RIT gets back in win column at Air Force
Updated: Sunday, February 23 2014, 12:23 AM EST
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – Josh Mitchell (Osoyoos, British Columbia/Alberni Valley Bulldogs) scored with 9:22 left in regulation to snap a 2-2 tie and lift the RIT men's hockey team (9-18-5, 8-14-3 AHA) to a 3-2 win at Atlantic Hockey Association rival Air Force Academy (19-11-4, 14-8-3 AHA) in front of 2,311 fans at Cadet Ice Arena on Saturday evening.
Mitchell crashed the net and took a perfect feed from Mike Colavecchia (Maple, Ontario/Lindsay Muskies), tipping a shot from the crease past Jason Torf for his sixth goal of the season.
From there, the RIT defense did a great job keeping Air Force at bay. The Falcons had a point-blank chance in the final seconds, but that attempt went off the side of the net and wide. Down the stretch, RIT did an excellent job winning crucial faceoffs to help snap its Division I team record nine-game winless streak. It was RIT's first win in 35 days.
Freshman goaltender Mike Rotolo (Rochester, NY/Cedar Rapids Roughriders) was strong in net for the Tigers, stopping 26 shots to pick up his sixth win of the season. He made 20 of his 26 saves over the first two periods.
Ben Lynch (Blaine, MN/Lincoln Stars) scored for the second straight night, while Todd Skirving (Thunder Bay, Ontario/Sioux Falls Stampede) also tallied for the Tigers. Mike Colavecchia (Maple, Ontario/Lindsay Muskies) dished out a pair of assists in the win and was plus-3.
Mitch Torrel and Ryan Timar scored for the Falcons. In net, Jason Torf made 19 saves.
Air Force out-shot Air Force, 28-22 overall. The Tigers were 0-for-3 with the man-advantage, while Air Force was 0-for-5. RIT killed off all nine Air Force power-play attempts over the weekend.
"We played with much more intensity tonight and it showed on the scoreboard," said RIT head coach Wayne Wilson. "We found a way to win a lot of little battles and received great efforts from several players tonight."
The Falcons led 1-0 after the opening period, getting a goal by Torrel just 5:51 into the contest. Lynch would tie the game for the Tigers 4:20 into the second period, taking a feed from Colavecchia in the slot and ripping a shot over the glove of Torf for his 11th goal of the season.
Air Force thought they had taken a 2-1 lead on the power-play midway through the period, as a shot eluded Rotolo, but after video review, the goal was disallowed for goaltender interference.
Skirving would give RIT its first lead of the weekend just over nine minutes later, outskating a Air Force defender to a loose puck, getting to the right face-off circle and ripping a shot past Torf for his eighth goal of the year.
Timar would tie the game for Air Force at the 16:50 mark, taking a pass from Max Hartner after a good play to keep the puck in the RIT zone. Timar would walk into the slot and beat Rotolo with a hard wrist shot.
RIT is now tied for 10th in the Atlantic Hockey Association standings with 19 points.
Air Force leads the all-time series between the two schools, 21-16-3. Since the start of the 2005-06 season, RIT is 13-19-3 against Air Force. Earlier in the season, Air Force defeated RIT at Ritter Arena, 2-0 on Nov. 1. RIT out-shot Air Force, 39-25, but could not solve Torf, who made 39 saves for the shut out. Last night, the Falcons defeated RIT by a score of 4-3.
In seven trips to Air Force since 2005, the Tigers are 0-9 on the first night or lone game of the weekend series and 3-11-2 overall. RIT is much better on the second night at Cadet Ice Arena, now with a 3-2-2 mark.
The Tigers conclude the regular season next Friday and Saturday with a home-and-home series against rival Canisius. The two teams meet at Buffalo State Ice Arena on Friday at 7:05 p.m. and close out Ritter Arena on Saturday at 7:05 p.m.