Colonials named 2021 Atlantic Hockey Western Pod Regular Season Champions

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Men’s hockey was named regular-season champions of the Atlantic Hockey western pod. Photo Credit: Nathan Breisinger

By Jonathan Hanna, Editor-in-Chief

After one of the strangest seasons ever for the Robert Morris men’s hockey team (14-7, 10-5-1), they can officially look towards the playoffs as they were named the 2021 Atlantic Hockey Western Pod Regular Season Champions.

Over in the eastern pod, it was the no. 16 American International (AIC) Yellow Jackets who were named the regular-season champions of their pod, and were also the top seed in the conference, going 13-3-0 with an 11-1-0 record in-conference, leading the conference outright with 32 points.

This marks AIC’s third consecutive AHC Regular Season Championship. However, the Yellow Jackets haven’t played since January 30 due to COVID concerns.

The Colonials’ championship hopes were sealed up as the Canisius Golden Griffins (8-5, 8-5), who could have overtaken RMU based on point percentage, were shutout at home by rival Niagara (4-10-3, 3-9-3-1).

Niagara and Canisius were the only teams in conference action over the weekend, as the rest of Atlantic Hockey was struggling with COVID quarantines.

The Colonials’ final series of the season against Mercyhurst (8-11-1, 7-8-1-2) was canceled due to COVID. This marked the Colonials’ eighth and ninth games of the season to either be postponed or canceled due to COVID.

As the Colonials look ahead to the Atlantic Hockey playoffs, they, along with AIC, Army (13-4-1-0, 10-3-1-1), Canisius, and RIT (9-7-2, 7-5-1) will receive first-round byes in the tournament. For this year’s playoff, the top two teams in each pod received a bye (RMU, AIC, Army, and Canisius), while RIT was the top-seeded third-place team based on point percentage; beating out Sacred Heart (6-8-2, 6-6-1) (.577 v .500).

As a result, the Air Force Falcons (3-9-1, 3-9-1) will be slotted into the East Division and they are set to take on Bentley (4-11-0, 4-11-0) in the first round.

Barring COVID cancellations and postponements, the Colonials will host the lowest seed remaining in the western pod on March 12 in a best-of-three quarterfinal matchup.