RIT Hockey Loses Series Against Providence
ROCHESTER, NY – The RIT men's hockey team (8-9-1) fell to visiting Providence College (7-6-3) for the second straight evening by a score of 3-1 on Saturday from the Gene Polisseni Center. Myles Powell (Courtenay, British Columbia/Cowichan Valley Capitals) scored RIT's lone goal.
Down 2-0 late in the third period, Powell took a feed from Abbott Girduckis (Belleville, Ontario/Wellington Dukes) that glanced off a Providence defender in the neutral zone and came barreling into the Friars zone with a full head of steam. Powell split a pair of defenders and was able to make a quick deke and slide the puck around Providence goaltender Hayden Hawkey with one hand for the highlight-reel goal, his team-leading 10th tally of the season, making it a 2-1 game with 2:33 left.
RIT kept putting on the pressure after Powell's goal and pulled goaltender Mike Rotolo (Rochester, NY/Cedar Rapids Roughriders) for the extra attacker with 1:40 left. After Providence cleared the puck down the ice with just under a minute left, the Tigers attempted to break out from their own end, but Conor MacPhee intercepted the clearing pass and fired the puck into the open net for the insurance goal.
RIT held a slight 30-29 edge in shots on goal. Hawkey made 29 saves in the win for Providence. Scott Conway added a goal and an assist, while Erik Foley also scored.
Rotolo stopped 27 of 29 shots for RIT.
The Tigers went 0-for-3 with the man-advantage, while Providence was 1-for-2.
"Overall, I was happy with how we played, despite the loss," said RIT head coach Wayne Wilson. "I thought we played with a lot better focus and intensity throughout. We just need to fine tune our game and focus on the small details as we head into the holiday break."
The Tigers would find themselves down 2-0 after one period for the second straight night, as Providence held a 14-11 edge in shots on goal.
Liam Kerins (Caledon, Ontario/North York Rangers) ripped a shot from a tough angle on the left side past Hawkey but off the crossbar and out just 1:15 into the game.
Providence would get on the board first, 4:52 into the contest, as Conway fired a shot on the rush from the high slot that squeaked under the pad of Rotolo and in for his fifth goal of the season.
Just 2:32 later, Foley ripped a hard wrist shot from the high slot off a feed from Josh Monk past a screened Rotolo on the power-play for his seventh goal of the season, making it 2-0 Providence.
RIT would respond with a couple of good chances later in the period, including quality chances from Danny Smith (Edmonton, Alberta/Sherwood Park Crusaders) and Erik Brown (Keene, Ontario/Kemptville 73's) on separate shots from the right circle.
Powell had a great chance snuffed out by Hawkey from in close while the teams were skating 4-on-4 five minutes into the second. Late in the period, Hawkey came up big on a chance by Shawn Cameron (Sherbrooke, Quebec/Cumberland Grads) from in tight. Cameron looked to have Hawkey down and out, but the Providence goaltender lifted his glove up at the last second to make the big save.
Rotolo made his best save of the period on Erik Foley on a 2-on-2 rush into the zone, sticking out the glove from point blank range to keep it a 2-0 game.
Shots on goal were just 4-3 RIT in the third period, as each team did a tremendous job blocking several attempts.
Tonight was the RIT Tiger Toss. Midway through a media timeout in the third period, fans threw stuffed animals on the ice that were collected to be donated to the Rochester Regional Health Systems Children's Unit.
Last night, Providence, the 2015 NCAA Champions, defeated the Tigers 5-1 in the first ever meeting between the two schools. Brian Pinho and Ryan Tait combined for six points, while Hawkey made 36 saves. Chase Norrish (Strongfield, Saskatchewan/Yorkton Terriers) scored RIT's lone goal.
Tomorrow, RIT will hold its annual "Skate With the Tigers" event at 12 p.m. Fans can come skate with their favorite Tiger players and receive autographs. Admission is $5 with all proceeds going to "Hockey Coaches Care."
RIT is off until Friday, Dec. 30, when they travel to the Huntingdon Center in Toledo, Ohio, to take on Bowling Green State University in its final non-league game of the season. That contest gets underway at 5:05 p.m.