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Three Rivers Classic Team Previews

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

The Clarkson University men’s hockey team (7-6-2) travels to Pittsburgh for their first ever appearance in the Three Rivers Classic tournament at CONSOL Energy Center.

The Golden Knights come into the tournament looking to improve upon their 7-1-0 non-conference record. Clarkson’s impressive non-conference results can be attributed to their high-powered offense - in those 8 games, they have 32 goals for 32 and have allowed just 18 goals against.

Clarkson’s penalty kill is currently ranked number seven in the nation with 87.73 % kill rate. The team’s success at even strength can be attributed in part to defenseman Aaron Thow, who is currently a plus-7 on the campaign. In net, Clarkson’s goaltending tandem is led by junior Steve Perry. Perry has compiled a team-leading 221 saves in 11 games thus far.

Offensively, the Golden Knights are led by junior forward A.J. Fossen. Fossen is currently leading Clarkson with seven goals on the season, with five of those goals coming on the man advantage. Second on the team with five goals is sophomore Sam Vigneault, who currently leads Clarkson with 13 points.

Currently there are four players on the Golden Knights roster who have been drafted by NHL teams: F Troy Josephs (2013; 7th Round #209); D James de Haas (2012; 6th Round #170); D Terrance Amorosa (2013; 5th Round #132); and D Kelly Summers (2014; 7th Round #189).

Head coach Casey Jones is currently in his fifth season as Clarkson’s head coach. Prior to joining the Golden Knights, Jones served on the Ohio State and Cornell University coaching staffs. Jones has twice been named a finalist for the ECAC Hockey Coach of the Year.

-Brian McDonough


The Robert Morris Colonials will participate for the fourth year in a row at the Three Rivers Classic, with hopes to reclaim the championship after falling short during last year’s competition.

The Colonials are looking to keep their momentum going off their already impressive 2015-16 season at CONSOL Energy Center, where on day one they will begin their competition against the Penn State Nittany Lions. Robert Morris is currently ranked number one in the Atlantic Hockey division with a record of 8-3-3, and are ranked 24th in the nation with an overall record of 9-4-3.

A team led by an experience group of upperclassmen, the Colonials started their season off strong with a five-game point streak (3-0-2). After finally taking their first loss, the Colonials bounced back with another six-game point streak (5-0-1).

Zac Lynch, a senior forward from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been one of the Colonials key pieces to success during their season. Lynch has racked up 25 points (12G-13A) for Robert Morris and sits at sixth in the nation in scoring and first in the nation in short-handed goals (4).

The Colonials impressive goaltending should also be credited for their outstanding start. While sharing time, senior goaltender Terry Shafer has compiled a 5-3-1 record and is tied for 10th in the nation with 2 shutouts.

The high-powered Robert Morris offense, tied for second in the nation at 4.38 goals per game, will be the key for the Colonials as they look to raise the Three Rivers Classic trophy in 2015.

-Suzie Cool


The UMass-Lowell River Hawks will travel to Pittsburgh to participate in their first-ever Three Rivers Classic at CONSOL Energy Center. The 8th-ranked River Hawks come into the tournament as the highest ranked team with a record of 10-3-4.

Looking to build off a hot start to the 2015-2016 season, UMass-Lowell will try and capture their second tournament title of the season. The River Hawks were champions of the Friendship Four Tournament in Belfast, Ireland earlier this season, defeating Northeastern and Brown University.

The River Hawks are set to faceoff against the Clarkson Golden Knights in the first game of the tournament on Dec. 28 at 4:30 PM. UMass will face Clarkson for the first time since the 2013-2014 season when they faced each other three times. The River Hawks went 2-0-1 in those contests.

Senior goaltender Kevin Boyle is a big reason why the Hockey East-leading River Hawks have been an elite team this season. Boyle ranks in the top-10 nationally in goals-against average (1.74), save percentage (.939), minutes played (1032:26), wins (10) and shutouts (3). Boyle has been a true backbone for Head Coach Norm Bazin, starting every game for UMass this season.

Not to be overshadowed by the elite goaltending numbers, the River Hawks triple threat of senior Adam Chapie, sophomore C.J. Smith and junior Joe Gambardella have gotten off to an outstanding offensive start. Chapie (8G-9A) and Smith (7G-10A) lead the team with 17 points each, while Gambardella (3G-12A) sits right behind them with 15 points, including 12 assists (t-9th nationally).

A combination of great goaltending and timely scoring will be key to the River Hawks success in Pittsburgh. Along with their trio up front, the River Hawks 14th-ranked power play (22.86%) will be paramount to producing enough offense to land them tournament championship number two this year.

-Dillon Arace


The Penn State men’s ice hockey team (11-2-3, 2-0-0 Big Ten) travels to Pittsburgh for a fourth consecutive appearance in the Three Rivers Classic tournament at CONSOL Energy Center.

The Nittany Lions, currently a program-record No. 14 in the U.S. College Hockey online weekly poll, face 24th-ranked Robert Morris University (9-4-3, 8-3-3 Atlantic Hockey Conference) on Monday, Dec. 28 at 7:30 p.m.

Penn State comes into the tournament riding a program-record ten-game unbeaten streak, including back-to-back conference wins over Michigan State.

The Nittany Lions offense is currently tied with fellow Three Rivers Classic participant Robert Morris for 2nd among Division I teams, averaging 4.38 goals per game. They have scored nearly twice as many goals as they have allowed this season (70-37). Their 70 goals this season also ties them for second (Robert Morris) nationally. The team’s defense also sits within the top 20, averaging 2.31 goals-against per game.

The special teams boast impressive numbers for the 2015-16 season. Penn State’s power play is ranked 2nd among Division I teams with a 30.43%, behind fellow Three Rivers Classic team Robert Morris.

Senior forwards Kenny Brooks and Curtis Loik have contributed to Penn State’s impressive offense, currently leading the Nittany Lions in points with 16 (5G-11A).

Junior goaltender Eamon McAdam and senior goaltender Matthew Skoff, a McKees Rocks, PA native, have the 1st and 2nd-highest save percentages in Big Ten Conference play this season, with .966 and .939, respectively.

Foruth-year head coach Guy Gadowsky leads Penn State into this year’s Three Rivers Classic hoping to rebound from last year’s 0-2 performance, during which they fell 4-2 to Robert Morris and 4-1 to Western Michigan.

Depending on the outcome of Penn State’s opening-round game, the team will play either 8th-ranked UMass-Lowell or Clarkson on Tuesday.

-Allyson Piatt

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