ROCHESTER — When RIT freshmen forward Todd Skirving scored the first goal of the game 58 seconds in, the Tigers may have felt they would control this game and defeat St. Lawrence for only the third time since 1982. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they were sadly mistaken.
After Skirving’s goal, the Saints scored five of the next six before RIT scored the final goal of the game late in the third period. The Saints ended their two-game losing streak with Friday night’s 5-3 victory.
It was a real physical game, as effort was not questioned from either team. Both teams battled hard, as it was a fun offensive game to watch. The Tigers had 50 shots attempted (25 shots on goal) while the Saints achieved 44 total shots attempted (25 shots on goal).
In addition to similar offensive numbers, there were comparable defensive numbers. St. Lawrence’s Tyler Parks recorded 22 saves, while RIT’s Jordan Ruby had 20 saves. Furthermore, the Saints’ defense blocked 13 shots, while the Tigers’ defense blocked 11 shots. Finally, each team had exactly six penalties for twelve minutes.
It is often said, “Numbers never lie,” so what made the difference if there were such nearly parallel numbers from both teams on offense and defense?
The answer: power plays. St. Lawrence capitalized on three of its six power plays (eight shots), while RIT converted on only two of its six opportunities (10 shots).
The Saints executed on their power-play opportunities in the first and second periods of the game, which gave them a momentum advantage after the first goal by Skirving. After Skirving’s goal, there were four consecutive power play goals from both teams, with the Saints being the beneficiary of three of those.
At one point in the game, RIT had more than 30 seconds of a six-on-four power-play and 14 seconds of a five-on-three power play, but could not convert.
Five different players scored for the Saints. Patrick Doherty scored a goal and added an assist, while Jeremy Wick, Alex Dahl, Brian Ward, and Gavin Bayreuther also scored. Justin Baker added two assists. Freshman forward Trevor Hills, the son of RIT associate head coach Brian Hills, recorded his first collegiate assist in the third period.
After the game, RIT coach Wayne Wilson said, “We are playing well at times, but not well enough when the game is on the line in critical situations. We have to work on our mental toughness in clutch situations. Overall I can’t complain about our effort level in all but the Colgate and Canisius games. We have to get better as a team.”
On the other side, St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel said, “I think we’re a pretty good offensive team, but defensively we had three goals against. I still think we got a ways to go to tighten up and be a harder team to play against.”
The series continues on Saturday at the Frank Ritter Arena.