College Hockey:
No. 4 RIT salvages split with No. 5 Elmira

— RIT reversed Fridays 4-1 loss to Elmira and turned things around on the Soaring Eagles Saturday, splitting the weekend series in a physical game.

Freshmen forward Amanda Klassen led the Tigers offense with two goals on the day including a highlight real play on the third goal, which sealed the win for RIT (8-1-0, 5-1-0 ECAC West).

Isabelle Richard skated in from the right circle on Elmiras Allison Cubberley and at the last possible second, centered the puck to a diving Klassen. Klassen, with her stick at full extension, slid the puck past Cubberley and into the back of the net, before she could recover.

Izzy (Isabelle Richard) did all the work and set me up perfectly, Klassen said. I just reached out and extended as far as I could to reach it. It felt awesome once I saw it in the back of the net.

RIT jumped on the Soaring Eagles (6-2-0, 5-1-0 ECAC West) right from the opening whistle scoring 10 seconds into the game. The Tigers won the opening faceoff and then dumped the puck on Elmiras Cara McGurry. McGurry made the initial save but was left out to dry by the defense as no one cleared out the front of the net. Three RIT players slapped at the puck in front of the net and finally freshmen Katie Stack poked it past McGurry for the early 1-0 lead.

RITs second goal was more of the same as they failed to clear the front of the net and Isabelle Richard notched her sixth goal of the season and increased the Tigers lead to 2-0.

Richard chipped in a goal and an assist to help pace the Tigers offense. With her two points, Richard continued to cement her name among the all-time greats to wear an RIT uniform, moving up to fourth on the all-time RIT scoring list with 114 points and fifth in all-time goals with 52.

After the Tigers second goal, Elmira head coach, Paul Nemetz-Carlson pulled McGurry in favor of Cubberley, who picked up the win the night before for the Soaring Eagles.

We were looking to spark the team and change things up a bit, Nemetz-Carlson said. By no means were the goals McGurrys fault, we were just looking for some new energy.

The spark worked as Elmira settled down and started playing like the team that beat RIT 4-1 the previous night.

Elmira was finally able to break onto the score sheet early in the second period when sophomore Jamie Kivis blast from the blue-line was deflected in the slot by Carly Richardson into the upper right hand corner of the net, cutting the lead to 2-1. However, thats as close as the Eagles would get as RIT junior goaltender, Sandra Grant stood tall in net for the Tigers and helped weather the Elmira pressure for the rest of the period.

Sandra was outstanding for us in net this weekend, said RIT head coach Scott McDonald. She didnt give up much and she was seeing the puck well while controlling the rebounds.

RIT and Elmira traded physical hits and collisions throughout the game.

Its the style of hockey we play here in the ECAC West, said Nemetz-Carlson. RIT fits in quite nicely with our league as were two big teams that skate very hard and play at our fastest. Both teams battled hard for the puck and werent afraid of contact.

We came in expecting the physical play, said McDonald. Elmira is a good team with a lot of size that likes to play physical. We can play that way too and we went toe-to-toe with them all game.

Both teams come away from the weekend with two points and a deadlock in goals scored and goals against for future ECAC West Conference standings purposes. While the results show a deadlock, both coaches and players came away with lessons from the weekend.

This weekend is a perfect reflection of where we are as a team right now, Nemetz-Carlson said. We were pretty excited about the way we played for five out of the six periods this weekend. We played really well on Friday, but then came in a bit overconfident on Saturday and RIT capitalized. They came out strong and didnt want to lose two straight games on their home ice. Were still a young team that is growing and might be a little bit under the radar, but once we put things together well be a very good team right there in the end.

RITs McDonald echoed the same about his teams performance.

We were disappointed in our effort on Friday, McDonald said. I really enjoyed how we responded today after being outworked and outplayed on Friday. The effort we put forth today helps key the little things that result in victories.

The Tigers will travel to Pennsylvania next weekend and take on Division I Robert Morris to close out the 2007 portion of their schedule. The Soaring Eagles return home to the Murray Athletic Center next weekend as they play host to the Buffalo State Bengals for another pair of ECAC West games.

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