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RIT completes sweep of Army with 4-3 win

ROCHESTER, NY The RIT men's hockey team (8-11-3, 7-7-1 AHA) jumped out to a 3-0 lead after one period of play and hung on to defeat visiting Army (3-18-0, 3-14-0 AHA) 4-3 in front of 1,616 fans at Ritter Arena on Saturday evening to earn the weekend sweep. The Tigers extended their unbeaten streak against Army to 15 games (12-0-3).

Senior forward Ben Lynch (Blaine, MN/Lincoln Stars) scored a pair of goals to lead the Tigers offensively and was plus-3. Todd Skirving (Thunder Bay, Ontario/Sioux Falls Stampede) was also plus-3 and dished out a pair of assists. Greg Noyes (Lucan, Ontario/Salmon Arm Silverbacks) added a pair of assists, while Dan Schuler (Webster, NY/Powell River Kings) and Mike Colavecchia (Maple, Ontario/Lindsay Muskies) added goals.

In net, RIT goaltender Jordan Ruby (Tavistock, Ontario/Wellington Dukes) was strong for the second straight game, stopping 37-of-40 shots to pick up his third win of the season. He made several crucial saves throughout to keep RIT in the lead, including one on C.J. Reuschlein from point blank range with 8:53 left in regulation.

Reuschlein and Joe Kozlak had a goal and an assist apiece to lead the Black Knights, while Clint Carlisle also scored. In net, Tanner Creel shook off a slow start to make 30 saves.

The Tigers led 3-2 late in the third period before Colavecchia fired a shot from the right face-off circle on a power-play past Creel for his 10th goal of the season with 4:43 left, giving RIT a seemingly insurmountable 4-2 lead.

Just 29 seconds later however, Army would strike back, as Carlisle slammed in a loose puck from the side of the net to cut the RIT lead back to 4-3.

From there, the RIT defense held tight, keeping Army at bay. The Black Knights pulled Creel with 1:34 left and had the puck deep in the RIT zone for the final 30 seconds, but the duo of Alexander Kuqali (Pittsburgh, PA/Sioux City Musketeers) and Noyes, along with the forward unit did a great job keeping the puck pinned along the boards.

Army out-shot RIT 40-34. The Tigers were 1-for-2 with the man-advantage, while Army was 0-for-2.

"We found a way to win tonight, as Army outworked us for long stretches tonight," said RIT head coach Wayne Wilson. "We got a few timely goals, especially early and were able to hang on. Hopefully this gets us going as we head to Niagara next weekend."

RIT jumped out to a 3-0 lead after one period of play, despite getting out-shot by the Black Knights, 18-15.

Just 30 seconds into the game, Shane Hearn was hauled down by Nolan Descoteaux (Dallas, TX/South Shore Kings) on a breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot. On the penalty shot, Hearn came in and tried to beat Ruby between the legs with a shot in close, but the RIT goaltender held his ground and made the save, keeping the game scoreless.

RIT was awarded a penalty shot in last night's game. Schuler was stopped by Army goaltender Rob Tadazak.

Lynch would open the scoring at the 7:09 mark of the opening period, making a nifty move in front after a great feed from Skirving for his sixth goal of the season. Noyes would hit Skirving in the neutral zone with a pass. Skirving sent a pass to the net, hitting Lynch in stride. The senior forward corralled a tough pass and was able to beat Creel to the far side to make it 1-0 RIT.

Lynch would get his second of the game and seventh of the season just over five minutes later, as he came in over the line on a 3-on-3 rush, stopped about 10 feet inside the line and unleashed a wicked slap shot that beat Creel cleanly over the shoulder. Brad Shumway (Lafayette, CO/Chicago Steel) assisted on the goal.

Schuler would complete the first period onslaught with 2:37 left in the period, slamming home a rebound in close after the initial shot by Skirving was stopped by Creel. Kuqali did a great job along the boards to keep the puck in the Army zone, getting the puck to Skirving.

Army would strike back in the second period, scoring twice in a span of 19 seconds in the first 1:44 to cut RIT's lead to 3-2.

At the 1:25 mark, Reuschlein slammed home a rebound off a shot from Josh Roberts to make it 3-1 Tigers. Kozlak would get his third goal of the season 19 seconds later, going around Ruby after corralling a loose puck in front.

Ruby had to make a huge save on Carlisle with 2:53 left in the period on a wrap around to keep it 3-2 Tigers.
Creel made a handful of big saves in the period, one on Lynch, the other on Andrew Miller (Chicago, IL/Chicago Steel) on odd-man rushes to keep it a one-goal game.

Last night, Ruby made 35 saves to record his first collegiate shutout and Brandon Thompson (Vancouver, British Columbia/Handsworth) and Danny Smith (Edmonton, Alberta/Sherwood Park Crusaders) combined for six points in RIT's 6-0 win over the Black Knights.

RIT leads the all-time series between the two schools, 13-2-5 and is 6-1-3 against the Black Knights at Ritter Arena. The Tigers are 68-20-13 all-time at Ritter Arena against AHA foes in the regular season.

Last night, RIT began a stretch of nine of 10 games being played at Ritter Arena. RIT is 4-2-0 at home this season. The two teams conclude their regular season series on Saturday night from Ritter Arena at 7:05 p.m.

The Tigers are back in action next weekend with a home-and-home series against Niagara University. The two teams meet at Niagara for a nationally-televised game by CBS Sports Network on Friday at 7:05 p.m. The next night, the two teams return to RIT to complete the regular season series on Saturday at 7:05 p.m.

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Washington Times