The RIT men’s hockey team (3-2-0, 1-1-0 AHA) split their series against the Robert Morris University Colonials (2-3-1, 1-3-1 AHA) at the Colonials Arena. The Colonials bested the Tigers on Oct. 26, 2018 by winning the match by a 3 to 0 shut-out. RIT then took control of the second match on Oct. 27, winning 2 to 1 in an overtime thriller.

The series was the first of conference play for the Tigers, who play in the Atlantic Hockey Association along with ten other teams. Coming out with the split gave our team a positive record leaving October, a feat that is rare to accomplish.

Preparation for the First Series of the Conference

Last weekend the Tigers came off a 6 to 1 blowout victory against the Colgate Raiders at the Blue Cross Arena. Getting that Homecoming win gave the Tigers a 2 to 1 record heading into the series against the Colonials.

Before heading into the series, Coach Wayne Wilson offered some insight on how the team was preparing for the tough battle against Robert Morris.

“I am excited to get back into league play, but we know they are very focused and hungry,” stated Wilson. “We know we have our hands full, but we really need to stay focused and not get caught in the little success we had.”

Fourth year New Media and Marketing major and forward Mark Logan also had insight on what the Tigers needed to do in order to prepare for the series.

“We know it’s gonna be pretty tight and the rivalry with Robert Morris is always a physical match-up. We are gonna have to simplify our game off the bat. We know they are a team that is great on the powerplay,” he said.

“We know it’s gonna be pretty tight and the rivalry with Robert Morris is always a physical match-up. We are gonna have to simplify our game off the bat. We know they are a team that is great on the powerplay.”

Rough Start to Conference Play

The Tigers got off to a slow start in the first period of Friday’s contest, allowing the Colonials to get opportunities. Robert Morris was able to control the match through the first-half of the period, until RIT started to gain momentum. The period finished dead-locked between the two sides, 0 to 0.

The second period was disastrous for the Tigers, allowing three goals into our net. According to RIT Athletics, Geoff Lawson of the Colonials scored his first collegiate goal on a rebound shot, sneaking the puck past the second year Business Management major and RIT goalie, Logan Drackett.

As the Colonials went on a powerplay mid-way through the second period, Eric Israel netted another one past Drackett, giving the Colonials a 2 to 0 lead.

To make matters worse, Daniel Mantenuto of the Colonials scored late, giving the Colonials a commanding 3 to 0 lead at the end of the second period.

RIT could not gain any momentum, continuing their discipline issues and sitting in the box a total of four times just in the period.

Robert Morris was able to hold onto the lead and earn the shut-out, beating RIT by a score of 3 to 0. The Tigers had 25 shots in the contest, while the winning Colonials had 28 shots. In terms of the powerplay, the Tigers had five chances but could not score, while the Colonials had eight chances and scored only once.

Drackett saved 25 out of the 28 shots (.893) for RIT, while Robert Morris’s Francis Marotte saved all 25 shots. Marotte had a fantastic game in net, considering the Tigers scored six goals against a difficult Colgate University barely a week ago on Oct. 20, 2018.

Overtime Thriller Lifts Tigers

The next match on the following day, according to RIT Athletics, our team had an early powerplay which created a great opportunity for us in the first period. This resulted in a goal by Abbott Girduckis, a fourth year Packaging Science major and a forward for RIT. He tipped in a shot off of the third year Business Marketing major and RIT defenseman, Adam Brubacher.

The goal gave the Tigers their first lead of 1 to 0 at the end of the first period. The early opportunity and goal gave our team some confidence they needed after being shut-out the night before.

There was little action in the second period, as neither the Tigers nor the Colonials were able to get on the board. A few powerplay opportunities arose, but neither team was able to capitalize and take control. Our team did a good job in keeping the Colonials in their own zone, but didn’t take control of the game entirely.

Both goaltenders saved a few dangerous shots in the second period, keeping the game tight heading into the third.

The Tigers couldn’t contain the shut-out during the third period and allowed a game-tying goal. On the powerplay, Nick Lalonde scored his first collegiate goal, giving the Colonials a 1 to 1 draw.

Late in the third period, no team could garner another goal, leading to a sudden-death overtime.

Late in overtime, RIT got a huge opportunity on the powerplay and capitalized on it. Fourth year Accounting major and forward, Gabe Valenzuela, was able to secure the Tigers win by getting the puck past the Colonials Goaltender. The back-hander made it nearly impossible for Marotte to stop, causing disappointment among the Colonials. The crowd went home upset, but the Tigers came home happy.

In the end, we had 30 shots in the contest, while the Colonials had 34. Both teams had one powerplay goal in regulation. In the Tiger net, Drackett stopped 33 of the 34 (.971) shots, while Marotte stopped 28 of the 30 (.933) for Robert Morris.

What’s Next for the Tigers?

After splitting their first conference series against Robert Morris University, the men's hockey team heads to Erie, Pa. to play the Mercyhurst University Lakers (1-5-1, 0-2-0 AHA). That series will take place on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3, 2018.

The week after, the Tigers will then return home to the Gene Polisseni Center to play the American International College Yellowjackets (2-4-1, 2-1-1 AHA). That series will take place on Nov. 9 and Nov. 10. Exciting conference action is just beginning.