ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The top-ranked Tigers of RIT (26-0-1) scored four goals on nine power plays and rolled over the Lebanon Valley Dutchmen (18-9-2) by a 10-2 score in the second and final game of their NCAA quarterfinal Saturday night.
The opening stanza was remarkably like the first period of the first game. Lebanon Valley once again came out and put pressure on the RIT net early, getting several quality chances right off the bat.
But like game one, RIT notched the first few goals and built a commanding lead. Tiger Josh Faulkner opened the scoring at 6:31, steering a rebound around Dutchmen netminder Lincoln Matlock.
In game one, the penalty killing squads won the battles of the special teams, keeping both power play scoreless on the night. In a difference in this game, RIT scored on its first power play of the night. The Tigers worked a nifty tic-tac-toe play down the slot, which Peter Bournazakis finished at 9:56 with a goal from the left side of the Dutchmen net.
“After watching their penalty killing last night, our coach pulled us aside and we decided to crash the net more to create more opportunities,” said Tiger co-captain Jerry Galway.
The Tigers notched two more goals in the period to enter the first intermission enjoying a 4-0 advantage. Ryan Fairbarn and Jonathan Day each scored, and Mike Buornazakis assisted on both goals, setting a single-season RIT record with 47 assists, a total that he would build to 50 by the end of the night.
“I thought the first period tonight was the most important period of the entire weekend. If we let them get in to it, it would have been game on,” said RIT coach Wayne Wilson.
The second period had a much slower flow to it, with a steady parade of players to the penalty box ensured by an abundance of whistles.
RIT put the proverbial nail in the Dutchmen coffin just 16 seconds into the period with a fluke goal. Derek Hahn chipped the puck from behind the Lebanon Valley net, and it ricocheted off the back of Matlock and in for the tally.
After that, the game started to get chippy as the refs struggled to keep a semblance of control. This continued throughout the majority of the second period.
Lebanon Valley got on the board 3:32 in to the period. Jason Kilcoyne grabbed an RIT clearing pass in the Tiger zone, and passed across to Doug MacCormack. MacCormack wristed the puck from the left faceoff dot past RIT netminder Tyler Euverman for the goal.
RIT notched a power-play goal by Jonathan Day at 5:39, and that marked the end of the night for Matlock. He was replaced in net by Kevin Block.
“You can do whatever in the regular season, but if you don’t do anything in the postseason, you’re golfing,” said Day.
RIT tallied two more power-play goals in the second period, both by Sam Hill, while the Dutchmen’s Kilcoyne scored 4-on-4. An ugly and long second period ended with RIT up 8-2 on the scoreboard.
More penalties continued in the third period, but play wasn’t as chippy as in the second period. Tiger Lanner Fayad chipped in two goals in a 16-second span midway through the period to finish the scoring.
With the 10-2 win, RIT advances to the NCAA Final Four to be held the weekend of March 16. Lebanon Valley, meanwhile, ends a very successful season.
“This is our third year as a program. We have seen the best of the best, and will build on that experience next year,” said Dutchmen freshman Doug MacCormack.
“Our captains have done a great job of keeping the team focused all season. We’re going to draw a lot on the experience of our leadership players for next weekend,” said Wilson.