ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The No. 1-seed RIT Tigers outshot the fourth-seeded Hobart Statesmen 48-17, on the way to a 9-1 victory in the ECAC West semifinals Friday night.
RIT came out and dominated territorially from the opening faceoff, and the pressure paid dividends immediately as the Tigers took a 1-0 lead just 41 seconds into the period. Jonathan Day picked up the puck just inside the blue line and skated in towards the Hobart net unmarked, wristing the puck just under Statesman netminder Chris Connolly’s glove for the tally.
RIT took a 2-0 lead at 6:22 in to the period. Mike Tarantino was able to push the puck forward at center ice as he was being checked, and found the stick of Sam Hill. Hill streaked in to the Hobart zone and beat Connolly from a tight angle for the goal.
The Tigers kept the pressure in the Statesman zone, but Chris Connolly stood on his head after settling in and kept Hobart in the game.
If you like high-scoring hockey games, then the first 15 minutes of the second period were not for you. RIT continued to play territorial-control hockey, but the Hobart defense solidified in front of Connolly and kept the Tigers at bay.
The Tigers finally found a way through the Statesman defense at the 14:15 mark. Rob Vessio sent a slapshot from the point through a forest of legs, and Derek Hahn redirected it in to the net for the third RIT goal of the game.
An RIT penalty late in the period gave Hobart some jump in its step and the Statesmen finally got on the board in the waning seconds of the period. Tim McCarthy found himself in front of the Tiger net, alone, and took advantage of the opportunity. McCarthy shot the puck, which was saved by RIT netminder Tyler Euverman, but McCarthy quickly collected the rebound and roofed the puck into the net at 19:27 for the Hobart goal.
The Hobart seniors came out strong in the third period and kept the play much more even early on. But midway through the period, RIT took firm control of the scoreboard. Mike Walling scored at 7:47 with a big blast from the point that beat Connolly low, ending the night for Connolly as Taylor put Sam Weiner in net.
Tiger Peter Bournazakis then netted a pair of goals on the same shift, just 21 seconds apart. Bournazakis scored the first of the pair at 9:15, as a he picked up a drop pass from Josh Faulkner at the Hobart blue line. Bournazakis weaved around two Statesman defenders, then around Weiner, and slid the puck into the net for the goal.
Bournazakis scored his second at the 9:36 mark. He took a pass across the Hobart crease from Sam Hill, and one-timed the puck in to the net to put RIT up 6-1.
Hobart got a couple of power plays due to RIT penalties, but they didn’t work out quite as the Statesmen had hoped. Tiger Brian Armes blocked a Hobart shot high in the Tiger zone, and Josh Faulkner was able to collect the puck and break into the Statesman zone alone. He beat Weiner high with a wrist shot for the shorthanded goal.
Jared Conlon tipped in a shot for a RIT power-play goal at 16:27, Hill notched another power play tally at 19:54, and the final score was RIT on the upside of an 9-1 tally to move the Tigers into the ECAC West finals.