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College Hockey:
Binnington stops 22 as RIT blanks Robert Morris

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers (14-15-3, 9-7-2 CHA) were the first to put the puck in the net in the first period to establish momentum in Saturday’s game against the Robert Morris University Colonials (22-7-3, 11-5-2 CHA). The Tigers then kept that momentum and shutout the Colonials, 1-0, in an outstanding defensive effort by both teams.

RMU is currently ranked No. 9 in the USCHO.com Division I Women’s Poll, and this was only RIT’s second victory over a ranked opponent in the Division I era (2-17-0). Both teams had outstanding games as far as blocks go, but the Tigers, collectively, outblocked the Colonials, 38-16. Offensively, RMU slightly outshot the Tigers, 22-20.

Both goalies did a great job in Saturday’s matchup, with RMU’s Jessica Dodds recording 19 saves and RIT’s Ali Binnington recording 22 saves, including a crucial save late in the third period that sealed the victory. Binnington is now 10-9-2 with a 1.99 goals-against average, a .934 save percentage, and five shutouts this season. Her 13 career shutouts are second most in RIT’s storied history.

The defensive effort can be further explained by the special teams. RIT continued its outstanding penalty kill from the previous night, holding the Colonials to only seven shots on nine man-advantage attempts. The Colonials were still good on the penalty kill, as the Tigers were 1-for-7 with four shots on the power play.

The only goal of the game was scored by sophomore forward and team captain Celeste Brown (10th goal of the season) on a power-play opportunity. Brown, who scored the game-winning goal in the 2012 Division III National Championship game as a freshmen, has played in 94 career games and has really been a crucial asset to the Tigers in her playing career.

“RIT clearly wanted the game more,” said Robert Morris coach Paul Colontino. “They sacrificed their bodies more. They blocked a lot of shots. We clearly have to do a better job of getting shots through and then following up and finishing on rebounds.”

“I thought we had a really solid, concrete effort the entire game,” said RIT coach Scott McDonald. “After yesterday’s inconsistent effort, I was very happy with the way we responded and how everyone contributed. Ali [Binnington] was unbelievable in the third and showed why she is one of the best goaltenders in the country.”

The Tigers conclude the 2013-14 regular season next weekend with a home-and-home series against CHA rival Syracuse University. On Friday, the two teams meet at the Frank Ritter Arena and then finish the series on Saturday in Syracuse. Syracuse is currently third in the CHA standings with 21 points, one point ahead of RIT.

Next Friday’s home game will be the last regular season game at Frank Ritter Arena. The Tigers will move into the 4,200-seat Gene Polisseni Center in time for the 2014-15 season.

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