RIT Hockey rallies to take down Holy Cross
ROCHESTER, NY – The RIT men's hockey team (7-6-1, 7-3-0 Atlantic Hockey) scored three unanswered goals to erase a 3-2 deficit, skating to a 5-3 win over Holy Cross (6-5-6, 6-2-5 Atlantic Hockey) at the Gene Polisseni Center on Saturday night.
Mark Logan (Calgary, Alberta/Brooks Bandits) scored the game-winning goal, snapping a 3-3 tie 2:33 into the third period, while goaltender Christian Short (Vaughan, Ontario/Surrey Eagles) and the RIT defense made the lead stand. Erik Brown (Keene, Ontario/Kemptville 73's) put the game away with an empty-netter in the final seconds, giving him a goal in seven straight games. Brown's seven-game goal-scoring streak ties a Division I team record, originally set by Matt Crowell in 2008-09.
Myles Powell (Courtenay, British Columbia/Cowichan Valley Capitals) scored a pair of goals and was plus-4 to lead the RIT attack. He was named the game's first star. Adam Brubacher (Elmira, Ontario/Powell River Kings) was the second star, scoring a goal and adding an assist and Logan was the third star. Short was strong in net, stopping 27 of 30 shots for his first win since Jan. 24, 2016.
Ryan Ferrill, Tommy Muratore and Danny Lopez scored for the Crusaders. Goaltender Paul Berrafato made 30 saves in the loss.
RIT out-shot Holy Cross, 35-30. Holy Cross was 1-for-4 on the power-play, while RIT was 0-for-2.
"It was a gutsy win for us, we played with a lot of desperation, especially after Holy Cross took the lead and especially over the last three minutes," said RIT head coach Wayne Wilson. "We had to fight for every inch as Holy Cross gave us all we could handle tonight."
RIT opened the scoring 9:54 into the contest as Powell took a feed from Shawn Cameron (Sherbrooke, Quebec/Cumberland Grads) and fired a shot that Berrafato stopped. With Regan Seiferling (Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan/Yorkton Terriers) crashing the net, the rebound went off a Crusaders defender and in.
Holy Cross would respond 2:31 later, as Ferrill collected a loose puck off an errant pass in the Tigers zone, cut to the middle and fired a wrist shot past Short for his fourth goal of the season to tie the game at 1-1.
Brubacher gave RIT its lead back with 5:51 left in the period, as he collected a loose puck at the Crusaders blue-line after a hit jarred the puck free. Brubacher took a couple of strides in and cleanly beat Berrafato with a hard wrist shot from the high slot for his second goal of the season.
The Crusaders would score consecutive goals 1:06 apart in the second period to take a 3-2 lead. At the 6:50 mark, Lopez would score a power-play goal, banking in a shot off a Tiger defender in front after his first shot was stopped by Short to tie the game at 2-2. Muratore would tally his first goal of the season at the 7:56 mark, stealing a pass up top in his own zone, beating his man down the ice for a breakaway and slipping a backhander past Short.
Gabe Valenzuela (Brampton, Ontario/North York Rangers) thought he tied the game at 3-3 later in the period, as he fired a rebound off the crossbar in close after Berrafato stopped him on the initial attempt.
The Tigers would score the tying goal with 2:11 left in the period, as Powell took a drop feed from Girduckis and fired a shot towards the net on the rush that deflected off a defenseman, crossing up Berrafato and trickling over the goal line. Brubacher also assisted on the goal, Powell's fourth of the season, knotting the game at 3-3.
Short had to come up with two big saves right before the period ended, as he robbed Ferrill from the slot and Brett Mulcahy on the rebound to keep the game tied.
Logan would score the game-winner 2:33 into the third period, firing a shot from the left wall that went off the side of Berrafato and in for his first goal of the season and first in his last 37 games, dating back to Feb. 27, 2016. Brody Valette (Calgary, Alberta/Whitecourt Wolverines) sent a pass into the corner that Jordan Peacock (Burlington, Ontario/Burlington Cougars) fished out. Peacock saw Logan at the wall and sent him the pass for the goal.
Short would come up with two tremendous saves in the last few minutes to protect the RIT lead. First he robbed Lopez on a 2-on-1 break, as the Holy Cross forward tried to beat him between the legs from the slot. Short's best save of the game came late in regulation, as he got across to make a game-saving save on Ferrill who was left alone at the side of the net on a Crusaders power-play.
RIT's penalty-killing unit had to come up big in the final minutes. Berrafato was pulled for the extra attacker with 1:30 left, giving Holy Cross 25 seconds of a 6-on-4 power-play. Girduckis made a key block, as did Alden Dupuis (Edmonton, Alberta/Bonnyville Pontiacs ). With time running out, Valenzuela grabbed a loose puck and chipped a pass off the boards in the neutral zone to Brown, who fired a shot into the open net for his 11th goal of the season.
Tonight's contest was game two of a four-game series between the two teams this season. Last night, Mulcahy scored with 1:29 left in regulation to snap a 2-2 tie and lift Holy Cross to a 4-2 win over RIT. 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, 26-14-7, including a 22-9-7 edge since moving to Division I in 2005.
Tomorrow morning, RIT will hold a holiday skate with fans that gets underway at 11 a.m. The Tigers are right back in action next weekend with their final two regular season non-conference contests at No. 9 Providence College. RIT returns to home ice on Jan. 12-13, 2018 vs. Air Force.