Boston College, Bowling Green, Penn State and Robert Morris are set to begin competition in the second annual Three Rivers Classic on Friday at CONSOL Energy Center.
Play opens at 4:30 p.m. when No. 7 Boston College takes on Bowling Green. Penn State and Robert Morris follows at 7:30 p.m. The winner of each game will face off in the championship game on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The consolation game will precede the championship game with puck drop set for 4:30 p.m.
All four teams have interesting storylines to follow coming into the tournament. Robert Morris enters as the defending Three Rivers Classic champion, and will look to defend that title and upset a nationally ranked opponent for the second-straight year. Tournament regular Penn State looks to build on the success the program had in its first year in 2012-13. Bowling Green is the alma mater of Penguins’ coaches Dan Bylsma and Todd Reirden. And Boston College enters ranked in the top-10 nationally and is a perennial power in the Hockey East. Lots of highly anticipated college hockey action coming up at CONSOL Energy Center over the next two days.
For more on Bylsma and Reirden’s connection to BC head coach Jerry York, click here.
For updates throughout the Three Rivers Classic, be sure to stay tuned to this page and follow @3RiversClassic on Twitter.
Game One: Boston College vs. Bowling Green
Period 1: BC 3, BGSU 0
The ice was tilted heavily in favor of BC in the first period, with the Eagles scoring three goals in the opening period. The Boston College forecheck had no trouble retrieving pucks and turning that offensive zone time into quality scoring chances. Johnny Gaudreau opened the scoring on a backhand shot that rang off the post and caromed in the net. Gaudreau, more commonly known as ‘Johnny Hockey,’ assisted on the Eagles’ second goal, scored by Pittsburgh-native Travis Jeke on a play that looked like an instant replay of Boston College’s first goal as Jeke beat the Bowling Green netminder with a shot high and to the glove side. Two BGSU power plays resulted in a couple of quality scoring chances for the Falcons, but the nation’s fifth-ranked penalty kill looked the part in clearing the puck down the ice with every opportunity and limiting the opposing scoring chances.
Period 2: BC 4, BGSU 0
Bowling Green came out in the second period having made noticeable adjustments that were effective in slowing down the BC offensive attack. After winning key offensive zone faceoffs, the Falcons’ were able to establish a cycle and forced turnovers that resulted in quality chances, but couldn’t beat Boston College goaltender Brian Billett who proved to be up to the challenge. He cancelled out every single one of the BGSU chances and bailed out his defense on multiple occasions. Scott Savage tallied for BC to stretch the lead to 4-0, turning a faceoff win into a goal as the defenseman stepped to the top of the circle unmarked and fired a wrist shot into the top shelf.
Final: BC 5, BGSU 0
Boston College came out in the third and returned to dominating play like they did in the first. A BC power play early in the period turned into extended zone time against a tired group of Bowling Green penalty killers. BGSU forward Matt Pohlkamp came closest to scoring, beating Billett over his shoulder but the puck banged off the post and ricocheted to the corner. Boston College defenseman Michael Matheson scored the final goal of the game with less than twenty seconds remaining. BC finished the game outshooting BGSU by a 38-27 margin. The Eagles will carry the momentum of this win into tomorrow night’s championship game against the winner of Penn State vs. Robert Morris.
Game Two: Penn State vs. Robert Morris
Period 1: PSU 0, RMU 0
In-state rivals Robert Morris and Penn State traded first period chances, but both goaltenders kept the puck out of the back of the net during the first period. A Colonials’ 5-on-3 power-play opportunity midway through the period gave them their best scoring chances, but McKees Rocks native Matthew Skoff stood tall in net for the Nittany Lions, making 10 saves. RMU goaltender Terry Shafer stopped 13 shots in the first. The two teams skated up and down the ice, trading chances for the first fifteen minutes until the game tightened and the squads got more physical in the final minutes.
Period 2: RMU 2, PSU 1
Defenseman Tyson Wilson’s first goal of the season opened the scoring for Robert Morris, turning a Cody Wydo faceoff win in the offensive zone into a goal. Wilson stepped into the high slot off the faceoff and delivered a one-time slapshot past Skoff for the game’s first goal. After multiple power play chances, defenseman Nate Jensen knotted the score minutes later when he fired a wrist shot through traffic that found its way past Shafer. Despite the goal, Shafer was fantastic all period, especially when making a sliding save to prevent a goal from a two-on-one chance at the five-minute mark. The story of the period was the Nittany Lions consistently putting the puck on net but not converting, as the Colonials’ managed to take the lead with just over a minute left despite being outshot 46-18 so far in the game.
Final: PSU 3, RMU 2
Penn State tallied halfway through the period on the power play to tie the game at two. The goal was scored on a rebound that squeaked out in front of Shafer and came on Penn State’s 54th shot of the night. Both teams tightened up defensively in the final 10 minutes, with the battle getting much more physical, something most expected this game would be coming in after the two played a one-goal game earlier this season. Eric Scheid cashed in the game-winning goal with 1:40 remaining off of a long rebound, sliding the puck on the ice just past the outstretched pad of Shafer. With the goalie pulled, Robert Morris used the extra attacker but couldn’t get the puck past Skoff in the final seconds. The final shot count was 62-27 in favor of Penn State.
Matchups for Saturday:
4:30 p.m. Consolation Game – Robert Morris vs. Bowling Green
7:30 p.m. Championship Game – Penn State vs. Boston College
Consolation Game: Robert Morris vs. Bowling Green
Period 1: BGSU 1, RMU 0
Robert Morris and Bowling Green opened up the second day of action at the Three Rivers Classic with an exciting first period in the consolation game. Robert Morris goaltender Terry Shafter, coming off a 59-save performance in a loss to Penn State on Friday, made 11 saves but was beat by a Brett Mohler wrist shot that gave the Falcons a 1-0 lead. The chance for Mohler was created by teammate Brent Tate, who won a puck battle behind the net and dished a pass on his backhand that bounced off an RMU defender to the blade of Mohler. He chipped the puck off the right shoulder of Shafer and in. Freshman goalie Tomas Sholl was only forced to make three saves in the first 20 minutes for Bowling Green.
Period 2: BGSU 2, RMU 0
Bryce Williamson scored on the power play for Bowling Green, pushing the lead to two for the Falcons. A Ben Murphy shot from the circle clanked off the post behind Shafer and fell into the crease. Williamson, who had been settled right in front of the blue paint, turned around and batted the puck into the net before Shafer could react. Robert Morris had multiple power-play opportunities and recorded 13 shots in the period but failed to get the puck past Sholl.
During the second period, details were released for the airing of the Three Rivers Classic championship game on ROOT Sports. The battle between Boston College and Penn State will air at the following times:
Jan. 4, 2014 – 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 5, 2014 – 4:30 p.m.
Jan. 7, 2014 – 6:30 p.m.
Steve Kolbe, Andrew Taglianetti and two-time Stanley Cup champion Peter Taglianetti will be on the call for the championship game.
Final: BGSU 3, RMU 2
Bowling Green forward Kevin Dufour’s fourth goal of the season proved to be the Falcons’ game-winning goal that sent defending Three Rivers Classic champion Robert Morris back to Moon Township empty handed. Robert Morris scored on the power play with 6:25 to go to narrow the deficit to two, but a strong Falcons’ penalty kill proved to be the difference. RMU used an extra attacker for the final two minutes, scoring with 23.6 seconds to go to make it a one-goal game. The last-minute effort by the Colonials’ was not enough, as a shot attempt that would have tied the game was blocked with less than five seconds remaining.
Championship Game: Boston College vs. Penn State
Period 1: BC 2, PSU 1
Penn State came out firing on all cylinders and was rewarded for their hard work five minutes into the first period, when a Casey Bailey goal gave them the early, 1-0 lead. Bailey grabbed hold of a beautiful cross-ice pass from Jonathan Milley and fired the puck past the outstretched pad of BC goaltender Brian Billett. The ice began to shift in favor of the Eagles as the period went on, but PSU had several quality scoring chances that sailed just wide. Eagles’ forward Ryan Fitzgerald tied the game at one on the power play after Johnny Gaudreau used his speed to draw a hooking penalty. Following the power-play goal, BC really started to control play and senior Kevin Hayes’ score gave them a one-goal advantage headed into the first intermission.
Period 2: BC 5, PSU 1
The Eagles took flight in the second period, cruising to a four-goal cushion headed into the final period of the Three Rivers Classic championship game. Goals from Isaac MacLeod, Johnny Gaudreau and Destry Straight gave BC the lead it deserved after outplaying PSU since the 10-minute mark of the first period. Gaudreau’s goal was special, as the fourth-round pick of the Calgary Flames came streaking down the slot and used a pair of head-and-shoulder fakes to get Skoff off his line before he slid the puck around his right pad. Despite being outplayed severely, PSU has just one less shot (25-24) after two periods than Boston College.
Final: BC 8, PSU 2
Boston College Wins Second Annual Three Rivers Classic
Boston College received a goal from defenseman Danny Linell to add to the score sheet for the Eagles in the Three Rivers Classic title game. Linell’s goal gave all six BC defenseman goals in the tournament. The champions controlled possession in the third, with Destry Straight and Michael Sit adding goals for the Eagles and topping off the second annual Three Rivers Classic at CONSOL Energy Center.
Penn State forward David Goodwin scored the lone goal in the third for the Nittany Lions. This group will now have some time now to prepare for No. 1 Minnesota in a highly anticipated home series on Jan. 12-13.