ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Alabama-Huntsville showcased its speed advantage of RIT to build a 3-0 lead by the midway point of tonight’s game. The third line of forwards for the Chargers netted all three goals, with Todd Bentley tallying two of them.
A spat of penalties by Alabama-Huntsville late in the third period led to a thrilling end, but the Chargers tenaciously held on for the 3-2 victory.
“We played a couple good periods and then they took it to us in the third period,” said Alabama-Huntsville coach Doug Ross. “You can’t play with thirty minutes of penalties every game.”
After scoring a goal late in the second period, RIT carried a jump into the third period, dominating play territorially for the first half of the third period. This was the first time span that RIT was able to establish a territorial advantage during the game. The Tigers out shot the Chargers 8-1 during the opening seven minutes of the period, but Charger goaltender Scott Munroe made the necessary saves to maintain the Alabama-Huntsville lead.
Alabama-Huntsville has a reputation for taking penalties at inopportune times in games and that tendency surfaced again late in the third period. A.J. Larivee hit an RIT player from behind into the boards and was assessed a major penalty at 12:39.
RIT took advantage of the resulting power play to cut the deficit to 3-2. Jesse Newman dug the puck out of the corner and tried to feed Darren Olson in the slot. The puck was off target, but Olson stretched out and got just enough of his stick on it to chip it over Chargers goaltender Scott Munroe to score the goal at 14:16.
Just as the major penalty to Larivee ended, Dominik Rozman took a tripping penalty for Alabama-Huntsville to put RIT back on the power play. However the Charger penalty killers did a great job of preventing RIT from setting the power play up in their zone.
The Tigers pulled goaltender Jocelyn Guimond with twenty six seconds remaining but were unable to tally the game tying goal. The Chargers held on to take the slim 3-2 win, despite being outshot in the third period 14-5.
“Them coming out and getting a goal in the third period made a difference,” said Ross. “If we had come out and got a goal it probably would have ended the game. I’m surprised they didn’t score a goal at the end of the game.”
Alabama-Huntsville displayed its speed early in the contest against RIT. The Chargers turned on the jest on rushes into the Tigers zone, usually gaining a step on the RIT defenders to setup good scoring opportunities by crashing the net.
“I think we got better as the game went on,” said RIT coach Wayne Wilson. “We didn’t start with a lot of energy. They did a very good job of being aggressive on us.”
The Chargers tallied the only goal in the first period at 6:52. Alabama-Huntsville setup in the Tigers zone, moving the puck around crisply. Finally Dominik Rozman spotted fellow winger Todd Bentley sneaking through the slot just above the crease. Rozman fed Bentley who was able to deflect the puck through RIT netminder Jocelyn Guimond’s five-hole to give the Chargers a 1-0 lead.
RIT had a great opportunity mid-period to tie the game as Alabama-Huntsville took three straight penalties. This should have resulted in a 5-on-3 power play for RIT that lasted 1:29. However, the clock operator didn’t handle the third penalty correctly and not only was the Tigers two man advantage cut short by almost a minute, but the Chargers ended up with a power play of their own that they should have never had.
The referees never caught the discrepancy, but RIT was able to kill off the unwarranted Charger power play without any further damage.
For the second period in a row, Alabama-Huntsville scored early again in the second period. Bentley broke up an RIT clearing attempt and passed the puck over to Rozman who was standing on the far side of the slot. Rozman one-timed the puck high over Guimond’s shoulder to score the goal at 3:34.
The Chargers struck again just under four minutes later when Bentley scored his second goal of the game. A.J. Larivee sprung Bentley on a partial breakaway who backhanded the puck into the back of the net for the goal at 7:06.
“We are trying to get somebody to emerge as a line that can win some games for us,” said Ross. “Bentley and Rozman were a pretty good line for us tonight. The other guys aren’t putting the puck in for us. We are searching for the right chemistry now.”
This posted Alabama-Huntsville to a 3-0 lead, and they were in complete control of the game. The Chargers continued to use their speed to win the races to the puck and kept RIT from establishing any kind of sustained attack.
The Tigers were able to chip into the Chargers lead late in the second period. Darrell Draper carried the puck into the Chargers zone on a 2-on-1 breakaway with fellow winger Darren Doherty. Draper looked to pass to Doherty, but instead wristed the puck past Alabama-Hunstville goaltender Scott Munroe for the first RIT goal at 18:20.
The score gave the Tigers some offensive life and RIT was able to pour two more strong shots on net before the period ended with the Chargers still holding a 3-1 lead.
RIT carried the jump into the third period, dominating play territorially for the first half of the third period. This was the first timespan that RIT was able to establish a territorial advantage during the game. The Tigers outshot the Chargers 8-1 during the opening seven minutes of the period, but goaltender Munroe made the necessary saves to maintain the Alabama-Huntsville lead.