ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Curry entered RIT’s Ritter Arena as the last remaining undefeated team in the nation, a feat achieved with strong defense and quick skating. However, for the first time this season Curry allowed a team to score more than four goals, and RIT skated away with a 9-1 victory.
“We knew these guys were undefeated,” said RIT winger Michael Tucciarone. “We wanted to end their winning streak, and get one going of our own.”
Curry dominated play during the opening ten minutes, using its quickness to buzz the RIT net. Some solid positioning by Tiger goaltender George Eliopoulos and a couple of posts prevented the Colonels from scoring.
RIT broke onto the scoreboard first 13:44 in to the first period. Tucciarone, even though he was marked by two Curry defenders, was able to keep the puck on his stick as he skated down the Colonels’ slot. About five feet from the crease, he let go a wrist shot that eluded Curry netminder Lenny Mosca for the goal.
Curry answered, continuing to control play. Chad Pillsbury slid a pass across the top of the Tiger crease to linemate Manu Mau’u. Mau’u easily tipped the puck through Eliopoulos’ five-hole as he slid across the mouth of the net and it trickled across the line for the score at the 15:01 mark.
Curry lost a little bit of its discipline in the last few minutes of the period, taking a series of ill-timed penalties. RIT took advantage of the opportunity, scoring a pair of power-play goals to take a 3-1 lead at the first intermission.
Darren Doherty finished a power play at the 16:52 mark after Mark Hyman found him with a pass down the slot. Tucciarone tallied his second goal of the period, also on the power play, when he sent a slapshot over a pile of bodies sprawled on the ice in front of the crease at 17:34 of the period.
RIT pulled away in the second period, scoring four unanswered goals to enter the second intermission with a 7-1 lead.
“Maybe for the first time, we came out and played the kind of game that I was looking for all season,” said RIT coach Wayne Wilson. “If we could put tonight’s effort and some of the special team things we did in a bottle, it would help as the rest of the season goes on.”
The Tigers opened the scoring 7:13 in to the second period with a power play goal on a nifty passing play. Tristan Fairbarn from the bottom of the left faceoff circle passed to Tucciarone at the point. Tucciarone wristed a pass towards the net that Michael Tarantino deflected through Mosca’s five-hole for the goal.
RIT struck again just over two minutes later, this time while skating even strength when Steve Farrer wristed home a shot at 9:15 for his first collegiate goal.
Curry coach Rob Davies called his timeout following RIT’s fifth goal to try and settle the troops. It worked for a while, but chippy play that began in the first period quickly returned from both teams.
RIT added two more goals in the closing minutes of the second period. Roberto Orofiamma chipped the puck over Mosca at the 15:34 mark. And Brian Payant cleaned up a rebound for the Tigers seventh goal with only 24 seconds remaining in the period.
For the second time in the game, Curry earned a penalty following a Tiger goal as they roughed up Payant as the red light went on. Both teams were participating in extra curricular activity on the ice with high sticks, shoves, and face washes. But Curry added to their penalty woes with undisciplined jabs following Tiger goals.
To open the third period, Curry substituted goaltenders with sophomore Bryan Madison entering the net.
The chippy play continued throughout the third period, and the referee consistently paraded a steady stream of players from both teams to the penalty box. Less than two total minutes, combined, were played in the third period with both teams skating at full strength.
RIT built on its commanding lead as the period progressed scoring two special teams goals. Tristan Fairbarn chipped the puck in the Curry net from a tight angle on the power play ay 8:55.
At the 12:28 mark, the referee put his arm in the air to signal another in the seemingly endless string of penalties. While play continued, Eliopoulos skated to the Tiger bench allowing the extra RIT attacker to enter the play. Curry was unable to regain control of the puck to force the whistle, and Adam George finished the play with a goal to stake RIT to the final 9-1 score.