ROCHESTER, N.Y. — RIT’s power play kept rolling along, converting on four of seven chances Saturday and improving to incredible 48.6 percent on the season, as the Tigers defeated Manhattanville 6-2 in an ECAC West game.
“Both our special teams did a great job tonight,” said RIT coach Wayne Wilson, “probably the difference in the game.”
The Valiants got three power plays during the opening 10 minutes of the game, but couldn’t get the puck into the RIT net. By comparison, the Tigers converted on three of their first four power plays in the first period, and that turned out the be the difference in the game.
RIT’s senior co-captain Derek Hahn returned to the ice in explosive fashion. He took the puck across the Valiant slot and tucked it in to the upper corner of the net at 11:53 while RIT was on a 5-on-3 advantage.
Hahn scored again on another 5-on-3 at 13:22 when he roofed a rebound in from the slot to give RIT a 2-0 lead.
Just 19 seconds later, Tiger Errol McDonald staked RIT to a three-goal lead with another power-play goal. Ryan Fairbarn shot from the high slot, and Valiant netminder Rob McShane made the save. But McDonald was on the doorstep to chip in the rebound.
Manhattanville came out in the second period with a much more physical style. It was obvious that coach Keith Levinthal had talked to his boys about the importance of finishing checks, and that is exactly what they did as they hit Tigers at every opportunity.
This gave the Valiants momentum for a significant portion of the period and they converted this into their first goal of the contest at 9:26. RIT got caught at center ice and Sean Keane sprung in to the Tiger zone alone on the breakaway. Keane’s backhand beat RIT netminder Tyler Euverman low for the score.
The pace of physical play let up a little as the second period waned, and RIT took back the momentum with a goal at 14:07. Brian Armes took a goal-mouth pass from linemate Lanner Fayad and stuffed it in on the backhand for the Tigers’ fourth goal.
RIT lost another player to a disqualification penalty, its third in just the last two games, early in the third period when Peter Bournazakis got tossed for a kneeing major. This set the tone for the remainder of the game as penalties abounded and special teams took over the game once again.
“They outhit us, they outworked us, and their power play just kicked our [butt],” said Manhattanville coach Keith Levinthal. “Perhaps the most disappointing thing is that they outhit and outworked us. Those are things that we can control.”
The Tigers’ special teams rebuilt their four goal lead at 9:55 of the third period when co-captian Jerry Galway chipped in a rebound on the power play.
Manhattanville’s special teams got a goal of its own at 13:43. Chris Seifert’s shot from the low circle snuck through Euverman’s five hole for the power-play tally.
RIT closed out the scoring for the night at the 15:00 mark when Hahn completed his hat trick. Hahn finished off a give-and-go down the Valiant slot with Mike Bournazakis for the goal.
The win gives RIT the early lead in ECAC West league standings.