The RIT men’s hockey team (10-9-3, 8-7-3 AHA) tied and lost to the Bentley University Falcons (8-11-3, 7-7-2 AHA) on Jan. 18, 2019 and Jan. 19, 2019, respectively. The first game of the series was a 2-2 tie, while the second game was a 5-2 win for the Falcons.

The series took place at the brand new Bentley Arena in Waltham, Mass.  

Great Start to the New Year

Heading into the series against Bentley, our men’s hockey team was riding a five-game unbeaten streak.

Fourth year Biomedical Engineering major and forward for the Tigers, Erik Brown spoke to how the unbeaten streak could continue.

“We need to keep playing this style of hockey that we have been playing,” he explained. “We need to keep playing with confidence. I think we all believe that we belong at the top of this league. We know every game is going to be an absolute battle, no matter what position you are in the league [Atlantic Hockey Association].”

Second year Business Exploration major and defenseman for the Tigers, Dan Willett talked about how the defense had been getting involved offensively, which had helped spark the unbeaten streak.

“These last few games, the teams we have faced have been pressuring and sinking low in the defensive zone, which gave our forwards opportunities to get pucks to us and then getting to the net. It’s been a huge part of getting the defensemen involved in the offense,” he said.

Low Scoring and Great Goaltending

The Tigers got off to a stagnant start for Friday’s contest, allowing two quick goals in a span of four minutes.

According to RIT Athletics, Brendan Hamblet whizzed a shot past second year Business Management major and goalie for the Tigers, Logan Drackett. A minute later, Jonathan Desbiens scored a powerplay goal for Bentley.

RIT started to pick up the pace late in the first period, garnering quality shots, but the first period ended 2-0 in Bentley’s favor.

The Tigers, determined to get back into the game, did not delay and scored a goal within the first three minutes of the second period.

First year Business Management major and forward for the Tigers, Kobe Walker, was able to find a rebound opportunity and shoot the puck past Falcons’ goalie, Aiden Pelino. That goal was a spark for RIT and cut the lead by one.

Adding to the growing spark, Drackett made some huge saves, especially when Bentley was on a power play late in the second period.

The second period ended with the Falcons in the lead, 2-1.

Bentley held onto the lead through the first seven minutes of the third period until second year Business Exploration major and forward for the Tigers, Jake Hamacher, scored a quick goal to tie the game at two goals apiece.

Drackett had to make two swift break-away saves to keep it tied in the latter stages of the third period.

Both teams tried to score a last-minute goal, but neither prevailed. The third period ended, and the game was sent into overtime.

It was a contest between the two goalies in the overtime period, as well as it was a back-and-forth affair between the two squads. No one was able to score in the overtime period, resulting in a 2-2 tie.

The Tigers had 26 shots, while the Falcons had 32 shots. Both teams had two powerplay opportunities, with Bentley being the only team to capitalize on one of theirs. Both goalies had an excellent game in terms of save percentage. In the Tiger net, Drackett saved 30 of 32 (.938) shots. Pelino stopped 22 out of 24 (.923) shots for the Falcons.

Third Period Comeback Deflated

Saturday’s game started with our men’s hockey team getting a plethora of great chances early in the first period.

According to RIT Athletics, a costly penalty gave the Falcons a powerplay late in the first period and they capitalized on it. Luke Santerno shot the puck right under the crossbar, giving Bentley a 1-0 lead at the end of the first period.

Five minutes into the second period, an unfortunate bounce of the puck off Drackett’s glove gave Matt Riggleman a goal for the Falcons. The fluke goal was reviewed and stood. The Falcons led, 2-0.

As if the game couldn’t turn against the Tigers anymore, Desbiens scored on a quick wrist shot, giving Bentley a commanding 3-0 lead at the end of the second period.

At the start of the third period, our men’s hockey team earned a 5-on-3 powerplay opportunity but couldn’t take advantage of it and score.

Still early in the third period, first year Business Exploration major and forward for RIT, Will Calverley scored a goal that gave the Tigers some life. The Bentley lead was cut, 3-1.

Mid-way through the third period, the lead was cut yet again. Third year Business Marketing major and defenseman for the Tigers, Adam Brubacher scored on a heavy slapshot during a powerplay.

Late in the third period, the Falcons’ Dylan Pitera killed the life of the ensuing comeback by scoring a goal, giving Bentley a 4-2 lead.

The Tigers pulled Drackett out of the net to get an extra attacker, but the Falcons took advantage. Hamblet scored the empty net goal, giving Bentley a 5-2 win.

RIT had 26 shots, while Bentley had 22 shots. Both teams scored on one out of five powerplay chances. In the Tiger net, Drackett stopped 17 out of 22 (.773) shots. In the Falcon net, Pelino saved 24 of 26 (.923) shots.

Crawling Back to the Den

The Tigers will come back home to the Gene Polisseni Center for the next two series.

They will host Army West Point Academy Black Knights (8-11-3, 7-6-3 AHA) on Jan. 25, 2019 and Jan. 26, 2019. This will mark the first meeting between the two foes for the 2018–19 season.

For the first time ever, RIT will play the Arizona State Sun Devils (16-9-1) the following weekend. This historic series will take place on Feb. 1, 2019 and Feb. 2, 2019.

Will going back to the Gene Polisseni Center help the Tigers start another unbeaten streak?