It's been a rocky season for the RIT men's hockey team, to say the least.

Tigers fans have been treated to a veritable emotional roller-coaster of a season this year, paying witness to a series of triumphant wins and absolutely crushing losses. Key members of the team have played tremendous games against seemingly impossible odds and gone on to crumble beneath the pressure the very next day. What the Tigers have lacked in consistency this year, however, they've made up for in raw excitement; predicting the outcome for each of their games has been nigh-impossible to do. Going into this past weekend's games against Mercyhurst, no one was quite sure how the Tigers were going to fare, and needless to say the way they dominated the ice both nights was a welcome surprise.

The first of the two games came this past Friday, Feb. 27, and it was definitely one for the books, filled with career highlights and stunning plays. The Tigers ultimately trounced Mercyhurst a whopping 8-0, controlling the ice masterfully throughout and displaying a degree of aggressivness and professionalism that has been noticeably absent from some of their recent home games. Fourth year forward Matt Garbowski was able to chalk up his second hat-trick of the season, making him only the second player in RIT Division I Hockey history to grab two in a single season. The only other one came from Matt Smith back in 2008. Thanks to this, Garbowski's goal record is now ranked second nationally at 24, while simultaneously being ranked third nationally in points at 46, marking him as a true force of nature.

The Tigers were on fire the entire length of the game, keeping Mercyhurst on their toes throughout and never letting up their expertly paced offensiveness. Fourth year forward Brad McGowan also played an excellent game Friday night, scoring his 100th career point for RIT, which makes him the eighth player in RIT Division I Hockey to do so.

Saturday, Feb. 28's game, while definitely closer combatively and far from the shutout that was Friday's game, was still an impressive win for RIT. The Tigers took Mercyhurst into overtime after a nail-biting game and managed to come out ahead 2-1, clinching both games in the doubleheader. The Tigers were able to pull off the win thanks to an empty-net shot from newcomer first year forward Myles Powell with just 39 seconds left in overtime. The Gene Polisseni Center was packed to the gills both nights, racking up 3,019 fans on Saturday night.

With Friday and Saturday's wins, RIT is officially moving on to the quarterfinals. These games were a welcome breath of fresh air and a needed confidence boost after a highly tumultuous season, and it seems like no one needed it more than the players themselves. Hopefully, this new level of self-assuredness demonstrated by the Tigers this past weekend will carry over to the quarterfinals and RIT will be able to finish this season with their heads held high.

Cross your fingers.