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Three Rivers Classic Preview

by Joseph Guzy / Pittsburgh Penguins

The fourth-annual Three Rivers Classic will be back at CONSOL Energy Center on Dec. 28 and Dec. 29. The tournament has yet to disappoint, always providing high-caliber college teams, an electric atmosphere and most importantly, exciting games.

The inaugural tournament saw Eric Levine post a 51-save shutout to lead the hometown team Robert Morris to an upset victory over the fifth-ranked Miami (Ohio), 1-0.

The second tournament saw current NHL stud Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames named tournament MVP as he led his Boston College Eagles to a 5-0 tournament-winning victory over Penn State.

The third tournament featured three nationally-ranked teams: Colgate (No. 17), Robert Morris (No. 19) and Penn State (No. 20).

So what does the Three Rivers Classic have in store for us this year?

“Last week you had three of the four teams ranked and the fourth getting votes in the NCAA polls,” said RMU head coach Derek Schooley. “You have all four teams on the cusp of the top 20.”

This year’s tournament features UMass-Lowell (No. 4), Clarkson (No. 17), Robert Morris (No. 20) and Penn State.

Three ranked teams and one on the verge of cracking the top-twenty in Penn State should provide for quality college hockey. In addition, UMass-Lowell will be making their return to CONSOL Energy Center after participating in the NCAA Frozen Four tournament in 2013 on the same ice.

“You have two ranked teams coming in from out east,” Schooley said. “The fact that Lowell came to the Frozen Four when it was in Pittsburgh is big too.”

But perhaps the biggest storyline, for Schooley and the crowd at CONSOL Energy Center alike, will be the rivalry between Robert Morris and Penn State.

“It’s a natural rivalry,” Schooley said. “We’ve had some very good, close games. We’ve had great games against them at the Three Rivers Classic. That’s going to be a marquee matchup right off the bat.”

To be able to continue that rivalry at CONSOL Energy Center at the Three Rivers Classic is something that players, family, students and alumni will be proud to do here in Pittsburgh.

“College hockey is getting more and more popular,” Schooley said. “There are more college games on television now. We’re getting bigger and better crowds and more people that are excited about college hockey in the area.”

UMass-Lowell will meet Clarkson at 4:30 p.m. and Robert Morris will take on Penn State at 7:30 pm. on Dec. 28.

The championship and consolation games will be played on Dec. 29.

Two-day packages and individual tickets are on sale now. Packages start at $25 and individual tickets start at $15. Tickets are on sale at www.ticketmaster.com, at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Box Office at CONSOL Energy Center, or by calling 1.800.745.3000.

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