ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The RIT Tigers (11-7-2) used a stifling defense and timely goals to defeat the Canisius Golden Griffins (5-15-1) by a 6-3 score. RIT outshot Canisius 38-15 in the game as the Golden Griffins remained winless on the road this season (0-9-1).
Canisius jumped on the board early, scoring on its first shot on goal just 23 seconds into the contest. Michael Cohen dug the puck out from behind the net to Jason Weeks parked on the left crease, and Weeks swatted it past a surprised RIT goaltender Jocelyn Guimond.
It was the second-quickest goal ever to start a game for Canisius, just missing the record by two seconds.
“It was a nice bounce for us,” said Canisius coach Dave Smith. “Sometimes good things happen when you are in the right place and working hard.”
The RIT defense clamped down after that initial gaffe, limiting the Golden Griffins to two shots on goal in the first period. The tight defense gave the Tigers’ offense free rein and they capitalized three times during the second half of the period to take a 3-1 lead into the first intermission.
Brent Patry opened the scoring for the Tigers at 9:26 when he sent a blast from the right point that deflected off a Canisius defender and past netminder Andrew Loewen.
“We struggled out of the gate tonight,” said Patry. “It wasn’t our best effort but we battled back.”
RIT tallied again less than two minutes later when Ricky Walton dug the puck out of the corner and fed Tristan Fairbarn as he skated laterally across the crease. Fairbarn outwaited Loewen and backhanded the puck into the back of the net for the Tigers second goal at 11:03.
A five-minute major for checking from behind on Canisius’ Kyle Bushee let the Tigers roll through the remainder of the period. After several good chances, during which RIT peppered the Griffins’ net with five shots, the Tigers finally converted in the last second of the power play.
Steve Pinizzotto carried the puck down the right side of the slot and put a shot on net that Loewen saved. But linemate Simon Lambert cleaned up the rebound and scored at 18:39 to close out the scoring for the period with RIT up 3-1 on the scoreboard.
“This was a difficult game for our goaltender Jocelyn Guimond, with only two shots in the first period,” said RIT coach Wayne Wilson. “But he was there to close the door in the third like he has been all season.”
Canisius started the second period with a jump and took advantage of RIT penalties to climb back into the contest. A pair of penalties in the first two minutes gave the Griffins a two-man advantage; Canisius worked the puck down the slot and it paid dividends when Weeks scored his second goal of the game at 2:40.
The Golden Griffins tallied again mid-period to tie the game 3-3. A delayed penalty on RIT gave Canisius an extra attacker, and Bret Norris found David Kasch alone on the far side of the crease and Kasch made the easy chip shot for the goal at 11:53.
All of Canisius hard work to claw back into the game was given back at 17:32 when Darrell Draper put in a big rebound, off a shot from Patry, to give the lead back to the Tigers, 4-3.
Shots on goal reflected a much more evenly played period than the first, with RIT enjoying a much slimmer 10-7 margin.
RIT re-established its two-goal lead 1:08 into the third period when Stevan Matic shoveled home the puck off a scramble in front of the Canisius goal. After that, it looked like Canisius packed up the bus as the Griffins failed to get a shot on goal during the first half of the third period.
“RIT’s fourth goal at the end of the second period was a tough goal that took a lot of wind out of our sails,” said Canisius coach Dave Smith. “We came out flat in the third.”
Smith called his timeout at 9:48 and that put a little life back in the Golden Griffin players, who got their first shot on goal shortly afterwards.
Smith pulled goaltender Andrew Loewen with 2:04 remaining in the game, but Patry chipped his second goal of the game for RIT into the empty net at 18:42 to seal the victory.