ROCHESTER, N.Y. — RIT scored two goals in the closing minutes of the first period, another just as the second period started, and then rode the advantage to a 6-1 victory over league rival Hobart.
The Tiger special teams were the difference in the contest. RIT scored four power-play goals while only giving up one to the Statesmen.
“Our penalty-killing unit is doing a great job,” said RIT coach Wayne Wilson. “Our power play is getting very creative, and it is really paying off. I thought we had a great effort by a lot of different people tonight.”
The game started out slow, but picked up as emotions started to take over. Each team had chances to score during the opening moments of the period. RIT dinged a shot from in close off the crossbar, while Hobart whiffed on a bouncing puck facing a wide open net.
The first period was relatively penalty free until late, when a series of three penalties left RIT skating with a 4-on-3 advantage with under four minutes remaining. It took the Tigers just over a minute to get the power play unit working and they took the lead 1-0.
Defensive linemates Ryan Francke and Ryan Fairbarn were playing catch along the Statesmen blueline. The Hobart penalty killers established the defensive box, preventing any passes down low. But Fairbarn gradually snuck down to the top of the right faceoff circle, where he blasted a pass from Francke high over Hobart goaltender Thomas Kelliher’s shoulder for the goal at the 17:44 mark.
After the goal, the teams skated 4-on-4, and RIT took advantage of the open ice to build on its lead. A pair of players from both teams was battling for the puck behind the Hobart net. RIT gained control and squirted the puck out to defensemen Mike Walling, who had snuck down the slot unmarked. Walling one-timed the puck past Kelliher at the 18:34 mark. Just like that, Hobart found itself down 2-0 at the end of the first period, after battling RIT so hard.
RIT extended its lead just 44 seconds into the second period, and it put Hobart back on its heals. Tristan Fairbarn intercepted an errant clearing pass by Statesmen Jonathan Swift, and skated towards the Hobart net. Goaltender Adam Lavelle, who had just entered the game, skated out to challenge the shot, but Fairbarn found the high right corner to score the goal.
The first ten minutes of the second period were all RIT, as the Tigers smelled blood in the water after scoring three goals in a three minute period. It wasn’t until 6:29 intothe period that Hobart managed its first shot on goal against RIT.
RIT continued to pressure the Hobart zone, and added to their lead at the 9:14 mark, when Francke wove past two Statesmen defenders down the slot and scored.
The Statesmen started to mount some offensive power mid-period, but they just couldn’t bury the puck. William Brame had two stellar chances around the eleven minute mark, when he found himself on a pair of mini-breakaways. But Tiger netminder George Eliopoulos made both saves to keep Hobart off the scoreboard.
Tiger Brad Harris built RIT’s lead to 5-0 just two minutes later, scoring while on the 5-on-3 advantage, and that is how the second period ended.
RIT committed four straight penalties in the opening half of the third period, and Hobart finally was able to convert on the last one to crack the scoreboard. Greg Gallagher collected the puck at the point, and sent a shot that was going wide on the far side of the Tiger net. However, Mike McCarthy was standing at the top of the crease on that side and redirected the puck intothe net for the power play goal at the 9:58 mark.
Rob Tarantino added another power play goal for RIT in the final minute of the period to finish the game.
The victory marked the 100th win for RIT coach Wayne Wilson.