RIT gets crucial sweep of Robert Morris with 6-2 win
MOON TOWNSHIP, PA – The RIT men's hockey team (12-15-2, 11-11-1 AHA) completed the weekend and regular season sweep of Atlantic Hockey rival Robert Morris (13-15-2, 12-10-2 AHA), 6-2 from Colonials Arena Saturday.
Gabe Valenzuela (Brampton, Ontario/North York Rangers) and Myles Powell (Courtenay, British Columbia/Cowichan Valley Capitals) scored two goals apiece, while Bryson Traptow (Calgary, Alberta/Camrose Kodiaks) and Matt Abt (Leduc, Alberta/Whitecourt Wolverines) also scored for the Tigers. Erik Brown (Keene, Ontario/Kemptville 73's) and Chris McKay (Edmonton, Alberta/Sherwood Park Crusaders) added two assists apiece. Goaltender Christian Short (Vaughan, Ontario/Surrey Eagles) won his second straight game, stopping 17 shots.
Timmy Moore and Brady Ferguson scored for Robert Morris, while Alex Tonge had two assists. Francis Marotte took the loss in net for the Colonials, stopping 12 of 16 shots over two periods. Andrew Pikul played the third period and made 16 saves on 18 shots.
RIT out-shot Robert Morris, 34-19, including 18-7 in the third period. RIT was 1-for-8 on the power-play and scored its first shorthanded goal of the year. Robert Morris was 1-for-4.
"I thought we really worked hard and used a really strong team effort to get the win tonight," said RIT head coach Wayne Wilson. "I thought we got stronger and took over as the game wore on."
The two teams combined for five goals on just 11 shots on goal in a wild opening period, as RIT held a 3-2 lead.
The Colonials got on the board first, as Moore tipped in a shot from Robert Powers past Short, 3:32 into the game for his 11th goal of the season.
Powell would score RIT's first shorthanded goal of the season, 8:54 into the period, as he took a feed from McKay in his own zone and went coast-to-coast, making a sensational move around a pair of Colonials defenders before roofing a shot over the glove of Marotte for his ninth goal of the season.
Powell has all four of RIT's shorthanded goals dating back to the start of the 2016-17 season.
Robert Morris would strike right back on that same power-play, 40 seconds later, as Ferguson fired a shot from down low past Short for his 13th goal of the year.
RIT would even the game at 2-2 with 7:01 left in the period, as Traptow took a feed from Jake Hamacher (Corona, CA/Dubuque Fighting Saints) in the neutral zone, sped in and fired a shot that deflected off a Colonials deflected and slightly changed directions, skipping past Marotte for his second goal of the weekend and second of his collegiate career.
Powell gave RIT its first lead of the game with 1:30 left in the opening period, on the power-play, as he took a feed from Gabe Valenzuela (Brampton, Ontario/North York Rangers) in the slot and roofed a shot past Marotte for his second goal of the night and 10th of the season.
Short had to come up big a handful of times in the second period to preserve the lead for RIT. He made a big save on Tonge from the slot on the power-play and robbed Spencer Dorowicz on two wrap around attempts moments later.
Valenzuela would tally a big goal while the teams were skating 4-on-4 late in the period, as he fired in a rebound off a shot by Erik Brown (Keene, Ontario/Kemptville 73's) for his ninth goal of the season to make it 4-2 Tigers. Matt Abt (Leduc, Alberta/Whitecourt Wolverines) fired a shot that bounced to Brown behind the net. Brown attempted a wrap-around that was stopped, with the rebound coming to Valenzuela, who was all alone with a wide open net.
The trio of Valenzuela, Brown and McKay would strike early in the third period to make it a 5-2 lead for the Tigers. McKay flipped a pass to Brown on a 3-on-2, who found Valenzuela all alone in front. Valenzuela was able to tap the pass past Pikul for his second of the night and 10th goal of the year.
Abt took a feed from Dan Willett (Bayville, NY/Bloomington Thunder) in the neutral zone and right as a Tiger power-play ended, fired a backhand through Pikul for his fifth goal of the season to close out the scoring.
Tonight marked the fourth and final regular season meeting between RIT and Robert Morris this season, with RIT winning all four contests by a combined 20-10. RIT swept Robert Morris from the Gene Polisseni Center on Nov. 10-11 by scores of 5-3 and 5-2. Brown scored the game-winning goal in both wins, while Valenzuela added four assists. Last night, Valenzuela, Abbott Girduckis (Belleville, Ontario/Wellington Dukes), Traptow and Jordan Peacock (Burlington, Ontario/Burlington Cougars) scored unanswered goals as RIT built a 4-1 lead, eventually hanging on for a 4-3 win.
RIT leads the all-time series between the two schools, 13-12-4.
RIT is right back in action on Monday night with a road contest at league foe Mercyhurst that gets underway at 7:05 p.m. The game was originally scheduled for Dec. 30 but postponed due to excessive snow in Erie.