CRANBERRY TWP. and HARMAR TWP., Pa. — CHMA action continued this past weekend with six out of the eight teams playing conference opponents. With the exception of Duquesne, who spent the weekend playing Alabama, and IUP, who played a home-and-away series with Kent State, the CHMA standings were in constant flux.
On Friday night, just 20 miles apart, there were two thrilling overtime victories by Pitt and Slippery Rock at Alpha Ice Complex and UPMC Lemieux Sports Center, respectively. Pitt defeated conference rival Mercyhurst, 3-2, and Slippery Rock edged Robert Morris, 5-4.
After facing a 3-1 deficit, Robert Morris rallied to tie the game at four before falling in overtime to the Pride. Of particular focus was the verbal sparring back and forth between the Colonials and the Pride. It was clear that the teams don’t care for one another and on the ice, things got heated and physical. Slippery Rock had to kill off four penalties through the first two periods of the game.
The Pride then met Pitt on Saturday night at Alpha Ice Complex to determine who would finish the weekend with a sweep of victories, and it was Pitt’s high-powered offense that cruised past Slippery Rock. Tallying seven goals, the Panthers are now one win (or one Robert Morris loss) away from claiming their second regular season championship in a row.
In other CHMA action, Duquesne fell to Alabama, 8-6, on Friday and 6-2 on Saturday, while IUP fell to Kent State, 4-2, on Friday and 3-2 in overtime on Saturday. John Carroll bested West Virginia by a score of 5-3 on Friday but fell to Mercyhurst, 4-3, on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Robert Morris traveled to West Virginia for a bizarre game. Confirmed by RMU head coach Michael Joseph, the zamboni experienced technical issues during the first intermission, leaving a “large crater in the ice which could not be repaired.” The game will be rescheduled by the ACHA due to the requirement that each team play the other seven teams once at home and once away from home. Given that Robert Morris can still mathematically win the CHMA regular season championship, the Colonials should be happy to have the game rescheduled.
FRIDAY: Slippery Rock edges Robert Morris in overtime, 5-4
SATURDAY: Slippery Rock falls to Pitt in a lopsided blowout, 7-2
Weekend scores from around the CHMA:
Duquesne 6, Alabama 8
Mercyhurst 2, Pitt 3 (OT)
Robert Morris 4, Slippery Rock 5 (OT)
John Carroll 5, West Virginia 3
Kent State 4, IUP 2
Duquesne 2, Alabama 6
Slippery Rock 2, Pitt 7
Robert Morris, West Virginia (POSTPONED)
John Carroll 3, Mercyhurst 4
IUP 2, Kent State 3 (OT)
After a weekend of several CHMA games, Pitt is one game away from claiming their second regular season championship in a row. Last year, they edged Duquesne by a single point, 22 to 21. A Pitt win next Friday at IUP or a Robert Morris loss to Mercyhurst would guarantee Pitt the conference’s automatic bid to the ACHA tournament held in Columbus, Ohio at the end of February. If that happens, John Carroll would be the only other CHMA team that could have a realistic chance to participate in the national tournament. Currently, they are ranked 27th by the ACHA computer rankings. The top 20 teams receive bids to nationals, unless they are bumped in favor of a conference’s regular season champion. To put it simply, if Pitt wins the CHMA next weekend, one of the teams ranked in the top 20 will be bumped from the tournament in favor of Pitt.
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Looking ahead: Friday, Feb. 2 features Duquesne at John Carroll, Pitt at IUP, Robert Morris at Mercyhurst, and Slippery Rock at West Virginia.
Saturday, Feb. 3 features Duquesne at Pitt, Robert Morris at John Carroll, Slippery Rock at IUP, and Mercyhurst at West Virginia.
Check out the ACHA schedule here for other upcoming matchups in the CHMA and other conferences.