RIT picks up third straight win, toppling Mercyhurst 6-5 in OT
ERIE, PA – Alden Dupuis (Edmonton, Alberta/Bonnyville Pontiacs ) scored his second goal of the game 1:59 into overtime and Erik Brown (Keene, Ontario/Kemptville 73's) recorded RIT's first hat-trick in three seasons, as the RIT men's hockey team (13-15-2, 12-11-1 AHA) ended host Mercyhurst University's (15-11-4, 12-8-4 AHA) nine-game unbeaten streak with a 6-5 victory from the Mercyhurst Ice Center on Monday evening. RIT has now won three straight games and moves into fifth place in the Atlantic Hockey standings.
Mercyhurst's Jonathan Charbonneau sent the game to overtime on his rebound goal with 11.6 seconds left in regulation. In the overtime, Mercyhurst threatened early before Jordan Peacock (Burlington, Ontario/Burlington Cougars) picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and cut hard towards the net. He was cutoff by a Lakers defender and went around the net, where he sent a pass to Chase Norrish (Strongfield, Saskatchewan/Yorkton Terriers) at the right point. Norrish fired a shot that Mercyhurst goaltender Colin DeAugustine stopped, but Dupuis was right there to slam home the rebound for his second goal of the night and seventh tally of the season.
It was RIT's first overtime win in just over a calendar year, as Adam Brubacher (Elmira, Ontario/Powell River Kings) scored in the extra session to beat Holy Cross on Feb. 11, 2017. The Tigers have scored six goals in back-to-back games.
Brown recorded his first collegiate hat-trick and reached the 20-goal plateau, as he scored a goal in each of the first three periods. It was RIT's first hat-trick since Brad McGowan potted four goals in a 7-3 win over Air Force in the Atlantic Hockey Quarterfinals on March 11, 2015. Brown becomes the sixth Tiger to score 20 goals in a season in the Division I era and first since Matt Garbowsky (26) and McGowan (23) in 2014-15.
Peacock tallied a career-high with three points on a goal and two assists, while Abbott Girduckis (Belleville, Ontario/Wellington Dukes) had two first period assists. In net, Christian Short (Vaughan, Ontario/Surrey Eagles) stopped 29 shots to earn his third straight win and fifth victory in 2017-18.
Charbonneau had two goals and an assist for the Lakers, who erased three different two-goal deficits. Joseph Duszak had a goal and two assists, while Taylor Best and Josh Lammon also scored. Brandon Wildung started in net for the Lakers, stopping six shots over the first 7:49. DeAugustine played the rest of the way, stopping 18 of 21 shots.
Mercyhurst out-shot RIT 34-30. RIT was 2-for-3 on the power-play, while Mercyhurst was 1-for-4.
"We showed great character, especially after (Mercyhurst) scored the late goal and for us to come back in overtime is huge and shows a lot about our guys," said RIT head coach Wayne Wilson. "We are playing well right now, with three tough road wins in four days, but have to keep our foot on the gas these final two weekends (of the regular season)."
Just like RIT's game at Robert Morris 48 hours ago, the two teams combined for five first period goals with RIT holding a 3-2 lead.
Brown would score his team-best 18th goal of the season just 1:31 into the contest, as he was left all alone to the left side of the Mercyhurst goal and took a perfect feed from Girduckis. Brown had nothing but net to shoot at and beat a sprawling Wildung for the goal.
Just three minutes later, Peacock took a feed from Matt Abt (Leduc, Alberta/Whitecourt Wolverines) and on the rush, whistled a wrist shot to the far post past Wildung for his sixth goal of the year, making it 2-0 Tigers.
Mercyhurst would answer right back 1:55 later, as Lammon fired a shot from a tough angle at the side of the net that snuck in for his seventh goal of the season.
Once again, RIT would have answer just 1:06 later, as Dupuis swatted in his third chance in front after getting behind the defense and taking a feed from Bryson Traptow (Calgary, Alberta/Camrose Kodiaks). The goal was Dupuis' sixth of the season.
The Lakers made it 3-2 with 8:47 left in the period, as Duszak fired a shot from the high slot through traffic and past Short for his sixth goal of the season.
Brown made it 4-2 Tigers just 47 seconds into the period, converting on a wraparound past DeAugustine, who replaced Wildung.
Short had to make a handful of big saves to keep it 4-2 in the period, as Mercyhurst ratcheted up the pressure out-shooting RIT 13-4 over the middle stanza. The Lakers would take advantage of penalty problems by RIT and score a power-play goal with 1:58 left in the period, as Charbonneau slammed in a rebound at the side of the net, as the initial shot by Duszak was blocked by a RIT defender, right to the Mercyhurst senior, who scored his 11th goal of the year.
Best tied the game for the Lakers with 8:03 left in regulation, slipping in a loose puck at the side of the net after RIT won a defensive zone face-off.
Brown netted his first hat-trick on a power-play with 9:02 left in regulation, redirecting a perfect pass from Adam Brubacher (Elmira, Ontario/Powell River Kings) in front. Myles Powell (Courtenay, British Columbia/Cowichan Valley Capitals) also assisted on the goal.
In the final 30 seconds, Brown nearly scored his fourth goal of the game, on a chance with the Mercyhurst net empty deep in the Lakers zone. The attempt was blocked and the Lakers came right back down and set up in the RIT zone. Lester Lancaster fired a shot that Short stopped, but Charbonneau was there to bury the rebound and tie the game at 5-5 with 11.8 seconds left.
Tonight's game was the second of four regular season meetings between the two schools. The Lakers won the first meeting, 6-3 from the Mercyhurst Center on Jan. 16. This game was originally scheduled to be played on Dec. 30, but was postponed due to excessive snow in the Erie area. It was also RIT's first Monday night game since Feb. 13, 2006.
RIT and Mercyhurst will wrap up the regular season on Feb. 23-24 from the Gene Polisseni Center.
RIT leads the all-time series between the two schools, 40-21-6 and is 15-5-1 at the Mercyhurst Ice Center since moving to Division I in 2005.
RIT is right back in action on Saturday and Sunday at AHA foe Sacred Heart. Saturday's game will be at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport at 7:05 p.m. Sunday's contest from Ingalls Rink at Yale University will start at 3:05 p.m.