WALTHAM, Mass. — RIT, in its inaugural year of play in Atlantic Hockey and second overall as a Division I program, clinched the conference regular-season championship with a 3-0 win over Bentley on Friday night.
RIT came into Friday’s game with a three-point lead over Sacred Heart and two games left for each team to play. As a program in transition, the Tigers are ineligible for the NCAA tournament this year, and by agreement among the AHA’s members, also ineligible for the conference tournament.
“I am very proud of the steady progress our team has made throughout the season,” said RIT head coach Wayne Wilson. “The effort put forth not only tonight, but all season has been tremendous.”
Junior goaltender Jocelyn Guimond recorded his second shutout of the season, stopping 26 shots to improve to 10-7-2 on the season.
Sophomore forward Steve Pinizzotto recorded two assists, giving him a team-high 42 points.
The Tigers scored two goals in the first period and one in the second to pick up the win and improve to 21-10-2 on the year. RIT is 20-6-1 in Atlantic Hockey play.
Bentley falls to 11-21-1 overall and 10-17-0 in conference play.
RIT jumped out to the 1-0 lead just 6:48 into the game, as senior Tristan Fairbarn scored his second goal of the season on assists from Ricky Walton and Brad Harris.
Junior defenseman Stephen Burns made it 2-0 Tigers at the 12:07 mark of the first period, as he tallied his second goal of the year. Stevan Matic and Pinizzotto recorded assists on the goal.
Freshman Anton Kharin completed the scoring, burying his 12th goal of the season midway through the second period. Matt Smith and Pinizzotto had the helpers on the goal.
Bentley outshot RIT 26-25. Jason Kearney made 22 saves for Bentley, and both teams were 0-for-3 on the power play.
RIT is now 2-1 against the Falcons this season, having split a pair of games in November at the Ritter Arena.
The Tigers and Falcons conclude the 2006-07 regular season on Saturday evening at 7 p.m.