Eric Levine made 51 saves en route to his second consecutive shutout and the Robert Morris Colonials defeated No. 5 Miami University by a 1-0 final to capture the inaugural Three Rivers Classic championship title at CONSOL Energy Center Saturday night.
Levine recorded 99 saves over RMU’s two contests in the tournament, holding Penn State and the RedHawks off the scoresheet.
“I think that had to be one of the single best goaltending performances in the history of our program,” RMU head coach Derek Schooley said.
Freshman forward Brendan Denham’s first career tally midway through the third period turned out to be the game-winner.
“What a time to get your first career goal,” Schooley said.
The game remained scoreless through the first 40 minutes with Miami outshooting Robert Morris 35-14. The Colonials had two long 5-on-3 advantages, but weren’t able to capitalize on either.
In the third period on a scramble in front of the cage, Denham swatted at the puck and got just enough to push it up into the air and past Miami goaltender Ryan McKay.
"I saw an opening, saw it popped up a little bit,” Denham said of the goal. “(I) just turned around and whacked at it, found the back of the net."
"It didn't get to the back of the net,” Schooley joked. “It got over the goal line."
Robert Morris got things started off on Friday afternoon with a 6-0 defeat of Penn State. The Colonials struck early on a tally courtesy of Upper St. Clair native Andrew Blazek. RMU added three more markers in the final 2:49 of the opening frame, including two goals off the stick of sophomore forward Cody Wydo. RMU put home two more in the third period to record the victory. Levine made 48 saves for RMU for his first of two shutouts in two days.
The inaugural tournament was quite a success off the ice as well. A total of 11,663 came out on Friday evening and 10,797 were witnesses on Saturday, bringing the two-day total to 22,460.
“It’s pretty gratifying to see the crowd that we had here and the games that we had,” Schooley said. “Hopefully, it’s a tradition that we’ll have for a long time coming.
“Hopefully people get behind college hockey…and I think they have.”
Penn State bested Ohio State by a 5-4 final in the consolation game of the tournament. OSU’s Ryan Dzingel recorded a hat trick, but the Nittany Lions got 36 saves from netminder Matthew Skoff, propelling them to the victory.