rivers Classic. The nationally ranked Raiders (No. 17) take on the Broncos in their first ever 3RC appearance.
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