ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Chris Haltigin’s shot from the right point went through a screen 9:54 into overtime to give RIT a 4-3 victory over Connecticut in game one of the three game Atlantic Hockey quarterfinal round.
“He has a tremendous one timer,” RIT coach Wayne Wilson said. “He’s got a great shot.”
“I thought we battled extremely hard and gave ourselves a chance to leave with one shot to win the game,” UConn coach Bruce Marshall said. “We knew we were going to have to play not pretty hockey and muck it up a little bit. Unfortunately, it didn’t go our way.”
“It was a typical UConn-RIT game where we take a lot of shots, and they block a lot, and they get in your lanes,” Wilson said. “And then they come down on an opportunity and score a goal and frustration sets in.”
The win spoiled UConn’s comeback after falling behind, 3-0, and attempt to pull off the major upset. It also spoiled freshman Garrett Bartus’ 51 saves, many spectacular.
“He could have really gotten down in his first playoff experience when he gets down 3-0,” Marshall said. “He was starting to make some really good saves when we were down 3-0, and boom, he kept making more and more, better saves. I would have to say it’s one of his better performances so far.”
“When someone is playing well in net, you can’t give up shooting,” Wilson said. “Sometimes when someone is playing hot, guys stop shooting. They think pass first. You just got to keep shooting and generate as much as you can. He played tremendous tonight.”
It appeared RIT would blow out UConn in the first period, outshooting the Huskies, 15-4, and scoring twice in 25 seconds.
Dan Ringwald scored the initial goal firing in a shot from the right side after Tyler Brenner from the left side fed him a perfect cross ice pass. This came on RIT’s first power play at 11:10.
The Tigers kept the pressure on, quickly making it 2-0. Scott Knowles finished the job after a turnover allowed RIT to keep the puck in the zone.
The trend continued as RIT made it 3-0 at 7:36 of the second on a two-man advantage power play. Cameron Burt’s shot from a bad angle was stopped by Bartus but Andrew Favot was at the doorstep to knock in the rebound.
“A 3-0 lead was nice but we had a couple of lapses,” Wilson said. “Not many, but they capitalized on them.”
However, the RIT route did not materialize as someone forgot to tell UConn they were supposed to roll over. A minute-and-a-half later, UConn got on the scoreboard with their own power play goal. Jim Gallagher jammed in a rebound.
Evan Carriere scored his first collegiate goal to cut the lead to one at 16:24. He skated to the front of the net unchallenged beating Jared DeMichiel in the one-on-one situation.
UConn tied the game two minutes later on a short-handed goal due to a horrid play by DeMichiel. Andrew Olson’s shot appeared to be going wide, but DeMichiel scrambled to stop it. Instead, unable to control it, he wound up directing it into his own net.
Despite being outshot again, this time 13-8, UConn had a second life.
The third period saw plenty of action, and in the last few minutes, a plethora of opportunities by RIT. Yet, despite RIT outshooting UConn by an astounding 18-1 margin, the fans got to see an unexpected overtime.
UConn came out strong in overtime and took it to RIT just as much as the Tigers took it to the Huskies, as the shots were 9-5 in RIT’s favor for the almost 10 minutes of extra play.
“This time of year there’s no point out there for this game,” Marshall said. “If it was a five minute overtime, it might have been different. We were just trying to get that one shot we needed. I thought we had our chances.”
RIT (23-11-1) and UConn (7-26-3) do it again for game two Saturday night at 7:05 p.m.
“You got to try to play mistake free,” Wilson said. “We’ve got to play a little bit better. We were sloppy at times.”
“We knew we needed to win one to get us going to get us closer to our goal,” Marshall said. “I told them we got to forget about it, leave it in the locker room, and get ready for tomorrow.”