IU (11-16-2) returns to action this weekend in the team’s regular season finale at #10 Robert Morris. The Hoosiers had a week away from conference action last weekend after being swept at #12 Illinois. This weekend will also be the team's final conference series before the playoffs start next week in Athens, Ohio.
Indiana had time to regroup last week after a tough outing on the big pond at Illinois two weeks ago. The Hoosiers were held in check in a 5-0 shutout on Friday night. The team turned in a better effort on Saturday, but was unable to maintain two separate one-goal leads en route to a 5-2 defeat. Alex Santostefano and Joey Tullis scored for IU on Saturday, while Mike Reed was in net for both losses.
The two losses pointed out a theme of the second semester: shaky defensive zone play. The Hoosiers have held opponents to under three goals just once since returning from break and have allowed more than four goals on four occasions. After being swept at Illinois, IU remains stuck at 14 points and sixth place in the CSCHL, six points ahead of last place Kent State.
Robert Morris (22-5-1) is coming off a series split against the same Illini squad last weekend. The Eagles lost a 5-2 decision last Friday before coming back to take game two 2-1. With the split, RMU sits at 36 points and fourth place in the conference standings, just two points ahead of the fifth-place Illini.
The Eagles have been led this season by the trio of Tony Domico, Chris Cimoch and Rock Einerson. Domico and Cimoch are tied for the team lead in points with 35 while Einerson leads in goals with 19. The three have filled in nicely for last year’s leading scorer, sophomore Gehrett Sargis, who has played in only nine games this season, registering 10 points. Anthony Petrak and Andy DiCristofaro have fared well in net, each sporting a .900-plus save percentage and sub-three goals against average.
The Last Time
The Hoosiers and Eagles met earlier this season in Bloomington. RMU took a close 3-1 win in game one before routing IU 7-0 in game two. Scoring was spread out for Robert Morris, as 13 different Eagles registered a point in the two games. Only two Hoosiers were mentioned on the score sheet, with Pete Aldendifer assisting on Alex Santostefano’s lone IU tally.
This weekend will mark the end of CSCHL play this season, and points will be at a premium considering the possible movement in the standings. Indiana sits six points ahead of Kent State, but only has the opportunity to gain six points this weekend as IU and RMU have played twice already. Should the Golden Flashes take six points this weekend, they would jump ahead of Indiana on the tiebreaker. Likewise, Robert Morris is only two points ahead of Illinois for fourth and only one point behind Iowa State for third.
While IU and Robert Morris square off this weekend, the Illini will take on regular season champ Lindenwood and Kent State will play in-state rival Ohio. Iowa State has finished up conference play. Depending on the outcome of this weekend, The Hoosiers could face the Bobcats, Cyclones, Eagles or Illini in the first round of the CSCHL tournament next weekend.
This weekend’s games will both be 8:30pm ET start times at the Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville, Ill. Friday's game will be broadcast live on PBS-TV channel 10 in Chicago.