ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Combine rock solid goaltending, strong defensive play, and opportunistic goals and you have the perfect plan for a road team. Execute that plan flawlessly and a tenth place team can shutout a league leader at home for the first time in over fifteen years.
That is exactly what the AIC Yellow Jackets (6-15-4) did to the RIT Tigers (12-10-4), with Chad Richardson scoring a pair of goals and Dan Ramirez stopping 43 shots to beat the Tigers 3-1.
Thats a pretty good assessment, said AIC goaltender Gary Wright. Obviously, Dan Ramirez played exceptional and was a big difference maker, but we also dug in and played good defense as well against a very good team. You kind of look at this as the ultimate road win.
AIC used a sound defensive strategy to contain RITs offense. Despite the Tigers holding a strong territorial advantage in the first period, the Yellow Jackets scored two opportunistic goals to take control of the scoreboard.
The first AIC goal came 5:10 in to the game when Frankie DeAngelis snuck a quick wristshot through from the top of the left faceoff circle. The shot surprised RIT goaltender Louis Menard and the puck whistled over his shoulder in to the top of the net.
RIT outshot the Yellow Jackets 14-8 during the period, but couldnt get the puck past AIC goaltender Dan Ramirez.
We had chances and you have to take advantage of those, said RIT coach Wayne Wilson. We didnt.
AIC extended its lead to 2-0 at 17:02 when Mark Pavli ripped a shot from the left point. Menard made the save but couldnt control the rebound, which popped out to the top of the crease. Chad Richardson crashed the net and poked the loose puck through Menards legs for the goal.
We dont get a lot of text book goals, said Wright. For us to go up two-nothing like that was great. In the second period, they were all over us and Dan [Ramirez] had to hold us in.
After staving off an AIC power play early in the second period, the Tigers poured on the pressure for the remainder of the stanza. But despite out shooting the Yellow Jackets 18-7, and bouncing two shots off the iron around the net, RIT couldnt solve goaltender Dan Ramirez and AIC held on to their 2-0 lead as the second intermission began.
Richardson extended AICs lead to 3-0 5:03 in to the third period. He carried the puck down the right side in to the RIT zone, but no Tiger picked him up as he cut towards the slot. Richardson tucked a wrist shot along the ice just inside the near post for the goal.
That goal took the starch out of the Tigers and the two teams kind of went through their paces.
RIT pulled its goaltender with 2:32 remaining, while on a late power play and the Tigers were finally able to crack Ramirez with 56 seconds remaining in the contest. Dan Ringwald sent a wrist shot from the left point towards the net that Simon Lambert deflected in for the score.