ROCHESTER, N.Y. — RIT scored two third period goals, including a controversial game-winner, for a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Army to sweep the weekend series.
“[Assistant Coach] Mike Germain said it was in,” RIT coach Wayne Wilson said. “I don’t know what they were arguing about, whether it was kicked in or the net came off before it went in. I’ll have to watch the tape.”
The play was set up when offsetting penalties were called with a holding against RIT and an embellishment call against Army.
“It wasn’t the goal that I had a problem with,” Army coach Brian Riley said. “I had a problem with the embellishment call. I watched the tape. I don’t know how the ref could call that an embellishment. I couldn’t really see if it crossed the line before the net came off.”
The goal came with 2:46 left in regulation with both teams skating a man down. After a shot by Andrew Favot found its way behind the goaltender, Sean Murphy raced in after it. As everyone crashed the goal, the net was dislodged and the puck went across the line. The order of those events was in dispute. The referees immediately called it a goal, but then discussed it afterwards. They confirmed their ruling, but TV replays were uncertain.
RIT tied the game at 11:42 of the final period after heavy pressure resulted in two big rebounds. Dan Ringwald finally was able to swoop down low and pounce on the rebound and bang it home past Joe Spracklen, who was unable to cover the near side in time.
After a scoreless first period, Army struck first in the most unlikely situation — scoring a short-handed goal while two-men down, only 10 seconds after the second penalty was called on a perfectly executed two-on-one. Eric Shefchik carried the puck into the zone down the right side. He waited for just the right time to pass it across to Cody Omilusik, who one-timed a blast inside the near post. Jared DeMichiel had no chance to move over and make the play.
“Both of us have five-on-three’s and didn’t score,” Riley said. “And then we score on a three-on-five. Nice plays by Shefchik and Omilusik to get rid of the puck quickly. DeMichiel didn’t have a chance at it.”
“I was disturbed at the whole thing,” Wilson said. “These things happen, but it’s been happening too often against us.”
At the start of the third period, DeMichiel kept his team in the game with a few outstanding saves, including one lightning quick glove save on a shot that already appeared to have beaten him.
“DeMichiel came up with a huge save,” Wilson said. “That was probably the game right there.”
“He made a couple of huge saves,” Riley said. “Especially at the start of the third period. If we get one there, it might have turned out differently.”
DeMichiel wound up with 23 saves. Spracklen made 31 saves, holding RIT at bay for over two periods.
“Spracklen is our number two guy,” Riley said. “He just seemed to make pucks hit him tonight.”
After Army called a time out with 1:26 left, they were never able to pull Spracklen for the extra skater. RIT maintained control of the puck in Army’s zone for most of that time, and then a hitting from behind penalty against the Black Knights with 32 seconds left sealed their fate.
“I was happy with our play,” Wilson said. “You take your opportunities against a good team.”
“I was pleased with our play overall,” Riley said. “This is a tough place to play.”
Army (1-6-2, 0-3-1), plays a home-and-home against AIC next weekend. RIT (4-5-0, 4-2-0) travels down I-90 into Pennsylvania for a pair against Mercyhurst.