AMHERST, Mass. — Visiting RIT went three for three on the power play and scored a shorthanded goal to defeat the host Amherst Lord Jeffs, 5-3.
RIT dressed only 12 skaters and two goaltenders due to suspensions imposed by head coach Wayne Wilson for violation of a team rule two weeks ago. Nine players sat for last Saturday’s 4-3 loss to Wentworth, and 10 players were out of the lineup.
Special teams were key for RIT (9-1), which was perfect with the man advantage, and scored a shorthanded goal.
“Our penalty kill was excellent,” said Wilson. “And our power play was really clicking.”
Amherst was 0-7 on the power play.
The Lord Jeffs (2-3-3) got off to a quick start, scoring just 1:04 into the contest. A giveaway in the RIT zone resulted in a two-on-none break for Amherst, and Beau Kretzman beat RIT goaltender Chris Sherman cleanly to open the scoring.
Amherst continued to generate odd-man rushes off of quick transition in the neutral zone, and Scott Aldrich made it 2-0 on a two-on-one at 11:07.
RIT made adjustments between periods one and two, according to Wilson.
“We started to dump and chase more,” he said. “It’s not always our style but it’s good, smart hockey when the situation is right.”
Galway got his first of the game on RIT’s first power play early in the second period on shot from the high slot that got through a crowd in front and beat Amherst goaltender Justin Jahger at 2:31.
RIT tied the game on a short-handed rush at 4:09. Mike Bournazakis broke out of the RIT zone, and hit Josh Faulkner with a pass at the Amherst blue line. Faulkner beat Jahger stickside for the short-handed tally.
RIT got its first lead of the game at 9:19 on Galway’s second of the game, a shot from a tight angle that snuck in behind Jahger.
Amherst evened the game at 16:34 on an almost identical play, with Bob Miele beating Sherman from a tight angle.
The Tigers got their second power play goal of the night off a scramble in front last in the second period. Jason Chafe shoveled the pack past Jahger, who was on his back after making the initial save.
That set the stage for a wild, up-and-down third period that saw the Tigers go to a defensive posture late in the game.
“We went to a 1-2-2 forecheck, which we’ve never done before and haven’t even practiced,” said Wilson. “But it’s more efficient in terms of conserving our energy and [Amherst] seemed to struggle with it.”
RIT got an insurance goal, once again on the power play at 16:58 when Josh Wilkins, pinching in from the far point, found Roberto Orofiamma all alone in front. The freshman one-timed the puck past Jahger to make it 5-3.
Amherst put on tremendous pressure in the final minutes. The Tigers took a pair of minors and Amherst head coach Jack Arena pulled his goaltender to make it six-on-three for the final minute and a half.
Sherman made several big stops in the third to preserve the win.
“He made some great saves for us, particularly in penalty kill situations,” Wilson said.
RIT plays Williams on Saturday, this time with a full complement of players. Wilson faces a unique situation where half his team will be more tired than normal, while the other half will be fully rested.
“I figure the half that lost to Wentworth [and didn't play tonight] owes it to the guys who won tonight,” he said.