ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Back in the early to mid 80′s, the rivalry between RIT and Union was one of the most heated in college hockey. The teams played a number of barnburners, including a four overtime NCAA semifinal game in 1984 that Union eventually won 5-4.
After a fourteen year hiatus, the schools renewed their rivalry Friday as Union came to RIT’s Ritter Arena and skated away with a 3-2 victory in front of a sellout crowd. After severe penalty trouble in the second period, Union, the second most penalized team in college hockey, stayed out of the box in the third, and that limited RIT’s chances. The Dutchmen scored two goals in the third period for their first win of the season when trailing after two periods.
” thought the first two periods were strong for us,” said RIT coach Wayne Wilson. “The third period, a couple of penalties gave them a couple of opportunities.”
For the second period in a row, Union came out with a real jump in the third period and tied the game on its first shot on goal. The Dutchmen were pressuring the RIT net while on the power play when the puck popped from the crease out to the right point. T.J. Fox was there for Union and wound a shot through four bodies, past a screened RIT goaltender Jocelyn Guimond at 2:47 to tie the game 2-2.
“Something we have to learn is that penalties in the third will come back at you,” said Wilson.
The Dutchmen dominated play early in the period, not allowing RIT a shot on goal until almost eight minutes into the period. Mid period the Tigers were able to tilt the ice to their side territorially. After being forced to bail out with several icings, Union was finally able to setup in the RIT zone with only five minutes remaining.
Union’s Brendan Milnamow collected a loose puck at the top of the left faceoff dot and wound it through a crowd just inside the left post to score at 15:18 and give Union a 3-2 lead.
RIT tried to fight back, pulling goaltender Guimond for thirty-seven seconds, but a strong Union fore check prevented RIT from getting any good scoring chance.
Despite nearly four straight minutes of power play early in the game for Union, it was RIT that carried play during the opening half of the first period. The Tigers played a much more physical game than the Dutchmen and took advantage when Darrel Draper scored at 6:02. Draper had initially whistled a wrist shot wide to the right of the net but then collected the puck near the right post and flipped it over Union goaltender Kris Mayotte to give RIT the 1-0 lead.
At the next stoppage of play, just seventeen seconds after the Draper goal, there was an extended delay as Mayotte had a leg pad strap replaced by the Union trainer. This delay worked to Union’s advantage, allowing the Dutchmen to take away much of the momentum that the Tigers had gained from the goal.
Union had a great chance to tie the game at 14:18, but Augie DiMarzo dinged a deflection off the right post of the net that then landed in the lap of RIT goaltender Jocelyn Guimond to stop play.
However, the Dutchmen didn’t have to wait much longer before tying the game 1-1. Olivier Bouchard held the puck behind the RIT net, and tried to flip the puck into the slot. But the puck deflected off the skate of a Tiger defender standing at the right post, and it trickled across the goal line for the goal.
Union almost took the lead just thirty seven seconds later when Jake Schwan broke into the RIT zone on a clean breakaway. Schwan carried the puck straight down the slot and ripped off a strong wrist shot that just barely missed the net high.
Union came out with more intensity to begin the second period and carried play at even strength. But it was RIT that got the two best scoring chances early in the period. Jesse Newman snuck behind the Union defenders at 4:30 but slid the puck just wide on the short side.
The Tigers had another great chance at 5:40 but Mayotte made a sprawling save to deny RIT. But shortly after Union got into penalty trouble and gave RIT more than a minute 5-on-3 advantage.
The Tigers quickly converted just twelve seconds after the advantage began when Matt Smith ripped a shot from the right point. Mayotte made the save, deflecting the puck out the far side where Simon Lambert one-timed the puck off a defender and into the back of the net to give RIT a 2-1 lead.
After Union was tagged for the first four penalties in the period, RIT fell into penalty trouble late in the period. The Dutchmen poured seven straight shots on the RIT net, but Guimond held firm to maintain the slim RIT lead at the end of the second period.