If you’ve never been to the Island Sports Center to check out the Robert Morris Colonials, it’s our hope that this little preview of their program will give you some things to watch for when the Colonials take the ice this Thursday against rivals RIT.

So, let’s start off with the obvious.

Why is this game important for RMU?

This isn’t just another regular season game. This is a statement game for Robert Morris. The upstart Colonials are off to the best start in the history of the program. This is Robert Morris’ first year in Atlantic Hockey. The defending power-house of that conference is the Rochester Institute of Technology. Robert Morris currently finds itself second in the Atlantic Hockey conference, one point behind RIT. A win moves them to a solid first place in the conference and makes a statement to the rest of Atlantic Hockey. Unbeaten in regulation this season, RMU is riding a five game win streak and is also unbeaten in six, so a win can bring a ton of good attention to the program.

What style of hockey does RMU play?

Physical. Head coach Derek Schooley has the entire team investing themselves in an intimidating and physical style of hockey. Robert Morris plays each game as if they were bullied around in the previous engagement. In some instances this season, their physical game has goaded other teams into major penalties at key moments of the contest. But that doesn’t mean the Colonials are goons, they just play the game the right way. There’s a lot of finesse in the lineup, as well. Leading the way in that regard, are two superstar seniors that power this team.

Who are the big names to watch on Thursday?

C – #21 – Nathan Longpre – Senior – Peterborough, Ontario

Longpre is the most talented player on the Robert Morris roster and has been an offensive juggernaut for the Colonials, especially this season. He is one of those players that you can pinpoint with a future at the next level of hockey. Currently riding a career long six game point streak, Longpre’s game is a combination of smarts, snipes, and dangle ability. He’s an extremely crafty player that can beat goaltenders with a wicked wrister or sneak a pass through traffic to the stick of an open forward. Longpre alone is worth the price of admission to this game. He has 26 points (9+17) in 17 games this season.

D – #44 – Denny Urban – Senior – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The all-time leading point scorer among defensemen in RMU history has taken the team on his back a few times this season. Urban might not be the biggest guy on the ice, but his hands and dangle ability will take you out of your seat. He takes chances with the puck but has the wheels to get back into the play when things don’t go right. The flow of the power-play runs through #44. He’s also capable in the boards and can play a physical style game. A recent training camp invitee courtesy of the Penguins, Urban is good for at least one moment in each game that leaves you asking “how did he do that?”

Who are the most physical players on the team?

D – #4 – Brock Meadows – Senior – White Rock, B.C.

Meadows has been on the shelf for a few games with what Coach Schooley called an undisclosed upper body injury, but if he’s in the game on Thursday, he’ll be punishing opposing forwards. Brock Meadows is a downright nasty individual. When games get testy, Meadows is at the helm. That being said, he’s sound positionally, has decent enough wheels, and plays the game the right way. Meadows patrolling the blue line means bad news for RIT. When he’s healthy, there isn’t a more dangerous player on the ice in terms of hits.

C – #17 – Chris Kushneriuk – Senior – Ottawa, Ontario

The captain of the Colonials does it all. He can play physical, create chances offensively, break up rushes on the backcheck, and block shots in key instances. Kushneriuk is no stranger to hitting, however, and the captain often leads the way in this department. You’ll see Kushneriuk do a little bit of everything inside CONSOL this week.

F – #18 – Ron Cramer – Junior – New Wilmington, PA

Pens fans are all too familiar with Matt Cooke being penalized just because his last name is Cooke. Welcome to the life of Ron Cramer. A marked man by the NCAA officials, Cramer is, hands down, the nastiest player on the Colonials roster. He’s an exceptional penalty killer and is a solid player at both ends of the ice. You’ll see Cramer wreaking havoc all over the ice. His speed makes him a threat at multiple levels.

Who is RMU going to rely on for scoring in the future?

F – #28 – Adam Brace – Sophomore – Cobden, Ontario

Brace is in the midst of a great sophomore season for RMU. He sat out all of last year due to NCAA transfer regulations, but has been nothing short of solid so far this year, registering 13 points (5+8) in 18 games.

F – #10 – Trevor Lewis – Junior – Lititz, PA

Lewis hasn’t been on the score sheet as much as you’d like to see this year, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t doing all the right things on the ice.

F – #14 – Zach Hervato – Sophomore – Stittsville, Ontario

Hervato 7th on the team in scoring as a sophomore and has a displayed a unique ability to get to where the puck is going to end up. He’s one point shy of his total last year in approximately half the games. Like the rest of the Colonials, he’s a great skater and is very opportunistic.

Who else should we be watching?

G – #35 – Brooks Ostergard – Junior – Chagrin Falls, OH

The Colonials goaltender is big in the net and extremely resilient. Having Ostergard return for another season at RMU is key to the program.

F – #9 – Nick Chiavetta – Junior – Harrisburg, PA

Chiavetta is an exceptional penalty killer and is a staunch defensive presence at forward. The RMU penalty kill has been very good recently, Chiavetta is a key part of that.