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RIT continues to struggle with 6-2 loss

ROCHESTER, NY The RIT men's hockey team (8-17-5, 7-13-3 AHA) wrapped up its seven-game home stand by falling to Atlantic Hockey Association leader Mercyhurst University (17-12-5, 15-4-4 AHA), 6-2, in front of 1,524 fans at Ritter Arena on Saturday.

With the loss, RIT drops to 10th in the Atlantic Hockey Association standings with 17 points.

Nardo Nagtzaam and Kyle Cook led the Lakers with three points apiece. Nagtzaam had two goals and an assist, while Cook had a goal and two assists. Zac Frischmon, Anthony Mastrodicasa, and Stephen Hrehoriak also scored for the Lakers. In net, Jimmy Sarjeant, the AHA's leading goaltender in severak categories, made his first start since Jan. 25, stopping 43 of 45 shots.

Anthony Hamburg (Phoenix, AZ/Omaha Lancers) and Alexander Kuqali (Pittsburgh, PA/Sioux City Musketeers) scored for the Tigers, who out-shot Mercyhurst, 45-29, including 20-8 in the third period. Freshman defenseman Michael Holland (Cambridge, MA/Chicago Steel) recorded his first collegiate point, an assist on Hamburg's third period goal.

Jordan Ruby (Tavistock, Ontario/Wellington Dukes) made his first start since Jan. 25, stopping 21 of 26 shots before being replaced by Ken MacLean (Concord, MA/Kalamazoo Wings) with 9:45 to play. MacLean, making his first appearance of the season, made a pair of saves.

RIT was 1-for-4 with the man-advantage and took just one penalty in the contest. The Lakers were 0-for-1 on the power-play.

"We fired a lot of shots, but didn't have enough good looks," said RIT head coach Wayne Wilson. "The weekend came down to a lot of little things, which was the difference. We have to keep a good mental frame and continue to compete hard."

Mercyhurst opened the scoring at the 12:49 mark of the first period, when Nagtzaam was left all alone in front after a centering feed from Kyle Dutra tipped off a RIT player. Nagtzaam was able to chip the puck past a sprawling Ruby for his sixth goal of the season.

The Lakers scored the only two goals of the second period to take a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes of play.

Mastrodicasa fired a long through traffic after taking a feed from Matthew Zay that eluded Ruby to the short side to make it 2-0 Lakers. Hrehoriak made it 3-0 Mercyhurst at the 17:49 mark, as he cut to the outside on the right wing, made a strong move towards the net and was able to somehow beat Ruby from in tight.

Nagtzaam and Frischmon tallied 4:37 apart early in the third period to give Mercyhurst a commanding 5-0 lead.

RIT got on the board with 9:45 left in regulation, when Hamburg chipped in a rebound off a point shot from Holland for his second goal of the season. The assist was the first of Holland's collegiate career. Brad Reid (Delta, British Columbia/Coquitlam Express) also assisted on the goal.

Tyler Shiplo of Mercyhurst was given a major for face masking with 9:24 left. The Tigers scored once on the ensuing power-play, as Kuqali took a feed from Shumway in his own zone and went the length of the ice, cutting wide into the zone, going towards the net, and slipping a shot past Sarjeant for his second goal of the season.

Cook would complete the scoring on a 2-on-1 rush with 19 seconds left in regulation.

RIT went 0-5-2 over its season-high seven-game home stand, which is the longest home winless streak at the Division I era. Overall, RIT has an eight-game winless streak, which is also the longest in the Division I era.

The Tigers are 30-18-6 all-time against the Lakers, including a 14-9-3 mark since 2005. The two teams were also long time Division III rivals as part of the ECAC West conference. Mercyhurst won the season series between the two schools, 3-0-0. Earlier in the season, Mercyhurst defeated RIT at the Mercyhurst Ice Center, 3-2 on Nov. 8. Last night, Ryan Misiak scored two goals and added an assist to lead Mercyhurst to a 6-3 win.

Tonight was the second-to-last home game of the 2013-14 season.

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Washington Times