Three Rivers Classic: Day 1

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The Colonials three goals in the first period wasn't enough as RMU fell at the hands of the Lakers on the road.

Cj Bakaj

The puck dropped at PPG Paints Arena for the fifth annual Three Rivers Classic, starting with a NCAA Frozen Four rematch of the Boston College Eagles and the Quinnipiac Bobcats.

The game was sloppy, physical and very entertaining. As head coach for Boston College, Jerry York, said, “This is ‘holiday hockey.’ You can’t expect a team that was off for so long to come back and be perfect.”

Neither team was perfect, to say the least, but Quinnipiac outlasted the Eagles, winning by a 3-1 score.

Quinnipiac’s three goals came from Tanner MacMaster, Craig Martin, and Bo Pieper. Boston College’s lone goal came from Graham McPhee.

Quinnipiac, ranked No. 13 in the NCAA, advanced to the championship game, while Boston College, ranked No. 5, went to the consolation game.

Robert Morris took the ice one hour after the conclusion of the Quinnipiac-Boston College game to face the Ferris State Bulldogs.

The story of the game was the extraordinary goaltending by freshman Francis Marotte. Marotte got his first shutout of his career in the biggest game of his career by far but didn’t forget to commend his team for their efforts.

“It feels nice, but it was a team effort,” Marotte said. “The rebounds I did give up, the defense was there to get it.”

The only goal scorer in the game was Daniel Leavens, who snapped the puck behind Ferris State’s Darren Smith. Brady Ferguson stole the puck off of a defender and delivered a beautiful back door pass to assist the deciding goal.

The first period was similar to the game between Boston College and Quinnipiac: sloppy. Even RMU head coach Derek Schooley said that “holiday hockey” played a role in the game. Ferris State started out strong and caught the Colonials sleeping.

After the first ten minutes, RMU picked up the pace and started getting pucks in deep. “We like to play the cycle game,” said Leavens. “We got the puck in behind the defense in the first two periods.”

A heavy hit by a Bulldog sent Robert Morris forward Mathew Graham to the locker room midway through the first period. The Colonials played a man down for the rest of the game as Graham did not return.

The second period was all Robert Morris. Ferris State was turning the puck over consistently, and the Colonials kept getting it in deep, suffocating the Bulldogs.

The forecheck of RMU was simply amazing, as Leavens’ goal came just four minutes into the period. The Colonials severely outshot Ferris State in the period, with the totals being 29 for Robert Morris and 18 for Ferris State.

The third period showed the fatigue of losing Graham, as the Colonials switched to a very defensive game. Marotte stayed strong even as Ferris State threw everything but the kitchen sink at him.

His best save of the night came near the end of the game, when Marotte flashed the pad with an incredible toe save. Robert Morris held off Ferris State, winning by a score of 1-0.

This meant that the Colonials would join the Bobcats in the championship round and the Bulldogs would join the Eagles in the consolation round. Both contests will take place on Dec. 30.

RMU has played against Quinnipiac many times dating back to 2004. Robert Morris is 5-10-1 overall; however, in the past six games the two have played, the Colonials are 3-3. Their most recent games were Oct. 13-14 of 2012.

Quinnipiac won the first game 4-0, and RMU won the second game by the same score.

The championship is on the line as Robert Morris looks to bring home its third title of the tournament’s history. The Colonials are defending champions and will look to successfully defend their title.