The RIT men’s hockey team (8-8-2, 6-6-2 AHA) tied and beat the Niagara University Purple Eagles (8-11-2, 7-6-2 AHA) in two separate matches.

The Tigers tied by a score of 4-4 on Jan. 4, 2019, while the they won, 2-1, on Jan. 5, 2019.

A Familiar Foe

Our men’s hockey team was excited to get back after winter break and play hockey again, especially since they faced the Purple Eagles, a team that they beat just before the break.

First year Business Exploration major and forward for the Tigers Will Calverley spoke as to how the team focused coming into the series.

“They are a big team and they like to throw their weight around,” he explained. “We aren’t shy to do the same.”

Second year Civil Engineering Technology major and forward for the Tigers Alden Dupuis knew the perfect way to keep up the momentum despite the long break from the game.

“Obviously the break is a good time for us to relax and spend time with family, but we are still working out and not getting off track. We just have to be responsible and remember that we are coming back into a busy schedule for hockey. I think everyone is in pretty good shape.”

Late Attack Forces Tie

The second half of the 2018–19 season started at the Dwyer Ice Arena in Lewiston, N.Y., home of the Niagara University Purple Eagles.

Friday’s competition gave RIT an early edge, finding multiple odd-man rushes and opportunities in the first period.

Despite the early chances, according to RIT Athletics, Luke Edgerton scored off a rebound for Niagara giving them a 1-0 lead late in the first period. Second year Business Management major and Tigers goalie  Logan Drackett stopped the first shot but couldn’t muster the save on the second opportunity.

A few minutes later in the first period, the Tigers struck for the first time in 2019. Dupuis was able to score off a rebound himself, finding an open spot in the net. His goal created a tie between the two teams heading into the first intermission.

The second period included a plethora of penalties between the two rivals, with our men’s hockey squad being able to convert on one of them.

Fourth year Packaging Science major and forward, Abbott Girduckis was able to find a loose puck ricocheting off the boards. He got the puck on his stick and fired it past Niagara goalie, Brian Wilson. The four-on-three powerplay goal gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead.

Late in the second period, the Purple Eagles struck back. They hadn’t been getting many chances, but when they did, they struck gold. Niko Kovachis shot the puck over Drackett’s shoulder, tying the game at two apiece.

The second period ended much like the first period, with one goal for each team.

The third period had a barrage of goals for both sides.

Ludwig Stenlund scored for the Purple Eagles on a two-on-zero short-handed chance. Niagara then held a 3-2 lead.

Not much longer, Dupuis knotted his second goal of the game for RIT. The Tigers were on the power play at the time when they tied.

With five minutes to go in the third period, the Purple Eagles went on the powerplay. Edgerton cashed in on the power play and scored off a rebound for the second time. They then led 4-3.

It looked grim for RIT, but six seconds after they pulled Drackett to put in the extra attacker, the game was tied. Calverley came in as the extra attacker and wasted no time making an impact. His goal pushed the game into overtime.

In the overtime period, Drackett made a huge save at the buzzer to finish the game in a tie, 4-4.

The Tigers had 33 shots compared to 26 shots from the Purple Eagles. RIT scored on two out of six powerplay chances, as Niagara only scored on one out of three. In the Tiger net, Drackett saved 22 of 26 (.846) shots, while Wilson stopped 25 out of 29 (.879) shots for Niagara.

At The Buzzer

Saturday’s match at the Gene Polisseni Center started slow, with both teams dead-even at zero after the first period.

The Tigers killed off four penalties in the first period, along with getting help from big saves by Drackett.

Our men’s hockey team controlled much of the second period, improving from the first period substantially.

According to RIT Athletics, Girduckis got on the board six minutes into the period. Another Tiger set a screen in front of the Niagara goalie, giving him an easy shot and goal.

The Tigers led 1-0 after the second period.

It was a rough start to the third period, as Calverley was hit up high by Alex Truscott of the Purple Eagles. The illegal hit knocked his helmet off and ensued a roughing penalty against Niagara. RIT could not capitalize on the powerplay.

Calverley then blocked a hard shot later in the period and was shaken up on the play. He eventually returned.

Midway through the third period, Kovachis scored on a power play to tie the game for the Purple Eagles. His shot trickled underneath Drackett and into the net.

The game was then tied 1-1 and looked to go into overtime. The Tigers had a power play with 30 seconds left in regulation. With only 1.4 seconds left in regulation, third year Business Marketing major and defenseman for RIT, Adam Brubacher, sent the puck towards the goal and scored the game-winner. Tiger fans went crazy as the game was won in dramatic fashion.

The Tigers had 35 shots as the Purple Eagles had 29 shots. Both teams scored a powerplay goal, with RIT having four chances and Niagara having six. In the Tiger net, Drackett had an amazing night as he stopped 28 out of 29 (.966) shots, while Wilson saved 32 of 34 (.944) shots for Niagara.

On The Road Again

Our men’s hockey team will go on a two-week road-stand to further open up the second half of the 2018–19 season.

They will pay a visit to Springfield, Mass. to take on the American International College Yellowjackets (8-9-1, 8-5-1 AHA). That series will take place on Jan. 11, 2019 and Jan. 12, 2019.

The following week, RIT will go to Waltham, Mass. to play the Bentley University Falcons (5-11-2, 4-7-1 AHA) on Jan. 18, 2019 and Jan. 19, 2019.

This second half stretch is most critical as the 2019 AHA Tournament is only two months away. The winner of the conference tournament will get an automatic bid into the 2019 NCAA Tournament.