ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A stingy Fredonia defense and outstanding goaltending helped the Blue Devils to maintain a tie with RIT until very late in the contest. But a goal with only 1:06 remaining off a scramble in front of the Fredonia net, followed by an empty netter, let RIT skate away with the narrow 4-2 win on Saturday.
Both teams came out with a jump and it was end-to-end action right from the opening faceoff, in a very quickly paced first period.
Fredonia took advantage of a lucky break to open the scoring. Dave Mugavero had just stepped out of the penalty box, when a blocked shot came rolling out of the Fredonia zone. Mugavero collected the puck and broke in to the RIT zone alone. Mugavero deked netminder Tyler Euverman and backhanded the puck along the ice for the tally at 12:30.
RIT struck back relatively quickly with a tying goal at 14:41. Derek Hahn passed across the crease to Mike Bournazakis streaking towards the net. Bournazakis wristed the puck past Fredonia goaltender Will Hamele and the first period ended tied 1-1.
The Blue Devils used a strong defensive game plan to create opportunities in the second period. The work paid off 7:13 in to the period as Fredonia took a 2-1 lead. Christian Fletcher drew the Tiger defensemen into the corner and then snapped a pass out to Dan Showalter, who found himself alone in the slot. Showalter slid the puck into the Tiger net for the goal.
RIT dug in and carried a dominating territorial advantage for the remainder of the period, outshooting Fredonia 18-4. Benefits were slow to come, but RIT scored to tie the game back up 2-2 at 14:57. Hahn set up Bournazakis again in almost an identical play as the earlier Tiger goal.
RIT threw everything including the kitchen sink at the Fredonia net in the third period, eventually outshooting the Blue Devils 35-9 on the period.
The stingy Fredonia defense did something no other team has accomplished yet this year, keeping the RIT power play off the board for the night.
“Their goalie played outstanding, giving up almost no rebounds all night,” said RIT coach Wayne Wilson.
The Tigers finally got the go-ahead goal, their only lead on the night, at 18:54. McAllister King took a shot from the point that Hamele saved. A big scramble ensued in front of the Blue Devil net, involving most players of both teams. Somehow, Bournazakis corralled the puck and tipped it in to the net to finish his hat trick.
Hahn contributed an empty-net goal with under a second remaining.