ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The rematch of last season’s Atlantic Hockey Championship game produced the exact same score, a 6-1 victory for RIT (5-6-1, 4-2-0) over Sacred Heart (1-9-3, 1-5-3). The game was put out of reach in the first period when RIT scored five times, chasing the Pioneers’ starting goaltender.
Tyler Brenner scored twice, Andrew Favot picked up three assists, and Shane Madolora made 22 saves for the win. RIT scored two power-play goals, as well as a short-handed tally.
“I thought we had one of our better first periods and not because of the goals but because of the pressure and the offense we generated,” RIT coach Wayne Wilson said. “Then, I thought we got pretty relaxed. We didn’t play with any kind of an edge in the second period. And then a lot of penalties. It was kind of a mixed up game.”
Meanwhile, Sacred Heart went scoreless in its seven power play chances.
“In regard to our penalty kill, our kill hasn’t been too bad,” Wilson said. “Our clears have not been very strong. Again tonight early, we didn’t clear the puck when we had opportunities. You spend a lot of time in your own end, and the same guys are out there getting tired. I wasn’t thrilled with our clears, but I guess we shut down some lanes and did a pretty good job on the penalty kill.”
RIT scored the first two goals in rapid fire fashion — 17 seconds apart. Sean Murphy got the first at 5:23. While skating across the slot from left to right, he was fed perfectly by Adam Hartley. Murphy shot it the opposite way, beating Stevan Legatto low stick side.
On the next rush, Mike Janda’s shot was saved by Legatto, but he left a fat rebound in front. Jeff Smith, crashing the net, had the puck bounce off his body and into the net.
Adam Hartley scored on RIT’s second power play to make it 3-0 at 12:36. Cameron Burt, on the far right side, one-timed a cross-ice pass to Hartley on the far left side at the bottom of the circle. Hartley in turn one-timed a shot into the open near side for the easy goal.
Brenner then scored two in a row 2:32 apart, the first coming at 15:40. Brenner skated down the middle, and despite having an open Ben Lynch trailing the play, Brenner took it all the way himself. Just when it appeared he would run out of space with a defender draped over him, Brenner managed to stuff it through Legatto’s five-hole.
At that point, Legatto was pulled in favor of Olivier St.Onge. It didn’t matter. While skating with a two-man advantage, Brenner knocked in a rebound at the doorstep after St. Onge couldn’t control a Favot shot from the side.
The first period finally came to an end with RIT leading in shots, 20-5.
The game settled down for Sacred Heart, and they broke the shutout at 1:33 of the second period, seconds after their first power play expired. Chris Brown simply threw the puck toward the net and Anthony Yelovich tipped it just enough to fool Madolora.
The Tigers got it back at 9:27 when they were short-handed. Relentless forechecking forced a turnover, and Mark Cornacchia’s wrist shot went through St. Onge’s five-hole.
The game turned ugly in the third period when Yelovich gave an elbow to the back of the head of Burt, driving Burt’s face into the glass. With his helmet jarred loose on the initial elbow, Burt’s unprotected face took the full brunt of the impact, causing a pool of blood to develop on the ice.
Yelovich received a five-minute major for elbowing and a game disqualification, which means he will have to sit out tomorrow’s game as well. Burt had to leave the ice to be attended to.
The referees called everything at that point to make sure the game did not get out of hand. Despite all the power play time for both teams, the third period remained scoreless.
“I didn’t think our power play was very sharp after we generated the initial goals,” Wilson said. “I would have liked to play more five-on-five over the last two periods.”
These two teams play each other again in Rochester Saturday night.