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February 3, 2012

Win No. 100, crucial points on line versus Canisius

The inaugural puck drop on Robert Morris men's Hockey took place in 2004. Since then, the organization has racked up 99 wins. They'll be looking for the centennial victory tonight as they welcome the Canisius Golden Griffins to the Clearview Arena for a 7:05 faceoff.

The Colonials hope to rebound after suffering a sweep to the hands of Niagara last weekend. RMU will be looking to bring the appropriate amount of intensity for a full 120 minutes over the next 48 hours.

"I expect it to be a battle for us," head coach Derek Schooley said. "We have to bring the same amount of intensity and the same amount of passion that we had this past Saturday night, but we need to bring it for two games, not just one."

Even though the Golden Griffins are 4 places behind the Colonials in the Atlantic Hockey standings, they are just four points away, thanks to the competitiveness of the conference. The Colonials certainly won't be taking their opponents lightly.

"Canisius is a well coached hockey team," Schooley said. "They're a young team and they've been playing with a lot of enthusiasm."

Schooley is hoping that all 20 members that are dressed this evening will match that enthusiasm, especially junior forward Adam Brace, who will see his first full weekend of hockey in over a month after returning last Saturday night from a knee injury.

"It's been a tough year for me," Brace said. "I've had a couple of serious injuries, but it's hard to watch your team, even when they're doing well. It's nice to be back contributing."

Schooley will be looking for some much needed offense, thanks to the return of one of his most dangerous threats in the forward corps.

"Adam is a skilled player and obviously we missed him when he was out," Schooley said. "He's going to be a guy that makes plays in the offensive zone and once he gets his legs completely back under him I expect him to take another step. He is a point a game guy for us and we need to make sure we get him going again."

Although Robert Morris has a better statistical record, the two teams are very much alike in the grand scheme of things.

"They're similar to us," Brace said. "They're hard working. There's not a lot of offense, but I think it'll be a good solid defensive game."

With just eight games remaining in the regular season, each point is crucial. After this weekend, the Colonials play their final six contests against teams that are all currently ahead of them in the standings. Schooley prefers to focus on the present, however, and this weekend will be no different, starting with tonight's first shift.

"I expect it to be a challenge," Schooley said. "We have to bring our A game."

If Brace & Co. have anything to do with it, the confidence tonight, along with the next four weekends won't be an issue.

"We pretty much hold our own destiny," Brace said. "We're a confident bunch and we think we can get her done."

Tip-Ins:
- There was no update from Schooley on injured defenseman James Lyle, who has been wearing a sling on his arm as of late. Lyle was injured two weeks ago against the University of Connecticut.
- Game two of the home and home series takes place tomorrow evening from Buffalo, N.Y., also a 7:05 puck drop.

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