There are several components that make up great hockey teams. It all starts with talented players and an experienced coaching staff.
When that team brings the determination and will to win into the mix game-in and game-out they will be consistent. That is exactly what the Robert Morris University Division III team that plays in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) has done. The Colonials found themselves in the national tournament for the third consecutive season.
The Colonials had another winning season going (20-7) when they won the ACHA Regional Tournament but lost in game three of a three games series in the final round of the College Hockey East (CHE) playoffs to rival California University of Pennsylvania.
Head coach, Craig Bioni, was named CHE Coach of the Year and senior forward, Chad Fritz, was crowned the CHE Jamison Roth Athlete of the Year. The Colonials goaltender, Matt Wynn, and forwards, Eric Bogden, Brenden Boyle, Grant Faulkner, and Erik Manetta were all selected to play in the CHE All-Star game.
The Colonials put up three good showings without graduated seniors, Jack Erath, Will Rose, Matt Wynn, and injured Captain, Grant Faulkner. Unfortunately the Colonials lost all three games and finished the tournament ranking 15th in the nation.
“Making it to nationals three years in a row gives a sense of accomplishment to the team and the school,” said senior forward, Erath.
After finishing fifth in the nation last year and 15th in the nation this year, the Colonials still have not met their goal.
“Fifteenth is good, fifth is really good, but it’s not number one,” said Erath. Even though Erath will not be here next year to reach the goal, the majority of the players will be returning.
The 15th ranked Colonials are still focusing on the main goal and they are already preparing for next season.
“People come to expect more and more each and every season,” said sophomore goaltender, Jeff Siwik. “This includes school officials, fans, coaches, other teams, and also ourselves as players”.
Robert Morris is looking to improve on their recent accomplishments and prove that they deserve to be there for a fourth consecutive season.
“If you work as hard as you can on and off the ice as a team it will make the difference between being good and being great,” said senior forward, Nick Lewis.
Making nationals as many times as the team has over the past years shows that the coaches know what they are talking about. The staff knows how to get the right work ethic and chemistry from the players to win games. It also shows the will to win from the players day-in and day-out.
“It makes any program look good when you have players and coaches like ours that can win you games and get you to nationals year after year,” said Lewis.
The Colonials will be hard at work all summer conditioning for another season in which the hockey family hopes to reach the national tournament for the fourth time in four years.