ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Rochester Institute of Technology continued where they left off last night, sweeping the University of Connecticut with a 5-3 victory. The Tigers took a 4-1 lead, but had to hold on to eek out the win with the final goal on an empty-netter. RIT has now won four of its last five games.
Shane Madolora made 29 saves for the win. All of UConn’s goals were on the power play, as they went three-for-eight.
“I thought our first period was the best, probably of the year,” RIT coach Wayne Wilson said. “The second period I thought was pretty good except on the power play. It was self inflicting in the third. Too many stupid penalties let them back in the game. I liked the way we played once it got to a one-goal game. I thought we played with some poise.”
It didn’t take long for the Tigers to get on the scoreboard. Taylor McReynolds scored at 2:14 on a relatively weak goal. He skated straight down the middle into the Huskies zone, then shortly after crossing the blue line used a defender for a screen and swept a shot through Bartus’ five-hole.
RIT made it 2-0 on the other end of the first period, scoring a power-play goal with 27 seconds left. Chris Saracino, from the middle of the blue line, fed Andrew Favot down low next to the post to the goalie’s left. Favot easily one-timed it into the unguarded near side.
UConn got it back with a power-play goal of their own 5:10 into the second period. A wide open Jordan Sims from behind the net fed a wide open Jason Krispel at the top of the crease. Krispel had no trouble firing it past Madolora.
Two minutes later, RIT regained a two-goal lead when Mike Colavecchia from the left slot area fired a wrister over the glove of Bartus. He was fed a short pass from McReynolds.
The Tigers had a golden opportunity to extend their lead with a full two minutes of five-on-three hockey, yet they never came close to scoring a goal. However, after killing the penalties, UConn appeared to relax, leaving Adam Mitchell unmarked behind the net. Mitchell was able to backhand a wraparound unimpeded to make it 4-1.
Next, UConn had a golden opportunity when Tyler Brenner was called for a contact to the head major and a game misconduct. However, the Huskies wasted two of the five minutes with a hooking penalty of their own by Grant Scott, who also got called for a 10-minute misconduct.
The penalties carried over to the third period, and when UConn returned to the man advantage, they scored to make it 4-2 at 2:43. Stevie Bergin, from a difficult angle on the left side, caught Madolora not cutting the angle properly, and Bergin found an opening on the far side.
A few minutes later, the Huskies got another power play opportunity, but thanks to a great save by Madolora on a point blank shot, UConn was unable to take advantage of it.
“I’m happy with our goaltending situation,” Wilson said.
UConn did take advantage on the next third period power play to cut the lead to 4-3 with exactly five minutes left. The puck squirted through a defender’s leg, allowing Olson to go alone with the goalie. While falling to the ice, Olson managed to shoot the puck past the glove side of Madolora.
Once again, UConn had a partial power play followed by pulling Bartus for the extra attacker. Due to all that time with an extra skater, Madolora had to come up with a number of difficult saves to bail his team out.
“You can’t play a third period like that against anyone, not to mention UConn, who has had some great third period comebacks for ties and wins and almost pulled another one off,” Wilson said.
Adam Hartley finally put the game away when he stole the puck at center ice and went in alone to deposit the puck into the empty net with 1.7 seconds left.
RIT (4-5-1, 3-1) has just one game next week when they travel to Niagara on Friday.
UConn (2-3-3, 2-2-1) travels to Bentley on Friday and then returns home to face AIC on Saturday.