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January 16, 2014

RMU reignites season in AHA play

Sometimes, a cleansing of sorts is just what the doctor ordered. Or in this case, the bench boss.

The Robert Morris Colonials finished the 2013 portion of their current campaign with just two victories. With a new year came new possibilities, and new chances to win. So, they mixed ice with fire.

"We actually wrote down our failures and our disappointments of the first half (of the season)," said head coach Derek Schooley. "Each guy individually did it and we went outside and burned them. There's no use dwelling on the past."

The flames worked.

RMU amassed six out of a possible eight points, picking up three wins on a nine day road trip through the state of Connecticut, sweeping Sacred Heart, then splitting with UCONN, including a convincing 6-1 victory over the Huskies in the final contest of the journey.

"One of our goals on the four game trip was to come out 3-1," Schooley said. "Our guys achieved that goal because of their mindset. They played hard all four games."

After two 2-1 wins over the Pioneers on January 4-5, the club enjoyed the Big Apple, roaming through Times Square and taking in a Stars-Islanders contest on Long Island. They then bussed to Storrs, CT., falling in game one to UCONN by a 5-1 tally. RMU more than bounced back 24 hours later.

Five different Colonials tallied in the 6-1 win, including two from junior forward Cody Wydo, and the first on the year from redshirt senior defenseman Andrew Blazek.

"I haven't really been finding the back of the net as of late, but having those two goals boosted my confidence up even more," Wydo said. "Hopefully, it just keeps on rolling now."

"I'm really proud of how we responded to that on Friday," Blazek said of the UCONN victory. "The ability to get some secondary scoring and take some pressure off of guys that feel responsible for producing more offense (was great). The more guys we have scoring, the more we're going to win."

The squad will have plenty of chances to add to their 5-6-2 Atlantic Hockey record this weekend with American International coming to town to kickstart a six game homestand at the 84 Lumber Arena. It'll be the first contest on Neville Island since before Thanksgiving.

Schooley and company are aware that this isn't the AIC that he and some of the veteran players may be accustomed to skating against. Just behind RMU in the AHA standings, the Yellow Jackets have won three of their last five, and possess a power-play that converts on over 21 percent of its chances.

"They've got to be feeling good about themselves," Schooley said of his next opponent. "We need to come with the same mindset that we had against sacred heart and UConn. We want to be a tough team to play against.

"Just because we're home doesn't mean it's going to be easy. It's going to be a challenge and we have to make sure we're up for it."

As Blazek reiterated, it's good to be back within the friendly confines, but just because you've slept in your own bed the night before doesn't guarantee that the dreams will come to fruition.

"That's definitely not a team to take lightly," Blazek said. "They have some offense and we need to be ready."

Six in One:
The Colonials will play six in a row in the same building for the first and only time this season, hosting American International, Air Force and Army over the next three weekends, respectively. Friday's contest with AIC is a 7:05 puck drop; Saturday's festivities commence at 4:05.

Cody for Hobey:
Cody Wydo is RMU's lone member on the ballot for the 2014 Hobey Baker Award, presented annually to college hockey's top player. "It's a good thing for me and the team as well," Wydo said. "Having the RMU name out there is a good thing for our team."

The junior forward leads the team in goals with 14, and shares the lead in points with sophomore forward, Zac Lynch. A Southgate, Michigan native, Wydo already ranks second in program history with 48 goals. 2008 graduate Chris Margott tallied 64 from 2005 through 2008.

To vote for Wydo, visit hobeybaker.com through March 9th.

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