The RIT men’s hockey team (6-8-1, 4-6-1 AHA) got swept by the Sacred Heart University Pioneers (5-8-2, 5-6-1 AHA) on Dec. 7, 2018, and Dec. 8, 2018. They lost 4-3 in overtime on Dec. 7, while losing 6-4 on Dec. 8. Both matches took place at the Gene Polisseni Center.

This was the first time the foes have met since the Pioneers bested the Tigers in the 2018 AHA Tournament.

Sharpening the Blades

The RIT men’s hockey team was on a losing streak of three games heading into the match against the Pioneers. Fourth year Biomedical Engineering major, as well as captain and forward for the Tigers, Erik Brown believed that the Tigers could get back on the right track.

“It is important that we go back to what we are good at,” he said. “We have been doing some good things even though we are losing. Coach Wilson said it is about mental toughness, we just gotta not let something like this [losing streak] be our breaking point. We gotta push through it because we got the team to win a championship.”

Second year Business Management major and defenseman for the Tigers Regan Seiferling, talked about how the team battled Sacred Heart, a team that knocked the Tigers out of the 2018 AHA Tournament.

“Obviously there is history from last year. Sacred Heart knocking us out [2018 AHA Tournament] doesn’t make us too happy. We are ready for the challenge ahead of us and we need to take it one game at a time. Friday night we are focused on Friday night, and Saturday night we are focused on Saturday night,” he said.

Losing Streak Continues

Friday’s contest started with RIT getting a chance of a powerplay, only to be unsuccessful in the end.

Later in the first period, according to RIT Athletics, third year Accounting major and forward for the Tigers, Ryan Kruper scored on a breakaway. His first goal of the season gave our team a 1-0 lead.

A few minutes later, Sacred Heart’s Marcel Godbout tied the match up on a two-on-one goal. The first period ended 1-1.

Sacred Heart controlled much of the second period, with Mike Lee scoring late. The goal came from off the boards onto Lee’s stick and was kicked in accidentally by second year Business Management major and goalie for the Tigers, Logan Drackett.

The second period ended with the Pioneers ahead, 2-1.

The third period started much different for the Tigers. Third year Business Marketing major and defenseman for the Tigers, Adam Brubacher scored on a slap shot that went above the glove of Sacred Heart goalie Josh Benson. The score was tied 2-2.

Just two minutes later, second year Civil Engineering Technology major and forward for the Tigers, Alden Dupuis scored a short-handed goal to give our team a 3-2 lead. The goal was scored in the same area as the previous one.

Sacred Heart bounced back mid-way through the third period while on the powerplay. Jason Cotton scored the game-tying goal, making it 3-3 heading into overtime.

In the overtime period, with only five seconds left, Mike Lee scored his second goal of the game for the Pioneers. His game-winner bounced over Drackett and confused the team, as well as the crowd. It was a controversial call on the ice that stood as a goal. The 4-3 score sent the Tigers off the ice in misery and frustration.

RIT had 33 shots to Sacred Hearts’ 38 shots. The RIT men’s hockey team could not score on their two powerplay chances, while the Pioneers scored on one of five chances. In the Tiger net, Drackett stopped 34 of 38 (.895) shots, while Benson stopped 30 of 33 (.909) shots for the Pioneers.  

Tough Sledding Again

In the first period of Saturday night’s game, our men’s hockey team started off hot. According to RIT Athletics, Brubacher scored on a five-on-three man advantage, giving RIT a 1-0 lead.

Later in the first period, third year Finance major and forward for the Tigers, Shawn Cameron scored on another Tiger powerplay to create a 2-0 lead.

Only 30 seconds later, the Pioneers answered. Matt Tugnutt got on a breakaway and sniped the puck past Drackett, cutting the Tiger lead to one.

The second period started off well for the Tigers, as Brubacher scored his second goal of the night. It was once again a powerplay goal, and he gave our team a 3-1 lead. It was his third goal of the series.

Towards the end of the second period, Sacred Heart scored two goals to tie the game at 3-3. Nick Boyagian scored off the post and into the net, while Mark Johnstone scored on a short-handed breakaway goal.

RIT answered early in the third period. Second year Supply Chain Management major and forward for the Tigers, Bryson Traptow scored on a shot that deflected off the goalie and into the net. The Tigers led 4-3.

The rest of the third period involved three Sacred Heart goals that ended the game. Ruslan Rakhmatov and Austin McIlmurray both scored and caused the Tigers to pull Drackett and get the extra man on the ice. Matt Tugnutt scored his second goal on an empty net and sealed the game, 6-4.

The Tigers had 28 shots, while the Pioneers had 31 shots. RIT scored three times out of eight on the powerplay as Sacred Heart could not score on any of their five chances. In the Tiger net, Drackett stopped 25 of 30 (.833) shots, while Benson saved 24 of 28 (.857) shots.

Ending the Semester

The RIT men’s hockey team is currently on a five-game losing streak heading into their last match of the 2018 fall semester.

The Niagara University (8-9-1, 7-4-1 AHA) Purple Eagles will visit the Tigers on Dec. 15, 2018. This is a peculiar one-game meeting between the two conference rivals.

Once again, the million-dollar question is, will the Tigers be able to finally snap the losing streak?