By Larry Snyder
Cranberry Twp, Pa – While the challenge to revive Robert Morris University Men’s and Women’s hockey programs remain, for a couple of hours on Sunday, November 7, RMU players took to the ice again. The puck dropped on the Robert Morris Celebrity Hockey Face-Off fundraiser.
The college hockey landscape was dramatically changed in May 2021 when Robert Morris decided to discontinue ice hockey. Earnings from ticket sales, raffle items, autographed memorabilia, 50/50, and more went to the “Hockey is the Goal” drive. Spearheaded by the Pittsburgh College Hockey Foundation and Derek Schooley, the head coach/director of men’s and women’s hockey operations at RMU, the revenue from the event will hopefully meet the December 2021 deadline to see both teams return for the 2022-2023 campaign.
After two 30-minute halves of fun, exhibition action with a running clock, the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex scoreboard read the Colonials Alumni squad with 12 and the Pittsburgh Celebrity All-Stars 11. When the final horn sounded, the sold-out crowd showered both teams with applause as they enjoyed a shootout contest involving all of the participants.
A Look At The Rosters…
Early assault of the score sheet in the first half saw the RMU Alumni crew get seven goals past Celebrity All-Star goalie Travis Marzina of The X Radio. Ashley Vesci claimed a pair in less than two minutes to close out the half. Nick Chiavetta, Andrew Blazek, Gavin Gulash, David Friedmann, and Brendan Jamison chipped in one goal apiece. Former Pittsburgh Penguin Colby Armstrong, Ryan Russell (Jacob Ardown Of The “On The Bench” Podcast), and Chris Mack of 93.7 The Fan found the back of the net for three points for the All-Stars.
RMU goaltender Karac Davis found himself under siege from the All-Stars in the second half. Armstrong claimed two more goals while former Penguins Phil Bourque, Tyler Kennedy, Erie Tangradi, and Ryan Malone chipped in one apiece. Former Army West Point Black Knight David Andros and “Jacob” from the “On The Bench” podcast finished the barrage with one point each.
For the Robert Morris Alumni, defenseman Kirsten Welsh added two goals in just under four minutes and linemate Maggie Lague contributed a tally to the box score. The duo of Chiavetta and Jamison collected one more score on the afternoon.
There was only one penalty issued by referee Ian MacLean and it was to Blazek at approximately 19:18 in the second half for “trying too hard during a charity game.” Blazek found himself in another interesting situation when he locked up with former Pittsburgh Steeler Brett Keissel during a face-off.
PUCK POINTS: The fund-raising continues with a post-game auction at https://e.givesmart.com/events/owo/
“Olly Postanin” from the “On The Bench” podcast is Steve Campbell. He and “Jacob” are two Canadian hockey coaches and social media stars in the hockey world with their broadcasts.
Retired WTAE news anchor Sally Wiggin lent her support to the Celebrity All-Star bench. The Chatham University Men’s Hockey head coach Michael Gershon was a last-minute addition to the All-Star player roster. Chatham’s Chris Kostick served as the equipment manager, and RMU’s Tim Goldinger offered his skills as the athletic trainer.
I had the honor and privilege to be the public address announcer for the contest. George Geregach took care of the scoreboard duties, and Robert Dinell handled the tunes as the rink DJ. The RMU Band added to the fun throughout the event.
Pittsburgh’s Justin Fabus was in the house…
In addition to the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex and Robert Morris Hockey, corporate sponsors included K&L Gates, the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League, J.A. Sauer Heating, and Air Conditioning Company, and AE Works. Phantoms’ associate head coach Andy Contois and assistant coach Brandon Gotkin plus Jeffrey Huerbin of J.A. Sauer, were the coaches for the Celebrity All-Stars.
Finally, mascots on the ice…