The Robert Morris men’s hockey team remains just outside of a national ranking despite a weekend sweep of American International College. For the second consecutive week, the Colonials are the first amongst other teams receiving votes and are 137 points behind 20th-place Quinnipiac.
The Colonials still have a solid hold on first place in the Atlantic Hockey Conference, and stretched their lead to four points over second-place Canisius. Mercyhurst is five points back and has two games in hand.
Robert Morris has been relying heavily on its defense lately, and had scored more than two goals just once in the five previous games. That changed in a big way this weekend as the Colonials put 14 past Yellow Jackets goaltender Alex Murray over the two-game series.
On Friday night, the 5-3 final was closer than the game was played. RMU took a 4-0 lead in the middle of the third period on goals from Greg Gibson, Daniel Leavens, Brady Ferguson, and Zac Lynch. Scott Jacklin added a fifth later in the third frame. Leavens, Ferguson, Lynch, and Jacklin all finished with two points. Dalton Izyk made 27 saves to earn his eighth win of the season.
On Saturday, the game was much more in doubt, as the Yellow Jackets took a 2-1 lead in the second period. The only way to describe the Colonials response is an offensive explosion. From the midway point of the game on, they scored eight goals to beat AIC 9-3.
Senior forward Cody Wydo had one of the best offensive performances in team history. He scored his second hat trick of the season, had five points, and became the leading point scorer in program history. Jacklin had another big game as he also had five points, a goal (the game-winner) and four assists, giving him a seven-point weekend. Lynch had two goals and two assists, and Matt Cope dished out three helpers. Terry Shafer made 27 saves to earn the win.
Wydo and Jacklin were named Atlantic Hockey co-players of the week on Tuesday. Wydo finished the weekend with six points (three goals, three assists) and now leads the conference with 28 points, and is second only to presumptive top-two draft pick Jack Eichel of Boston University in scoring in the nation.
Jacklin’s seven points and game-winning goal earned him NCAA hockey’s second star of the week. His breakout weekend leaves him third on the team in scoring on the season.
Wydo and Jacklin weren’t the only Colonials receiving hardware this week as RMU commit Cody Hendsbee was named CCHL player of the week. Hendsbee, the captain of the Kemptville 73’s, had six points in three games in his return from an injury, and third in league scoring amongst defensemen. He is expected to join the Colonials next fall.
Robert Morris (15-5-4) travels to Worcester, Massachusetts next weekend to take on the fourth-place Holy Cross Crusaders (8-10-5) Friday at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday at 3:00 p.m.
Photo credit: Brian Mitchell