The men's hockey team (2-1-0) destroyed the Raiders from Colgate University (2-1-0), at the Blue Cross Arena in downtown Rochester on Oct. 20, 2018 . The game was a part of Brick City Homecoming, where the Tigers took on a difficult opponent on the Rochester Americans’ home ice. The large victory gave RIT a confident 2-and-1 record heading into the start of conference play.

The nearly sold-out hockey match was electric with students, as well as their families and alums, all showing support for their hockey team. The Raiders were anticipated to be a difficult match for the Tigers ... at least on paper.

Fast Start to the First

The Tigers had no difficulty getting a fast start to the game, scoring three goals within the first period.

According to RIT Athletics, fourth year Biomedical Engineering major and the forward and captain of the team, Erik Brown, started off the scoring just four minutes into the game. He earned his first goal of the season as he sniped one past the opponent's goaltender Mitch Benson. The crowd was on their toes early, seeing their faithful captain soak up the glory. Brown scored a total of 29 goals last year for the team, a season high.

Towards the end of the first period, fourth year Accounting major and forward Gabe Valenzuela gave the team a 2-0 lead on a powerplay.

It then took RIT a short time to take a commanding 3-0 lead at the end of the first period. Third year Finance major and forward Shawn Cameron was able to send the Tigers faithful onto their feet after yet another goal.

Continuous Roar Through the Second

The team had no difficulty keeping up the momentum. Their opponents had a few opportunities at the beginning of the second period, but Cameron once again silenced their hopes. The now 4-0 lead was starting to become a cemented win for RIT.

Mid-way through the second period, Brown once again netted the puck and whizzed it past the Colgate's goalkeeper. Our team was now up to a 5-0 lead and still energized.

Finally, late in the third period, Colgate’s Tyler Jeanson was able to break the ice and score a goal for the Raiders. The second year Business Management major and RIT goalie Logan Drackett allowed a difficult shot to go up high and strike the net. It proved to be the one that got away. The second period ended with the Tigers leading the Raiders 5-1.

A Ferocious Finish

The team finished the game strong, notably being able to keep play away from the Colgate's players due to having three power play opportunities in the third period. To add insult to injury, Brown was able to secure the 6-1 victory while earning his first hattrick of the season. 

"It was pretty special to perform in front of that crowd with friends and family from back home," Brown said said. "Like I've said before, it was equally special to win that game. It was my first homecoming win and to do it my senior year is pretty cool."

“It was pretty special to perform in front of that crowd with friends and family from back home,” Brown said. “Like I’ve said before, it was equally special to win that game. It was my first homecoming win and to do it my senior year is pretty cool.”

RIT ran down the clock late in the third period. As the horn sounded, the fans once again grew loud and got on their feet, giving our team a standing-ovation. The Tigers saluted their student section and went off the ice ecstatically.

RIT had only 20 shots in the game, scoring on six of those chances. Colgate had a whopping 41 shots, but they only managed to score on one of them.

In terms of power play chances, the Tigers had five and scored twice. The Raiders had eight chances, but could not score on any of them. They even had two 5-on-3 opportunities but came up short.

Fourth year Packaging Science major and forward and captain Abbott Girduckis could not get on the board, but assisted his teammates a total of four times. He earned a season high in assists and points (four).

“It was a good win for us,” Girduckis said. “It was nice to get that [credit for the assists], but it had to do with my line-mates who played really well in terms of moving the puck around. I was the lucky one to get the assists.”

In the net, Drackett stopped 41 out of 42 shots (.976), his season high in save percentage. He stopped some difficult shots and helped the team kill off two 5-on-3 penalties.

“I was trying to just control the game as much as I can. The team played really well; we had 19 blocks in the first two periods, which is huge for us. The guys blocked as many shots as I saved,” Drackett explained.

Outlook for the Tigers

By beating the Colgate Raiders, the RIT Tigers have defeated two higher-ranked squads. The RIT offense is gaining a reputation as one of the best firing lines in the nation.

Earning wins against better teams is a positive for RIT men's hockey, a team that is trying to bounce back on top of the Atlantic Hockey Association (AHA), like they did when they won the conference tournament in 2010, 2015 and 2016. Winning the conference would give them an automatic spot in the NCAA Hockey Tournament.

Wayne Wilson, who has been the head coach for over 20 years, is satisfied with how his team is playing thus far and looks towards the future of the season.

“From a team chemistry stand point, it’s coming together,” Wilson commented. “The one thing we’d like to improve is our team discipline. We take too many penalties when we get leads.”

The Tigers will go to Moon, Pa. where they will have a match against the Robert Morris Colonials (1-2-1, 0-1-1 AHA) on Oct. 26 and Oct. 27, 2018. These games will be their first AHA series of the year. They will then go to Erie, Pa. to play the Mercyhurst Lakers (0-3-1) on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3. They will finally return to the Gene Polisseni Center on Nov. 9 and Nov. 10, to play the American International College Yellow Jackets (2-2-1, 2-1-1 AHA).