PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — RIT took advantage of some Plattsburgh mistakes and made some opportunities of its own to win the championship game of the Pepsi Cardinal Classic 8-2 on Saturday.
The Tigers played an extremely aggressive penalty kill early in the first period and it paid dividends. Errol McDonald popped out of the RIT zone with the puck, and took off down the ice 2-on-1. He fed the puck across the slot to linemate Derek Hahn, who beat Plattsburgh netminder Niklas Sundberg high on the glove side for the shorthanded goal at 6:14.
RIT’s power play got the second goal of the period, while on the 5-on-3 advantage, at the 11:30 mark. Jerry Galway sent a big blast from the top of the slot that found the back of the net.
RIT played very opportunistic during the later half of the period, taking advantage of the few mistakes that Plattsburgh made. “We certainly got timely goals tonight,” said RIT coach Wayne Wilson.
Mike Tarantino took advantage of a Plattsburgh mistake when he stole the puck behind the Cardinal net and tucked in the wraparound at 12:37 for the 4-on-4 tally.
And then Sam Hill intercepted a breakout pass across the Cardinal slot, and then steered the puck around Sundberg at 18:15 for RIT’s fourth goal of the period.
The Cardinals began to mount more and more pressure on RIT as the period waned, but were unable to solve Tiger netminder Tyler Euverman.
RIT continued to roll through the first half of the second period. Peter Bournazakis, RIT’s leading scorer, finished off a tic-tac-toe play 8:59 into the period for the Tigers’ fifth goal.
Jerry Galway one-timed in a pass from Mike Bournazakis at 10:24 for RIT’s second power-play goal of the night.
Plattsburgh kept up a strong play in the neutral zone, and it finally paid off at the 12:47 mark with a power-play goal. Peter Ollari took a shot from the top of the slot that Jeff Hopkins tipped on the way into the back of the net to get the Cardinals on the board.
Even play moved the action back and forth across the rink for the remainder of the second period, but the scoring wasn’t finished yet. Peter Bournazakis swatted in a rebound for RIT at 16:34. Joe Dolci finished off a 2-on-1 at 16:49 for Plattsburgh.
The second period ended with RIT up 7-2, but with Plattsburgh gaining steam.
RIT struck quick in the third period. Matt Moore kept an attempted clearing pass in at the Cardinal blue line. He sent a pass down to Mike Bournazakis deep in the zone, who passed it across the crease to Jonathan Day. Day tapped the puck in to the net for the goal just 31 seconds in to the period.
End-to-end action continued, with Plattsburgh gaining a decided territorial advantage by mid-period. But the Cardinals couldn’t convert on the opportunities. Play turned chippy in the waning moments.
Euverman had a strong night in net for RIT, making 29 saves on 31 shots, and earning the tournament MVP award. “I dont judge him by any but the big games, and he has come up big in every one,” said Wilson.
All Tournament Team: Fred Perowne (Colby), Jerry Galway (RIT), Peter Bournazakis (RIT), Mike Tarantino (RIT), Mark Coletta (Plattsburgh), MVP: Tyler Euverman (RIT).