Tigers complete weekend sweep of AHC foe Robert Morris with 5-2 win
ROCHESTER, NY – The RIT men's hockey team (5-3-1, 5-1-0 Atlantic Hockey) completed the weekend sweep, skating to a 5-2 win over Robert Morris (3-7-1, 3-5-1 Atlantic Hockey) in front of 2,609 fans at the Gene Polisseni Center on Saturday night.
For the second straight evening, five different players scored for the Tigers. Matt Abt (Leduc, Alberta/Whitecourt Wolverines) and Erik Brown (Keene, Ontario/Kemptville 73's) had a goal and an assist apiece, while Gabe Valenzuela (Brampton, Ontario/North York Rangers) dished out a pair of helpers. Abbott Girduckis (Belleville, Ontario/Wellington Dukes), Chase Norrish (Strongfield, Saskatchewan/Yorkton Terriers) and Shawn Cameron (Sherbrooke, Quebec/Cumberland Grads) also scored for the Tigers, who have won five of their last six games, all in league play.
Freshman goaltender Logan Drackett (Calgary, Alberta/Calgary Canucks) picked up his fifth win of the season, stopping 34 of 36 shots. Drackett was especially strong in the third period, stopping all 15 shots he faced, including six attempts on three Robert Morris power-plays.
Nick Prkusic and Luke Lynch scored for Robert Morris. Andrew Pikul started in net, stopping 18 of 22 shots before being replaced by Francis Marotte to start the third period. Marotte stopped all six shots he faced.
Robert Morris out-shot RIT, 36-29, including a 15-7 edge in the third period. Robert Morris was 1-for-5 with the man-advantage, while RIT was 1-for-2.
"I thought we stayed focused, scored a few goals early that got us going and were able to keep their dangerous power-play off the board in the third period," said RIT head coach Wayne Wilson.
The Tigers opened the scoring 3:44 into the game, as Abt intercepted a pass at center, came into the Colonials zone and fired a wrist shot from the high slot off the glove of Pikul that just trickled over the goal line for his fourth goal of the season.
Robert Morris would knot the game at 1-1 on the power-play right before the halfway mark of the period, as Prkusic wired a shot on from the slot off a rebound past Drackett for his first collegiate goal.
RIT would regain the lead with 6:06 left in the period, as Girduckis slammed home a rebound in tight after Pikul denied three chances from in front. Girduckis had one chance in tight that Pikul stopped before Valenzuela took two whacks that Pikul blocked. The third rebound came to Girduckis at the side of the net, who buried it for his fourth goal of the season. Robert Morris challenged the call on the ice, but the goal was allowed to stand, costing them their timeout.
Drackett had to make two big saves not long after to keep it 2-1, stopping Brady Ferguson from the slot and Lynch from point-blank range off a turnover.
Once again, RIT out-scored Robert Morris 2-1 in an action packed second period to hold a 4-2 lead after 40 minutes of play.
The Colonials tied the game at 2-2 just 3:18 into the period, as Lynch converted a rebound, while sliding into Drackett and knocking the goal off his moorings. Alex Tonge fed a pass to Lynch, who was streaking towards the net. He had his first shot stopped by Drackett and while driving to the net, put the rebound in, while colliding with Drackett and before the net was dislodged. It was ruled no goal on the ice, but quickly overturned on replay.
It did not take long for RIT to respond, as 36 seconds later, Brown wired in a pass from Valenzuela from the slot on the rush for his sixth goal of the year to make it 3-2 Tigers. Adam Brubacher (Elmira, Ontario/Powell River Kings) started the rush, feeding Valenzuela in his own zone. Valenzuela came streaking into the Robert Morris zone and found Brown cutting towards the net. Brown spun around and made no mistake in beating Pikul to the far side.
RIT upped its lead to 4-2 late in the period on the power-play, as Norrish fired a seeing-eye shot through Brown's screen that bounced past Pikul for his first goal of the season and 50th point of his collegiate career. Myles Powell (Courtenay, British Columbia/Cowichan Valley Capitals) and Dan Willett (Bayville, NY/Bloomington Thunder) assisted on the goal.
Drcakett and RIT's penalty-killing unit came up big in the third period, as Robert Morris tried to cut into the lead. Drackett would stop all 15 shots he faced in the frame, doing a good job of controlling his rebounds.
Cameron would put the game away with an empty-netter with 2:08 remaining. Abt picked up a loose puck in behind his net, skated out in front of his net and slipped a pass to Cameron coming out of his zone. Cameron calmly slid a backhander from the neutral zone into the net to clinch the game for the Tigers.
Girduckis and Powell both extended their point-scoring streaks to seven games in tonight's win, while Willett now has a point in six straight contests. Valenzuela now has four straight multiple-point outings.
Last night, five different players scored for the Tigers in a 5-3 win over Robert Morris. The two teams also meet for a pair of games at Robert Morris on Feb. 9-10, 2018. Robert Morris leads the all-time series between the two schools, 12-11-4.
RIT is back in action next weekend, Nov. 17-18 on the road at league foe Air Force Academy. Both games from Cadet Ice Arena get underway at 9:05 p.m. EST.