We've known about this tournament for a while, but on Monday, the Pittsburgh Penguins made it official -- announcing the tournament field for the second annual Three Rivers Classic. Boston College will join Bowling Green, Penn State and Robert Morris in the tournament on December 27-28 at CONSOL Energy Center, the home of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
On Friday, December 27, Boston College will face Bowling Green at 4:30 p.m. and Penn State will meet Robert Morris at 7:30 p.m. The consolation and championship games will be held Saturday, Dec. 28 at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Bowling Green is coming off a 15-21-5 season in the last year of the CCHA. This season, the Falcons join the new look WCHA along with former CCHA members Alaska-Fairbanks, Ferris State, Lake Superior State and Northern Michigan. The Falcons were picked to finish fourth in the WCHA by the coaches, behind Minnesota State, Ferris State and Michigan Tech. Bowling Green last made the NCAA Tournament in 1990 under then-Falcons Head Coach Jerry York.
Penn State's hockey program is more notable for its off-ice contribution to college hockey than its on-ice one. In 2010, the school announced plans to elevate the men's program to NCAA Division I. Following that announcement, the Big Ten then announced plans to begin sponsoring men's ice hockey as a varsity sport starting in 2013-14. The formation of the Big Ten Hockey Conference completely redrew the conference lines out west and resulted in Notre Dame joining Hockey East. Last season, Penn State's only as a D-I independent, the Nittany Lions finished 13-14-0 on the year playing a mixed NCAA / ACHA schedule.
Robert Morris is the defending Three Rivers Classic champ, if that's an actual thing, having defeated Miami in last year's championship game. The Colonials, hosts of last year's Frozen Four in Pittsburgh, ended up on the wrong side of the NCAA Tournament bubble after getting bounced by UConn in the Atlantic Hockey Tournament Quarterfinals. RMU finished the year 20-14-4 and 13-11-3 in AHA play.
Outside of Boston College, this year's Three Rivers Classic tournament field is largely unspectacular. This also wasn't the first trip to Pittsburgh's CONSOL Energy Center that York had in mind for the program. Still, this may be just the holiday tournament that the Eagles need. Boston College will definitely be without associate head coach Greg Brown over the winter break and may be without several key contributors as the U.S. National Team competes at the IIHF World Junior Championships in Malmo, Sweden.
Tickets may be purchased at ticketmaster.com, at all TicketMaster outlets, at the CONSOL Energy Center box office or by calling 800-745-3000.