The WCU Hockey team completed its regular season this past weekend as they swept the Robert Morris (Pa.) Colonials by the score of 7-2 on Friday night and 5-3 on Saturday afternoon. Friday’s game saw more balanced scoring on the part of the Golden Rams as six different players scored in the drubbing of the 19th ranked Colonials. Robert Morris came into the game 18-8-3 and on a three game winning streak. Unfortunately for them, and fortunately for WCU, few teams can come into Iceline Arena and improve their record, and the Colonials found that out the hard way this weekend.
Freshman defenseman Steve Jones paced the Golden Rams with a pair of goals on Friday night. In addition, sophomore Jeff Shockley continued his recent torrid goal scoring pace as he notched his fifth goal in the past three weeks, a very impressive number for a defensemen, and even more impressive considering he had zero career goals before this three week stretch.
Increased scoring from the backend has to please head coach Mark Gonsalves, as his young defensemen have struggled to replace the scoring prowess that last year’s defenseman possessed. Junior forward Adam Jordan, a player more well-known for his penalty-killing ability and defensive awareness, scored his fourth goal of the season to further diversify the scoring.
Enter WCU’s usual suspects. The top line, comprised of Robert Bushman, Jim Gehring and Pat Johnson, combined for three goals to put the game out of reach for Robert Morris.
It’s been said many times this season, but WCU’s top line can match up with any line in the country. Gehring and Johnson are #1 and #2 in the national scoring race and have been for the entire season, and Bushman excels at digging the puck out of the corners and setting up the two snipers, who are locks for the ACHA All-American team.
Saturday’s game saw the Golden Rams skate away with a 5-3 win, and finished their home slate for the regular season with a sparkling 14-1 record. The only loss at Iceline came to #6 Liberty a day after the Rams had beaten them.
The game could officially be dubbed as “The Pat Johnson Show.” Johnson, who had been relatively quiet on the score sheet lately, scored four of WCU’s five goals and picked a great time to hit his stride as the Rams enter the ECHA playoffs next week. Bushman scored the other goal to put the nail in the Colonials’ coffin.
Starting this upcoming weekend, the Rams begin their second season as they will host the ECHA playoffs. Due to their perfect 10-0 ECHA record, they will receive a bye through the quarterfinal round and they will be well rested for their semi-final opponent, which could be Lehigh, Maryland or Villanova. The Rams handled all three of these teams rather easily this season, but anything is possible in the playoffs.
Stony Brook University will also receive a bye as the #2 team, and they will face the highest remaining seed in the semi-finals. A third West Chester vs. Stony Brook match up is likely for the finals, and the Rams will try to bring home their first ever ECHA playoff tournament win.
Matt Chandik is a third-year undecided student. He can be reached at MC618553@wcupa.edu.