ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Hobart played an aggressive game, scoring an early third period goal to re-tie the game for the second time. But RIT tallied the game-winning goal just under seven minutes into the third period and held off a furious Hobart charge at the end, ultimately scoring two empty-net goals to preserve the 6-3 win.
“Hobart is a very good team and gave us all that we could handle for all three periods,” said RIT coach Wayne Wilson. “The Hobart coaches have done an outstanding job with that team. I didn’t think that we matched their intensity tonight.”
Hobart tied the game up 3-3 in the opening moments of the third period. From deep in the Tiger zone, the puck trickled out towards the blue line. Greg Gallagher stepped in from the point, and sent a blast through a screen of players that whizzed past RIT goaltender Tyler Euverman’s stick and into the back of the net 37 seconds into the period.
Once again, RIT regained the lead 4-3 at the 6:40 mark, scoring on its first full length power play of the game. Sam Hill slid a pass from the top of the left faceoff circle to Mike Bournazakis, who was parked on the far post, Bournazakis tapped the pass past Hobart netminder Adam Lavelle to score the goal.
RIT’s Mike Tarantino and Hill each tallied empty-net goals with under a minute to go in the game to make the final score differential a lot higher than it really deserved to be.
RIT came out in the second period with a jump, and put a ton of pressure onto the Hobart zone. The Tigers converted on their opportunities, scoring two quick goals to take the lead in a 51 second span.
Darren Doherty tallied RIT’s first goal 3:02 into the period. Linemate Jason Chafe dug the puck out from behind the net, and Doherty one-timed a quick shot that surprised Lavelle.
“This was definitely a big game for both the seniors and for the team,” said Doherty. “It was big for us to come in and win this game. We know that we are going to see Hobart again in the playoffs.”
The Tigers continued to press the advantage home. David Bagley sent a shot on net from the left side that Lavelle had trouble handling. Tarantino collected the puck and skated around behind the net to the far side and slid the puck into the empty net before Lavelle could get back into position.
That quick, it was RIT with the lead 3:53 into the second period.
Much of the second period the game was played like pond hockey. The referees continually waved off icing calls, and let several trips, hooks, and other extra-curricular stickwork go without any calls. The no-calls were equally ignored for both teams, though, so the game continued at an increasingly furious pace.
Hobart tied the game back up 2-2 12:42 into the period. A quick center ice transition by Hobart caught the RIT defenders up ice, and the Statesmen skated into the Tiger zone with a two-on-one breakaway. Matt Windhol finished off the play for Hobart, collecting a rebound and roofing it over Euverman for the goal.
Two minutes later, RIT retook the lead. It was Doherty who scored again at the 14:55 mark, following up on his own rebound to poke it between Lavelle’s pads as he tried to cover it up.
From the opening faceoff, Hobart’s strategy was to keep the potent RIT offense towards the outside of the attacking zone. It wasn’t until the 8:20 mark of the period that the first Tiger shot reached Lavelle in front of the Statesmen’s net. All other RIT shots before that were either blocked or shot wide of the net.
Hobart drew first blood in the game, scoring the only goal of the opening period. Edward Poirier made a nifty move around Tiger defender Ryan Fairbarn as he skated through the right faceoff circle. As Poirier reached the bottom of the circle, he wristed the puck past Euverman’s stick and into the back of the net for the goal 4:41 into the game.
The middle of the first period was relatively even as the defense of both teams limited the offensive opportunities. Hobart started to carry play again late in the period, outhustling RIT to many of the loose pucks in the corners and along the boards.