ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The RIT Tigers scored early and often against the Cortland Red Dragons Friday night, building a 5-0 lead and coasting to a 9-3 final score.
Here’s a hockey strategy brainteaser for you. Your team has a 76.0% penalty-killing percentage. You are playing a team, whose power play is chugging along at 51.9%. As a coach, what is the number-one thing that you tell your players that they need to do?
Answer: Stay out of the penalty box.
Unfortunately for Cortland, the Red Dragon players didn’t follow that advice and gave RIT five power plays in the first period. The Tigers converted on three of those to get off to the races.
The Tigers got on the board first, on their second power play of the night at 4:27. Mike Bournazakis, at the point, passed to brother Peter at the side of the net. He in turn passed across the low slot to Sam Hill, who scored the goal.
The Tigers struck again at 8:01 to pull out to a 2-0 lead. Mike Tarantino, from behind the Cortland net, slid the puck to Jonathan Day out front. Day passed back to Tarantino, who had snuck around the side of the net, and Tarantino swept the puck in.
Just 20 seconds later, Day got a goal of his own when he chipped in a rebound.
Peter Bournazakis scored a power-play goal right off a faceoff deep in the Cortland zone at 11:35, his 200th career point at RIT, placing him seventh on the school’s all-time scoring list.
“We were teasing him on the bench after the goal because they were only using a plain puck, not an RIT puck,” said RIT coach Wayne Wilson. “So now when he goes to show off the puck to others, they won’t know if it is a practice puck or a game puck.”
The RIT power play struck again at 19:01 to get the score to 5-0 at the end of the first period. Mike Bournazakis finished off the play for his eighth goal of the season.
Cortland came out much stronger in the second period, carrying play into the RIT zone and putting pressure on the Tiger net.
The work paid off at 5:13 when Cortland got on the board. Dave Ambuhl took a shot from the point that RIT netminder Tyler Euverman saved, but the rebound dropped down between Euverman’s legs, and Greg Menchen was there for Cortland to poke the puck into the net for the goal.
Cortland did a good job of staying out of the penalty box for the first 15 minutes of the period, and carried play. Unfortunately for Cortland, two late penalties undid all of that work.
Shawn Wilkins scored with a big blast from the blue line at 16:23 for RIT’s sixth goal, and Ryan Fairbarn scored another RIT power-play goal with a big blast from the point at 19:24 to end the period up 7-1.
RIT scored a quick power-play goal just 1:14 in to the third period. Mike Bournazakis lifted the puck in from the post for his second goal of the game.
Cortland got a power-play goal of its own at 13:19. Matt Donskov chipped the puck into the net as he was being dragged down to his knees near the bottom of the faceoff circle.
The Red Dragons kept up the late surge with another goal at 15:55. Shaun Spaniol chipped in the rebound after a scramble in front of the RIT net, but RIT scored 4-on-4 when Derek Hahn went top shelf, to complete the scoring.