ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Mercyhurst Lakers and RIT Tigers combined for four power player goals in the first half of the game, before the Lakers broke the game open with a goal early in the third period off a shot from the blue line that deflected of the RIT goaltenders glove and in the net to tie it at three.
That goal changed the tone of the game, which Mercyhurst then rode to a 6-3 victory. Brandon Coccimiglio scored a hat trick to pace Mercyhurst.
Goals are momentum, said Mercyhurst coach Rick Gotkin. Weve been a little bit offensively challenged this year, so will take whatever goals we can get. It certainly wasnt the prettiest but might have been the luckiest. Clearly it was a goal that gave us a little life.
The power play units of both teams ruled the first half of the game.
Mercyhursts special team got the scoring going 5:05 in to the game. Ben Cottreau followed up on his own shot deep in the RIT zone, collected the rebound and poked it past Tiger goaltender Louis Menard to give the Lakers a 1-0 lead.
RITs power play unit answered back just over three minutes later on its first power play of the game. A mad scramble erupted in front of Laker goaltender Matt Lundin and Simon Lambert finally poked home the puck to tie the game at 8:38.
Tonight was the return of Matt Lundin to action, who started his first game in five weeks after an injury.
It was his first start in five weeks, said Gotkin. He made some big saves. We brought Matt in here to help us win hockey games. He made some wonderful saves, but wasnt spectacular.
Mercyhursts power play converted again at 14:47 to regain its lead at 2-1. Cottreau, handling the puck behind the RIT net, hit linemate Brandon Coccimiglio with a pass as he stood at the top of the goal crease.
Coccimigilio was marked by an RIT defender, but he found enough room to one-time the puck past Menard for the goal.
On the next sequence after the Laker goal, Mercyhursts Kirk Medemach was called for a five minute major hitting from behind penalty. Right off the ensuing faceoff deep in the Laker zone, RITs Lambert found himself alone with the puck in the crease. Lambert steered around netminder Lundin and fired the puck but a diving Bobby Phillips blocked the shot and prevented a sure goal for the Tigers.
The RIT (3-5) power play failed to convert on several more opportunities during the extended man advantage and the period ended with Mercyhurst (2-8-1) holding on to a 2-1 lead.
RITs power play struck again early in the second period to tie the game 2-2. Off a faceoff deep in the Laker zone, Lambert scored his second goal of the night top shelf over Lundins shoulder at 4:22.
If youre not good on the special teams every night, its hard to win, said Gotkin. You have to be good on the power play and good on the penalty kill. That was important for both teams to establish that.
Finally, the streak of special team goals ended late in the period when the Tigers scored an even strength goal to take their first lead of the game. Brennan Sarazin stole the puck off a Laker stick near the left faceoff circle in the Mercyhurst zone to start the play. Sarazin found Ricky Walton low in the slot, who redirected the puck through Lundins five-hole at 16:56 to give RIT a 3-2 lead.
Mercyhurst opened the third period with an even strength goal of its own to tie the game for the third time. Coccimiglio sent a strong slap shot high towards the RIT net, more as a dump in than a shot. Menard nonchalantly waved at the puck with his glove, only to have it deflect off the top of the glove and bounce into the net to make the score 3-3 at 2:23.
The Lakers retook the lead at 14:15 when Neil Graham chipped the puck towards the net from a tight angle. The puck rolled up the shaft of a defenders stick and over the shoulder of Menard to make the score 4-3.
That goal rattled RIT and the Lakers took advantage to score again just 25 seconds later. Mercyhurst broke into the RIT zone two-on-one, and Bobby Phillips finished of the play tapping a rebound at 14:40 to extend its lead to 5-3.
Coccimiglio added an empty net goal at 18:54 to finish off the three goal victory for Mercyhurst.