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College Hockey:
McReynolds last-minute goal helps RIT salvage tie with Sacred Heart

— RIT scored two goals in the final 2:48 of regulation to salvage a 3-3 overtime tie with Sacred Heart.

The tying goal by RIT was set up due to a blown call made “right” by the referees. With the Tigers desperately trying to tie the game with their goalie pulled, they threw the puck deep into the zone, which the ref initially whistled for icing. However, the trailing referee saw that an RIT player tipped it at center ice. Thus, the refs placed the faceoff deep in Sacred Heart’s zone, when initially the Pioneers had control of the puck behind the net before the whistle mistakenly blew.

Taylor McReynolds won the ensuing faceoff and then headed for the net. Chris Saracino threw it toward the net, and McReynolds tipped it in with 29.1 seconds left in regulation, sending the game to overtime.

“A tough break for them,” RIT coach Wayne Wilson said. “The icing is still confusing quite a bit. It worked to our advantage, the confusion tonight.”

A couple of minutes before that, RIT cut the lead to one while on a power play with their goalie pulled for the extra attacker. Cameron Burt made the cross-ice pass to Saracino at the right circle. He fired a slap shot that beat Olivier St. Onge.

“I thought we played better tonight than last night, but people look at the scoreboard and think five goals came easy.” Wilson said. “I thought we played poorly in the second and third last night. I thought we played much better for 60 minutes today, and we did not get rewarded with goals. So we had to wait for the last two minutes instead of the first two minutes of the game tonight.”

Both teams had a few good chances to score in the extra period. With a minute left, Sacred Heart went on a power play, but it was RIT that just missed scoring when McReynolds had a breakaway down low. However, when he made his move on the goalie, he lost control of the puck, and was unable to get a shot on net.

“It’s nice to get a point,” Wilson said. “Sacred Heart played very well.”

Before the comeback, Sacred Heart had the game under control thanks to Matt Gingera’s two goals and a superb performance in net by St. Onge with 41 saves.

It didn’t take long for the red light to turn on — just 18 seconds. Sacred Heart did the honors after RIT gave up the puck behind their own net. Matt Gingera received the pass in front of the crease and waited for Jan Ropponen to commit before calmly flipping it over him.

Again Sacred Heart scored early in a period, this time at 3:27 of the second, and again it was Gingera. The goal came after RIT came out of the locker room buzzing the Pioneer’s net, but unable to put it in.

Patrick Knowlton found Gingera for the long pass, sending Gingera on the clean breakaway. He went straight at the goal, moved the puck to his backhand, and slid it through Roppenen’s five-hole. It was Sacred Heart’s first shot of the period, giving them a 2-0 lead
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RIT finally got on the scoreboard during a power play. Burt from the high slot area faked the shot and passed it down low on the right side to Adam Hartley who one-timed it into the open near side.

The second period ended similarly to the third period incident the night before with a hard check against the boards and a scuffle afterward. Tyler Brenner was called for the initial cross check as the buzzer sounded, while Burt and Knowlton got into each other’s faces, producing offsetting five-minute majors for face masking.

Early in the third period, Tye Lewis had a breakaway for the Pioneers, but Ropponen was equal to the task. Roppenen wound up with 33 saves.

Sacred Heart nearly put the dagger into the Tigers with a short-handed goal at 9:20 of the third period. They broke out on a two-on-one with David Berube carrying the puck in on the right side. He backhanded a pass to Reid MacLeod on the left side, who one-timed a backhander up high under the crossbar.

After the game, another scuffle broke out resulting in two minor penalties, five major penalties, and two game disqualifications. Knowlton and RIT’s Daniel Spivak picked up the DQs along with fighting majors and will have to sit out their next games.

RIT (5-6-2, 4-2-1) goes on the road next weekend for a pair of games at AIC.

Sacred Heart (1-9-4, 1-5-4) returns home to host Mercyhurst twice.

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