ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A tight territorial game opened up midway through the second period, and the RIT Tigers scored a pair of late-second period goals to get momentum in a 7-3 win over Hobart on Tuesday.
RIT took over the ECAC West lead with the victory.
Hobart came out with much more emotion at the beginning of the game and carried that through most of the first period. However, RIT got on the board first with an even-strength goal at 6:48. Mike Walling chipped the puck out of the RIT zone along the boards. Tiger Lanner Fayad picked it up and was off to the races with a 2-on-1 break. Fayad finished the play with a wrist shot for the goal.
The Tiger goal didn’t slow Hobart down as it continued a strong territory-control game. The Statesmen’s strategy paid off with a power-play goal at 10:26. Skating across the RIT slot, Matt Pane made a drop pass to Jerry Toomey, who then wristed the puck past RIT netminder Tyler Euverman to knot the score at 1.
Tight play continued early in to the second period, and it was nip-and-tuck for both teams. RIT killed off a major penalty early in the period and Hobart had an apparent goal waved off by the referee midway through the period because the net was off the moorings.
Around this same time, the feel of the game changed to a wide open, end to end contest.
RIT struggled most of the night.
“This was a game set up for us to play poorly and we did just that,” RIT coach Wayne Wilson said. “Our power play was awful, our penalty kill was horrible, and our defense was terrible, and that’s just about the whole game.”
RIT outshot Hobart 27-5 in the second period, with most of that advantage coming in the closing stages of the period.
“I thought their goaltender [Chris Connolly] played real well, particularly in the second period,” Wilson said.
Connolly stopped 41 of the 44 shots that he faced through two periods.
The Tiger pressure finally got to Hobart late in the second period. Josh Faulkner threaded a pass through the Hobart slot to Brian Armes on the far side, and Armes flipped it in at 17:13 to give RIT the 2-1 lead.
Another Tiger goal at 19:54 of the second period by Faulkner swung the tide strongly in RIT’s favor.
The third period was even more physical as the hits, elbows, and sticks kept creeping higher and higher on the opposing players. RIT continued to carry the momentum gained from the late second period goals into the third.
RIT’s Peter Bournazakis one-timed in a goal 1:52 into the period. And Jonathan Day carried the puck in from the neutral zone around the Hobart defense and scored at 3:56 to give RIT a 5-1 lead. That spelled the end of the night for Connolly, after a strong, 44-save performance. Sam Weiner entered in relief and it gave the Hobart team a jump.
The Statesmen took advantage of penalties in the middle of the period to climb back in to the contest. Cameron Matheson sent a pass from behind the Tiger net to Sean Elliott at the bottom of the faceoff circle, and Elliot wristed in the power-play goal at 8:04 for Hobart.
Hobart struck again just over three minutes later, this time skating 4-on-4. Matt Pane passed from the low corner to Jerry Toomey, standing on the doorstep of the RIT net. Toomey put the puck in the back of the net at 11:41 for his second goal of the night and pulled Hobart back to a 5-3 deficit.
Play evened out after this, but the physical play continued at an unabated pace. RIT put an end to the Hobart comeback at 14:49 with a power-play goal.
Freshman Mike Tarantino put a blistering wrister from the faceoff dot in to the top corner of the Hobart net. Sean Hill added an even-strength goal at 18:57 to complete the scoring.