ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The short-handed kings struck again. RIT scored their nation-leading eighth short-handed goal en route to a 6-1 victory over American International College to sweep the weekend. RIT also went two-for-three on the power play, as they broke the game open with three second period goals.
“We were able to capitalize on our chances,” RIT coach Wayne Wilson said. “The big thing is we want to get better every game.”
The short-handed goal came at 10:12 of the second period, 15 seconds after Cameron Burt was called for elbowing. Bobby Raymond, skating through the right face off circle, put a backhander through Dan Ramirez’s legs.
“I’m more interested in being able to stop power plays,” Wilson said. “But, you get a short-handed goal, it helps get your team going.”
RIT jumped out to a 4-1 lead three minutes later when Sean Murphy smacked in a rebound on the doorstep after Raymond’s shot was stopped.
The pressure on AIC’s goal intensified after those two goals, finally resulting in a power-play goal with 4.3 seconds left to make it 5-1. Jesse Newman snuck it between the post and the goaltender’s legs. Andrew Favot got an assist, extending his point scoring streak to nine games.
RIT had more of jump in their step than the night before starting out the first period. After serving the first penalty of the game, Cameron Burt scored the first goal of the game shortly after coming out of the box. Standing in front of the goal, he redirected a pass from Tyler Brenner at 7:26 of the first period.
RIT’s first power play resulted in a power-play goal, but not before it nearly resulted in a short-handed score. AIC had a two-on-one, but the Yellow Jackets’ forward lost control of the puck after he received the pass, preparing to shoot on net.
The Tigers regained control of the puck, and through a scramble in front of AIC’s net, Matt Crowell extended his point scoring streak to nine games by knocking the puck past Ramirez at 18:07.
“Obviously, we are excited about that line [Crowell, Favot, Newman],” Wilson said. “That line is doing so well.”
Just when it appeared RIT would go into the first intermission up 2-0, AIC cut the lead in half with 9.5 seconds left on the clock. Rody Selk, who had dropped his stick and apparently was forgotten by the RIT defense, snuck in behind the play to create a two-on-one. Chris Campanale carried the puck deep down the right side, passing it back to Selk, who was streaking straight into the slot. Selk easily one-timed it past a helpless Louis Menard.
AIC replaced Ramirez with Tom Fenton to start the third period. It worked for most of the period, as Fenton held off a consistent RIT attack, making 18 saves, the same number of saves Ramirez had to make through two periods. However, RIT did sneak one through at 17:34 when Stevan Matic scored from a bad angle on the right side to close out the scoring.
“We want to get better in the third period, and not take a lot of penalties and let the game get away,” Wilson said.
Louis Menard made 16 saves for the win before he was replaced with Jan Ropponen with 7:48 left and stopped 5 shots.
AIC (4-18-1, 4-13-0) stays on the road with a Tuesday game at Bentley as the Yellow Jackets attempt to end their 10-game winless streak (0-9-1).
The win guarantees RIT (14-9-1, 13-4-1) at least a first place tie in Atlantic Hockey with Air Force, who has a late game versus Canisius. Air Force has two games in hand. After four straight home games, RIT travels to Buffalo for games against Canisius on Thursday and Sunday, looking to extend their nine-game winning streak, the longest active winning streak in the country.
“I think they got a lot more balance with their team,” Wilson said of Canisius. “We’re trying to pay attention to the small things. We’re not looking at the standings. We’re looking at getting better every game.”