ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Unless there was another tie, something had to give between RIT and Army on Saturday night as both teams were still looking for their first Atlantic Hockey win this season.
The Tigers were the ones who finally broke through, scoring two third period goals to break a tie en route to a 5-3 victory, finalizing the reversal of a 3-1 second period deficit.
“I thought it was a character win for us,” RIT coach Wayne Wilson said. “When you are fighting to score goals for the last few games when you are down 3-1, you wonder how are we going to muster three goals to win the game, never mind two just to tie it.”
All of Army’s goals were scored on a natural hat trick by Andy Starczewski.
Both teams played different goalies from last night. Jordan Ruby started for RIT and Rob Tadazak for Army and each made 32 saves.
“He’s (Ruby) rebounded very well after the Union game, not that he played poorly,” Wilson said. “He played very well against Mercyhurst, but doesn’t get the win as we only got one goal. Tonight we get some goals to support him.”
RIT did not take as long this time to score as Adam Hartley gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead at 7:15. Mark Cornacchia skated down the left boards, flipping a pass to Hartley just to his right. Hartley tipped the pass downward and it bounced between the near post and Tadazak’s pads.
Army didn’t wait until the third period to tie the game. They did it 10 minutes after RIT’s goal. Starczewski brought the puck into the zone on a quick 2-on-1 rush. He kept the puck, firing a waist high wrist shot to the near side which was quicker than Ruby’s glove.
Army quickly jumped out to a two-goal lead in the second period thanks to Starczewski netting a natural hat trick.
His first came when Danny Colvin from behind the net fed Starczewski at the top of the crease. His one-timer went five-hole at 1:18.
About four minutes later, Colvin once again fed Starczewski. This time he was at the left circle and he roofed the one-timer.
RIT got a big momentum changer with a shorthanded goal at 11:33 on a 2-on-1. The goal was very similar to Army’s first goal, except this time Cornacchia’s one-time waist high wrist shot was to the far side, beating the goaltender stick side.
“I thought Mark’s played very well,” Wilson said. “He gave us a real lift.”
Five of Cornacchia’s 12 career goals are shorthanded.
“I bet you half his ice time could be on the penalty kill,” Wilson said. “He’s going to get those opportunities. Speed is what creates them.”
After Cameron Burt nearly scored just before the Army power play ended when his breakaway shot went just wide, he recovered for another breakaway while even strength and didn’t disappoint. While an Army player threw a stick at Burt, drawing a delayed penalty, Burt went left and then shot back through the five-hole to tie the game at three.
RIT grabbed the lead 1:18 into the final period on a power play. After a point-to-point pass from Ben Lynch, Chris Haltigin fired a wrist shot from the left point which stayed on the ice and found its way through the crowd into the net.
Brad McGowan got the clinching goal for the Tigers at 12:01 when he whacked in a rebound after difficult angle shots from Matt Garbowsky then Taylor McReynolds were stopped by Tadazak.
RIT (1-2-2, 2-3-2) play one game next weekend against another military academy, hosting Air Force on Veterans Day, appropriately enough.
Army (0-2-1, 0-4-2) also plays on Veterans Day, traveling to Sacred Heart. The next day, they return home versus Bentley.