For the fifth annual Three Rivers Classic held at PPG Paints Arena, four NCAA teams battle it out to become the champion. The 2016 tournament features defending champions Robert Morris, #6 ranked Boston College, #14 ranked Quinnipiac, and Ferris State University.
To begin the evening Boston College, and Quinnipiac faced off in a fierce battle.
GAME 1: Boston College vs Quinnipiac
#6 ranked BC was short handed coming into this tournament, being without three top players as they are representing USA in the World Junior Championship.
To begin the first period, the Quinnipiac Bobcats had controlled play for most of the to start the game. At 11:20 in the first period it seemed like BC had finally got a good chance, and scored the first goal of the tournament, but a quick whistle by the refs waved off that goal. Alhtough the shots were only 8-5 with Quinnipiac having the advantage, they gave BC a tough time breaking the puck out, and getting any decent scoring chances. By far the best chance of the period came from BC off of a penalty shot that was stopped by goaltender Chris Truehl.
Quinnipiac netted the first goal of the tournament as Junior Tanner MacMaster scored at the 9:17 mark in the second period. The second period was a fast, and physical period. this was to be expected by this pair of top 15 NCAA schools. BC was able to tie the game with 34.6 seconds left in the period after they killed a penalty and hit the player coming out of the box, generating a two on zero against the goalie. Freshman, Graham McPhee made no mistake by barring the puck into the empty cage after some pretty passing by the BC players.
Bad penalties proved to be the difrecene maker in this one, as Quinnipiac had two power plays in the first 12 minutes of the third period. scoring on one of those power plays was sophomore Craig Martian at 11:56. Just 4 minutes later Bo Peiper netted another power play goal to put Quinnipiac up 3-1. Quinnipiac was able to hang on to their two goal lead, and defeat the #6 ranked Eagles 3-1.
GAME 2: RMU vs Ferris State
From the drop of the puck both teams were flying. Speed, and physicality were clearly part of both teams game plans. RMU was unable to capitalize on two Ferris State penalties. Going 0-2 on the power play was RMU, but they generated a few good chances. Shots after the 1st were 14-9 in favor of RMU
Four minutes into the second period, RMU was able to take advantage of a bad turnover in the Ferris State zone and score the first goal of the game. Daniel Leavens was the goal scorer for the Colonials. RMU wass able to generate mulitple odd man chances on the PK, and at even strength but goaltender Darren Smith. Sticks in lanes were a huge for RMU, as the ended the second period having a shot advantage more than 10 over Ferris State. 29-18.
Into the third period the Colonials were able to lock it down defensively. Not getting to many chances offensively, but playing smart, and a trap style hockey to close out the game. RMU picked up the victory, and a big part of that win was goalie Francis Marotte who stopped all 30 shots from Ferris State.
The first day of the Three Rivers Classic was full of speed, big hits, and even bigger saves. Battling for third place will be the Boston College Eagles, and the Ferris State Bulldogs. Looking to defend their title is the Robert Morris Colonials vs the Quinnipiac Bobcats. It is shaping up to be yet another amazing tournament in Pittsburgh.