Tigers Complete Season Sweep of AIC
by Tommy Kane | published Jan. 16th, 2019
The RIT men’s hockey team (10-8-2, 8-6-2 AHA) swept the American International College Yellowjackets (9-11-1, 9-7-1 AHA) on Jan. 11 and Jan. 12, 2019 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass.
With the two wins against the Yellowjackets, the Tigers swept the season series, going a perfect 4-0 for the 2018–19 season.
Our men’s hockey team swept the Yellowjackets earlier in the 2018–19 season, with both games in the series taking place at the Gene Polisseni Center in Rochester, N.Y.
Second year Business Management major and goalie for the Tigers, Logan Drackett, knew exactly what the team had to focus on going into the series.
“I think we need to focus on our own game,” he explained. “We can’t worry about AIC’s game plan. We know that they are a very skilled team and we can’t make costly mistakes because they will take advantage of them.”
Fourth year Packaging Science major and forward for the Tigers, Abbott Girduckis, has been having an outstanding first half of the season. Coming into the series he has led the team with 21 points.
“Nothing really changes,” he said. “You go out there and continue to play the same way every game. If stuff seems to happen between you and your linemates then great, if not then you just go out and play the same way every shift. You don’t really think about where you are positioned [in the points standings].”
Historic Milestones Along with a Win
In the first game of the series, the Tigers took no time continuing their success from the previous week.
According to RIT Athletics, fourth year Accounting major and forward for the Tigers Gabe Valenzuela scored off a rebound on a five-on-three powerplay. He gave the team a 1-0 lead in the first five minutes of the first period.
Just 46 seconds later, fourth year Biomedical Engineering major and forward for RIT, Erik Brown scored on a powerplay, giving RIT a 2-0 lead.
With that goal, Brown scored his 100th career point, making him the 11th Tiger to ever do so.
The first period finished with our men’s hockey team killing a five-minute major penalty. Fourth year New Media Marketing major and forward for the Tigers, Mark Logan, hit an AIC skater from behind and was ejected from the rest of the match.
In the second period, not much action happened other than a few big saves from Drackett. He bailed out the Tigers a few times to secure the shut-out through the second period.
RIT also had to kill two penalties that were against them in the second period, which also helped them go into the second intermission up 2-0.
The Tigers started the third period similarly to the first period. Valenzuela scored 52 seconds into the period by shoving the puck past AIC goalie, Zackarias Skog. That goal gave Valenzuela his 100th career point as a Tiger, making him the 12th player to achieve such a feat.
Not too long after, the Yellowjackets were able to score their first goal of the game. Blake Christensen was able to get the puck past Drackett, cutting the Tiger lead to 3-1.
A little over a minute later, the Yellowjackets struck again. Martin Mellberg scored on a powerplay, making it 3-2 RIT.
Then, first year Business Exploration major and forward for the Tigers, Will Calverley, increased the Tiger lead 4-2 .
Less than two minutes later, Justin Cole of AIC snuck the puck past Drackett. He cut the lead once again, 4-3.
Third year Finance major and forward for RIT, Shawn Cameron, answered the previous goal and scored one of his own off a face-off with around five minutes remaining in the third period. RIT led 5-3.
With around a minute left, AIC pulled their goalie and sent on an extra attacker. The game ended with an empty net goal for Brown, as the Tigers won 6-3.
Our men’s hockey team registered 27 shots, while AIC had 33 shots. RIT scored twice on the powerplay, while AIC only scored once on the powerplay. In the Tiger net, Drackett saved 30 of 33 (.909) shots, as Skog stopped 21 of 26 (.808) shots for the Yellowjackets.
Season Sweep ... Check
The second game of the series started off slow, with both sides getting dim chances through the duration of the first period. The period ended 0-0.
According to RIT Athletics, first year Business Management major and forward for the Tigers, Kobe Walker scored his first collegiate goal in the second period. His back-hander put RIT up, 1-0.
Our men’s hockey team started to control the second period. Second year Business Exploration major and defenseman, Dan Willett shot the puck above the shoulder of Skog. The Tigers led 2-0.
Finishing the second period on a high note, Brown struck once again in the series and gave the Tigers a commanding 3-0 lead. His goal came on a powerplay, as he was found all alone for the easy put-in goal.
AIC had no difficulty finding heat in the third period. It started with Tobias Fladeby scoring on a powerplay goal.
Not too long after, Brennan Kapcheck scored a wrap-around that stunned Drackett. The Yellowjackets cut the lead, 3-2.
Towards the end of the third period, Brown was caught up high with a stick and was shook up on the play. He later returned.
Our men’s hockey team held onto the lead and won by a score of 3-2. RIT had 22 shots to 32 shots for AIC. Both teams had one powerplay goal. RIT had three chances, while AIC had five chances. In the Tiger net, Drackett stopped 30 of 32 (.938) shots and Skog saved 19 of 22 (.864) shots for AIC.
The Tigers will travel to Waltham, Mass. to play the Bentley University Falcons (7-11-2, 6-7-1 AHA) next weekend. They will attempt to extend their unbeaten streak, which is currently at five games.
Following that series, RIT will take on the Army West Point Black Knights (8-11-3, 7-6-3 AHA) at the Gene Polisseni Center on Jan. 25 and Jan. 26, 2019.
How long can the Tigers keep the puck gliding?