ROCHESTER, N.Y. — It was Magic 8 Ball night at the Frank Ritter Arena. RIT scored two power play goals within 1:52 in the final four minutes and added an empty netter for a come from behind victory over American International College, 5-3. Brennan Sarazin contributed on all those late goals with two scores and an assist.
The victory extended RIT’s winning streak to eight games. Andrew Favot extended his point scoring streak to eight with an assist. Matt Crowell also extended his point scoring streak to eight with a goal. Both players have scored 12 points during that span with six goals for Crowell and three goals for Favot.
“We weren’t strong on the puck,” RIT coach Wayne Wilson said. “We weren’t making strong plays. I thought they played well. We were able to get some breaks and capitalize on our power play.”
AIC (4-17-1, 4-12-0) is now winless in their last nine games with eight losses and one tie.
“We thought we came to play,” AIC coach Gary Wright said. “We were doing a lot of little things. We knew that they are very assertive on the ice. They put a lot of pressure on you. We had some good support. We were playing a little dig-in defense and some good support offensively. It created some opportunities for us. Obviously, we were in a good position late in the game, and we took some disciplined penalties. They are a very, very good hockey team, and they are going to make you pay. And they did.”
AIC took their second lead of the game, 3-2, at 4:04 of the final period. Mike McMillan and Steve McLeod entered the zone on a two-on-one. McMillan carried the puck down the right side. He waited till he was deep in the zone before passing across the slot area to McLeod, who easily deposited it into the unguarded near side.
“I could see it coming,” Wilson said. “I thought we were getting sloppy.”
The Yellow Jackets clung to that lead for 12 minutes as they were able to stymie RIT’s attack.
“They kept the puck out,” Wilson said. “They relieved the pressure very well. We never got any momentum going.”
Then, with 3:43 left in the game, the Tigers tied it on their seventh power play. Brennan Sarazin from in front of the net jammed the puck at Dan Ramirez’s five-hole. It appeared Ramirez stopped it, but the puck managed to sneak through.
Before the next power play, RIT took a time out.
“We wanted to try something different,” Wilson said. “They were shutting us down on the power play. And to keep the guys fresh.”
It worked as RIT took the lead, 4-3, with 1:51 left in the game. Tyler Brenner one-timed it from the right side down low after receiving Ramirez gave up a big rebound.
Sarazin scored an empty netter with 35.6 seconds left for his second of the night to clinch the game.
“Even when you’re not playing well, you can still win games,” Wilson said.
RIT came out to start the game a bit flat, and they paid for it as AIC took the first lead of the game at 3:19. Steve McLeod made a quick crossing pass to Frankie DeAngelis, pinching in from his defensive spot. DeAngelis from the right side quickly one-timed it past DeMichiel on the short side.
The Tigers got going thanks to their first power play, though they scored shortly after it expired at 7:29. Matt Crowell fired a one-timer from the side of the net.
Just when it appeared the first period would end tied at one, RIT scored with 10.5 seconds left. Tyler Mazzei’s shot appeared to have gone in causing some players to celebrate. Even Ramirez looked behind him. However, the puck hit the inside of the post and came out to the goalie’s right. With Ramirez virtually conceding the initial shot, Mike Janda had no problem scooping up the rebound and firing it into the net.
AIC tied the game at 7:12 of the second period after RIT dominated most of the play up to that point. A turnover in the neutral zone sent David Turco racing down the right side. At the face off circle, he took a seemingly harmless shot. However, Jared DeMichiel couldn’t handle it, and the game was tied, 2-2.
RIT’s domination of the middle stanza continued. Yet, despite out shooting AIC, 15-3, it was the Yellow Jackets who scored the only goal.
DeMichiel only needed 14 saves for the RIT (13-9-1, 12-4-1) win. Meanwhile, Rochester native Ramirez almost allowed his team to pull the upset with 34 saves.
“He had a lot of family members here,” Wright said. “He’s a real fine goaltender and obviously it’s special for him playing here. Sorry we didn’t stay out of the box at the end.”
These two teams face off against each other again on Saturday at 7:05 P.M.
“We really came to play tonight,” Wright said. “We battled a real good team on the road, and I hope we take those positives and carry it through tomorrow.”