RIT falls in game 2 to Sacred Heart
ROCHESTER, NY – In the longest game in program and 18th longest in NCAA history, the No. 6 seed RIT men's hockey team (15-19-2) fell to No. 11 Sacred Heart University (11-20-4), 4-3 in triple overtime in game two of the 2018 Atlantic Hockey First Round series from the Gene Polisseni Center on Saturday. Jackson Barliant scored 2:19 into the third overtime for the Pioneers, who force a decisive winner take-all game three on Sunday at 7:05 p.m.
Moments after a RIT power-play to start the third overtime ended, Stephen Hladin picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and got it ahead to a streaking Barliant. The junior fired a hard wrist from the slot over the shoulder of RIT goaltender Logan Drackett (Calgary, Alberta/Calgary Canucks) for his second goal of the game and sixth of the season to win it.
Austin McIlmurray sent the game into overtime, scoring with 1:06 left in regulation, while Marc Johnstone added a first period goal. Goaltender Brett Magnus stopped 46 of 49 shots, including all 18 he faced in overtime to earn the win.
Myles Powell (Courtenay, British Columbia/Cowichan Valley Capitals) scored two goals to lead the RIT attack, while Chase Norrish (Strongfield, Saskatchewan/Yorkton Terriers) had two assists. Norrish extended his consecutive-game point-scoring streak to a Division I team record 12 games. Erik Brown (Keene, Ontario/Kemptville 73's) also scored his 29th goal of the season for the Tigers. Drackett stopped 28 saves.
RIT out-shot Sacred Heart 49-32. The Tigers were 1-for-6 on the power-play, while Sacred Heart was 0-for-6. Both teams had two power-plays in overtime, but did not convert.
"I was happy with our play, I thought we played well," said RIT head coach Wayne Wilson. We had good chances, our penalty-killing was great, but Sacred Heart was just resilient and a little more opportunistic than we were. We need to get our rest and be ready to play tomorrow."
Both teams scored twice in a fast-paced opening period. Powell opened the scoring 7:04 into the contest, sliding in a rebound from in close after Jake Hamcher deflected a shot by Norrish off of Magnus.
The Pioneers would answer 1:08 later, as Barliant circled from behind the net and fired a shot from the left circle that looked to be going wide but bounced off a RIT player in front and in.
The two teams would trade goals 32 seconds apart later in the period. Powell would score his second goal of the game and 13th of the year on the power-play with 4:54 left, taking a feed from Norrish in the high slot and firing a well-placed wrist shot through traffic and past Magnus to make it 2-1 Tigers.
Once again, the Pioneers would answer, as Johnstone got behind the defense and took a long stretch pass from Zach Tsekos and fire a shot past Drackett to tie the game at 2-2. The play was reviewed for offsides and ultimately ruled a good goal.
RIT appeared to take a 3-2 lead with 1:57 left in the period, as Valenzuela came into the zone with Abbott Girduckis (Belleville, Ontario/Wellington Dukes), cut to the outside and fired a backhander that beat Magnus to the short side. The play was reviewed and determined to be offsides, negating the goal.
The pace slowed down in the second period, as the teams combined for just 13 shots on goal. RIT had a golden chance to take the lead in the final minutes, as Adam Brubacher (Elmira, Ontario/Powell River Kings) made a perfect back door pass to Erik Brown (Keene, Ontario/Kemptville 73's) on a power-play, but the puck hopped over his stick and wide.
Brown would give RIT the 3-2 lead with 15:31 left in regulation, as he took a perfect goal-mouth feed from Valenzuela on the rush and one-timed it into the open side for his 29th goal of the season. Abbott Girduckis (Belleville, Ontario/Wellington Dukes) also assisted on the goal.
RIT just missed making it 4-2 midway through the period, as Mark Logan (Calgary, Alberta/Brooks Bandits) fired a shot off the post and Jordan Peacock (Burlington, Ontario/Burlington Cougars) tried jamming the rebound in, but Magnus kept it from going over the line.
Drackett made a huge save on Barliant with eight minutes left and the Tigers had to kill off a penalty inside of the final five minutes, while hanging on the lead. The Pioneers would tie the game with 1:06 left in regulation, as McIlmurray wristed a shot from the left circle off a RIT stick and over the glove of Drackett, off the crossbar and in.
Neither team scored in the first overtime, as just nine total shots on goal were attempted by the two teams. Valenzuela had a great chance with 11:45 left, as he slipped around a player and cut to the middle before firing a shot that was stopped by Magnus. Drackett made a great poke check save on Johnstone with 1:32 left in the first overtime, as the Sacred Heart forward caused a RIT penalty.
RIT ratcheted up the intensity in the second overtime, out-shooting the Pioneers, 15-6, with several good chances, but could not get the winner. Magnus made an incredible glove save on Brubacher, while the Tigers were on a power-play midway through the period. Moments after the power-play ended, Girduckis found Dupuis streaking towards the net. Dupuis had half a step on the on the defender, but the puck went just under his stick.
Sacred Heart nearly ended it with 2:12 left in the second overtime, as Kory Kennedy ripped a shot off the crossbar and out from the slot on the rush.
Both teams have won two meetings in the season series, while RIT holds a 24-8-2 edge in the all-time series. Last night, Girduckis scored 23 seconds into overtime to lift RIT to a 5-4 win in game one.
Overall, the Tigers are 30-16 in the postseason at the Division I level, while appearing in their 11th Atlantic Hockey Tournament.
Tonight was the longest game in RIT hockey history. RIT's previous longest game in the Division I level was 81:23 on March 10, 2012 in game two of the Atlantic Hockey Quarterfinal against Bentley.
The Tigers and Pioneers play the decisive game three Sunday night from the Polisseni Center. RIT is 2-2 all-time in a decisive game three situation at the Division I level.