The Week in Sports: Hockey Recap
by Alexander Jones | published Mar. 13th, 2015
RIT vs. Mercyhurst (3/6)
The RIT women's hockey team has had a truly inspiring season this year, and the game this past Friday, March 6 against top-seeded Mercyhurst felt like an exclamation point. The Tigers have been absolutely on fire recently and managed to pull off a 4-1 win against Mercyhurst in what was probably the underdog comeback of the year. What makes this win all the more impressive was the fact that it was on the road and the Tigers were deep within Mercyhurst territory at the Mercyhurst Ice Arena.
Second year forward and Biomedical Sciences major Mackenzie Stone played a terrific game on Friday, chalking up a goal and an assist alongside second year forward and Liberal Arts Exploration major Cassie Clayton, who also helped solidify RIT’s win with another goal/assist combo. RIT’s remaining two goals of the night came from fourth year forward and Psychology major Marissa Maugeri as well as second year forward and Business Marketing major Caitlin Wallace. Fourth year goaltender and Finance major Ali Binnington, who has previously been profiled by Reporter for her excellent performance, also played a great game, stopping 26 of the 27 shots that came her way and also racking up her first career assist.
Heading into the CHA championships the following day, RIT was on a seven-game winning streak, ending the 2013-14 women’s hockey team on a tremendous high note.
RIT vs. Syracuse (3/7)
The following night, Saturday, March 7, the RIT women’s hockey team made history by winning their second-straight CHA Championship title, officially advancing them to the NCAA’s for the very first time as a Division I program. While speaking to SportsZone, head coach Scott McDonald was able to voice his astonishment and gratitude for his team while still taking in what had just happened.
“I can't say enough about this team. What they have accomplished is incredible,” McDonald said. “This was our goal, to win the CHA Tournament, regardless of what seed we were. We are excited to represent our league in the NCAA tournament next week."
It was as nail-biting a game as any recent women’s hockey game has been, with just about every player putting forth outstanding performances on the ice. The outcome of the game rested on the shoulders of third year forward and New Media Marketing major Carly Payerl, who scored for RIT three minutes into an edge-of-your-seat double-overtime. Payerl’s goal brought the Tigers up 2-1 over second-seed Syracuse, the first one having been shot by fourth year forward/defense and Psychology major Lindsay Grigg. Binngington was once again a force to be reckoned with on the ice, stopping 44 of the whopping 45 shots that came at her and earning the CHA Tournament Most Valuable Player title for the second season in a row. After Payerl’s goal, the entire team stormed the ice and piled on top of each other in celebration in what was a truly fitting (and beautiful) moment for the end of an excellent season.
RIT vs. Mercyhurst (2/27)
RIT’s entire hockey program has been having some sort of a hot streak recently, but that doesn’t even feel like a term that does either the men's or women’s teams' recent accomplishments any justice. Aside from the women’s team’s astonishing seven-game winning streak, both teams have been closing out the regular season nothing short of exceptionally, pulling off major wins left and right while showcasing professional, aggressive performances on the ice with little to no sign of relenting. The men's team’s stunning 8-0 shutout win against Mercyhurst on Friday, Feb. 27 was an inspiring thing to witness, setting the stage at the Gene Polisseni Center for what would ultimately be a show-stopping finish to the regular season.
The stars of the show on Friday night were undoubtedly fourth year forward and Business Management major Matt Garbowsky and fourth year forward and Business Management major Brad McGowan. While the entire team played a relentless game, Garbowsky and McGowan stood out from the pack as two players whose contributions to the team as a whole should never be ignored or undermined. Garbowsky made RIT men’s hockey history by becoming the very first player in RIT Division 1 history to pull off two hat-tricks within a single season — which is no easy accomplishment. On top of that, McGowan scored his 100th career point, becoming only the eighth player to do so since RIT moved to Division 1. It was a night full of accomplishment, and while speaking to SportsZone, head coach Wayne Wilson seemed confident and collected about the win and the following night’s game.
"We gave a consistent effort for 60 minutes tonight," Wilson said. "I was very happy with how we played on both ends, we did a great job shutting a good offensive team in Mercyhurst down. We are building momentum toward the playoff run."
RIT vs. Mercyhurst (2/28)
Maybe the Tigers were just riding off the high of the previous night’s shut out win against Mercyhurst, but whatever they were feeling seemed to work out for them in the end. Saturday, Feb. 28’s 2-1 win against Mercyhurst was a truly fitting end to the men's hockey regular season. While Saturday’s win wasn’t nearly as dramatic as Friday’s, it was still a riveting game to watch as the Tigers played in front of over 3,000 fans at the Gene Polisseni Center.
One of the most exciting moments of the game, and perhaps the most crucial, came from first year forward and Business Management major Myles Powell, who scored for RIT into Mercyhurst’s empty net with less than 40 seconds left in overtime. Powell’s goal broke the 1-1 tie and brought the Tigers up to a 2-1 win over Mercyhurst, much to the elation of the fans crowding the stadium. It was an immensely exciting night for both the team and fans alike, and one that won’t be forgotten any time soon.