ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Rochester Institute of Technology rallied to a 6-2 win over the University of Connecticut in the first of two contests this weekend with the help of Tyler Brenner’s hat trick.
The Tigers outshot UConn in each period for a total of 41-26 overall. This was the first regular -eason start for Jan Ropponen at home in Ritter arena, as he stopped a total of 24 shots. Garrett Bartus came out with 35 saves on the night.
The three goals of the first period were results of power plays. The first came from RIT’s Tyler Brenner, as he tipped the puck after getting a piece of Chris Haltigin’s shot. Not even a minute later, UConn’s Alex Gerke answered when he put one past Ropponen on a feed from Sean Ambrosie on the back door. Adam Mitchell then scored the first of his pair of goals on a pass from Adam Hartley in the neutral zone for a breakaway.
At 5:49 of the second period, Ben Lynch was robbed by Bartus after sending a pass from his and Favot’s two-on-one. Mitchell also missed a chance when he intercepted a Huskies pass to gain a partial breakaway in front of the net. Next was an exciting run for UConn when Andrew Olson ripped a shot on net from slot but was robbed by Ropponen’s glove. RIT finally broke through off the shot of Scott Knowles. He sent a shot from the blue line that ultimately got away from Bartus for the 3-1 lead.
Brenner’s second of the night came with 1:02 remaining in the period. He quickly turned over a pass from Andrew Favot for a shot that came off of Bartus’ pad for an additional shot by Lynch. Brenner dove in for the second rebound and pushed the puck into the net, putting the Tigers up 4-1.
Minutes into the third period, Connecticut got its second goal on a shot from James Gallagher. His goal came moments after an RIT power play was up. A little over halfway through the period, Mitchell saw his second goal of the night. He caught a rebound off of Michael Colavecchia’s shot that was denied by Bartus along with one from Taylor McReynolds.
Soon after, Brenner backhanded a pass from Greg Noyes into the net for his third of the evening. Connecticut goaltender Matt Grogan stepped in for Bartus for the final minutes of play. With only 3:33 remaining, Ropponen was run over at the net, knocking him to the ground and his helmet off. A fight quickly ensued in the Tigers attempt to protect their goaltender. Favot and McReynolds were sent off of the ice for RIT, along with Connecticut’s Grant Scott. Penalties were also awarded to the Tigers Chris Saracino and Huskies Matt Miller and Marcello Ranallo.
“Being in front of our home crowd makes a big difference” said RIT coach Wayne Wilson. “I was pleased with the competition and expect the same tomorrow. We can’t let the win get to our heads.”
The two teams meet Saturday for the second game of the series at 7:05 p.m. The Tigers are now 5-0 against the Huskies at Ritter arena.