Brown scores in sixth straight game as Tigers suffer tough home loss to Holy Cross
ROCHESTER, NY – Despite Erik Brown (Keene, Ontario/Kemptville 73's) scoring a goal for the sixth straight game, the RIT men's hockey team (6-6-1, 6-3-0 Atlantic Hockey) fell to visiting Holy Cross (6-4-6, 5-1-5 Atlantic Hockey) 4-2 in front of 2,601 fans at the Gene Polisseni Center Friday evening.
Brett Mulcahy broke a 2-2 tie with 1:29 left in regulation and Mitch Collett, who assisted on Mulcahy's game-winner, added an empty-netter in the final seconds. Johnny Coughlin had a goal and an assist, while Danny Lopez also scored.
Holy Cross goaltender Paul Berrafato was tremendous in net, stopping 34-of-36 shots, including several key saves, as RIT held an 83-45 edge in total shots attempted on the evening. Overall, RIT held a decisive 36-18 edge in shots on goal.
Erik Brown (Keene, Ontario/Kemptville 73's) scored a goal and added an assist, while Abbott Girduckis (Belleville, Ontario/Wellington Dukes) also scored a third period goal. Brown now has a goal in six straight games. Logan Drackett (Calgary, Alberta/Calgary Canucks) took the loss in net for RIT, stopping 17 shots.
RIT was 1-for-4 on the power-play, while Holy Cross was 0-for-3.
"I was disappointed with the result, but really happy with how we played," said RIT head coach Wayne Wilson. "We had three sloppy plays which ended up costing us, but we really limited (Holy Cross') opportunities and we generated a lot of chances offensively."
RIT dominated the first period, out-shooting the Crusaders 12-2, while recording 31 attempts to just five, but trailed 1-0 after 20 minutes.
The Crusaders got on the board just 1:38 into the period on their only two shots of the period. Scott Pooley fed a pass to Coughlin in the neutral zone with the latter firing a backhand from the high slot. Drackett made the initial save, but nobody picked up Coughlin heading towards the net and he converted on his own rebound to give Holy Cross a 1-0 lead.
From there, it was all RIT in the period, but Berrafato and the Crusaders defense kept RIT off the scoreboard.
Berrafato made a tremendous diving save on Shawn Cameron (Sherbrooke, Quebec/Cumberland Grads), who got behind the defense on a shorthanded breakaway six minutes in, drawing a penalty. Moments later, while the two teams were playing 4-on-4, he made another key save on Regan Seiferling (Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan/Yorkton Terriers), who came in on a 2-on-1 rush.
Berrafato got across to make a sensational pad save on Adam Brubacher (Elmira, Ontario/Powell River Kings) on the ensuing RIT power-play a minute later. Later in the period Powell had a puck jump over his stick with an open net in front and Girduckis fired a shot through the crease from the left side on a power-play.
RIT would tie the game at 1-1 with 11:14 left in the second period on the power-play, as Brown tapped in a perfect goal mouth feed from Adam Brubacher (Elmira, Ontario/Powell River Kings) for his 10th goal of the season. Myles Powell (Courtenay, British Columbia/Cowichan Valley Capitals) also assisted on the goal.
Immediately following the goal, the RIT faithful littered the ice with various Teddy Bears and stuffed animals as part of the team's Teddy Bear Tiger Toss. All stuffed animals will be donated to the Rochester Regional Health's Children's Unit.
Holy Cross would regain its lead just 1:08 into the third period, as Lopez slid a bouncing puck off a scramble in front past Drackett for his fifth goal of the season.
From there, RIT would continue to pepper Berrafato, but the Holy Cross goaltender would stand his ground. Girduckis would finally break through for the Tigers with his fifth goal of the season with 4:16 left in regulation to tie the game. Seiferling fed the puck down low to Brown, who made a perfect feed in front to Girduckis, who one-timed his shot past Berrafato.
RIT kept putting on pressure after the goal, hemming the Crusaders in their own zone. A broken stick on a shot attempt led to an odd-man rush for Holy Cross and with 1:29 left, Mulcahy faked a shot and got Drackett to commit before sliding a shot between his pads for the eventual game-winner.
The Tigers had a few good looks in the final minute with Drackett pulled, including a tip-in attempt by Brown, but Holy Cross blocked a few other attempts and Collett put the game away with an empty-netter with 4.4 seconds left.
Tonight contest was game one of a four-game series between the two teams this season. In addition to tomorrow's game, the Tigers and Crusaders will also meet at Holy Cross on Jan. 26-27, 2018. RIT leads the all-time series between the two schools, 25-14-7, including a 21-9-7 edge since moving to Division I in 2005.
RIT and Holy Cross wrap up the weekend series on Saturday night from the Polisseni Center at 7:05 p.m. IT is RIT's Tiger Den event and Holiday Sweater night. On Sunday, will hold a holiday skate with fans that gets underway at 11 a.m.