ROCHESTER, N.Y. — RIT and division III Geneseo renewed their local rivalry for the 49th and most likely last time tonight at the Tigers Ritter Arena. This rivalry has become much more heated the last few years, and tonight was no exception as emotions finally boiled over into fisticuffs in the third period.
“We approached the game that we just wanted to focus on this game,” said RIT coach Wayne Wilson. “We are learning that there are no easy games anymore. I am very impressed with the Geneseo team.”
The Tigers scored two goals late in the first period, and then never looked back on the scoreboard as they skated away with a 6-1 victory. With the win, RIT now holds a 37-9-3 advantage in the series.
“Tonight was a real learning experience for us,” said Geneseo coach Jason Lammers.
“There are lots of little things that RIT did that made the difference.”
Just 39 seconds into the first period, Geneseo went on the power play and put pressure on the RIT net. However, the Ice Knights were not able to muster any shots on goal.
Three minutes later the parade of Geneseo players to the penalty box started, and didn’t end during the remainder of the period. Seven straight penalties were called on Ice Knight players, and almost all of the resulting play occurred in the Geneseo defensive zone.
The Ice Knights did a great job killing off the penalties, and even took a 1-0 lead with a shorthanded goal at 12:29 on only its second shot on goal. Mitch Stevens collected a fluttering puck at the Geneseo blueline that RIT defender Marc Hyman failed to control. Stevens rushed down the middle of the ice, bothered by Hyman close behind, and lifted the puck over RIT goaltender Jocelyn Guimond to score his second short hander of the season.
“Our power play needs work,” said Wilson. “We are becoming too mechanical and don’t have any flow.”
During the first period, RIT out shot Geneseo on goal by a wide 17-4 margin, but the total shots taken were an even wider margin: 30-6. The Ice Knights did a fantastic job of blocking many Tiger shots and forcing other shots wide of the net.
Geneseo couldn’t withstand the RIT onslaught forever and the levy finally broke at 14:49. RIT’s Steve Farrer dug the puck out behind the Geneseo net and spotted Brennan Sarazin at the near post. Sarazin tried to swat the puck home, but Geneseo goaltender Derek Jokic made the save. Sarazin collected his own rebound and poked it past a sprawled Jokic to tie the score 1-1.
Tiger Darren Doherty gave RIT the lead at 17:40 with a nifty backhander high into the top of the twine off a feed from Tristan Fairbarn. Despite going scoreless on six power play chances, RIT skated into the first intermission with a 2-1 lead.
Geneseo came out with a more wide open strategy in the second period, and the plan worked to generate more offense. The Ice Knights had out shot RIT 5-2 by the 6:32 mark and were doing a much better job of clearing their own zone.
“We were trying to get something going,” said Lammers. “During the first intermission, we encouraged our guys to take it to them and not lay back.”
But two defensive mistakes allowed RIT to tally two quick goals to build its lead to 4-1. First, Steve Farrer one-timed a pass from behind the net by Steve Pinizzotto at 7:24. And then Darrell Draper sprung into the zone alone to score RIT’s fourth goal at 7:43.
Soon after, the penalty parade resumed and most of the remainder of the second period was played with one team or other on the power play. Geneseo ended up with a 5-on-3 power play for almost a minute late in the period, but failed to score despite putting three good shots on net.
Overall, the second period was much more evenly played, with Geneseo out shooting RIT 10-8. But only RIT was able to find the back of the net and built its lead to 4-1.
The Tigers came out in the third period and added a quick goal to extend their lead. Marc Hyman, directly off a faceoff deep in the Geneseo zone, wound a blast from the point through a crowd that Jokic never saw to score at 1:09.
Emotions started to intensify during the latter half of the second period, but the intermission and RIT’s fifth goal seemed to take the winds out of the sails. However in reality it was just boiling under the surface; the eruption finally occurred at 9:54 of the third period.
A hit just as the whistle blew along the boards in the Geneseo zone escalated into several scuffles. Once the referees sorted out the mess, two players from each team were escorted off the ice and a player from each team received double minors.
RIT’s Jesse Newman and Geneseo’s Tyson Terry were the worst offenders, each earning a five minute major penalty for fighting and a game disqualification.
Geneseo got two more penalties over the next two plus minutes, but killed off both RIT power plays. However the Tigers did chip in their sixth goal shortly after returning all the players to the ice when Pinizzotto chipped the puck in at 15:20.
“I thought our guys competed hard tonight,” said Lammers. “We just didn’t get many bounces. I thought it was closer than a 6-1 game.”
The Ice Knights got a power play of their own less than a minute later, and another with just over a minute left in the game but couldn’t put the puck in the back of the net as RIT finished the game on the upside of the 6-1 score.