College Hockey:
Nagtzaam scores twice, adds assist, as Mercyhurst defeats RIT

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers (8-17-5, 7-13-3 AHA) concluded their seven-game homestand by falling to Atlantic Hockey Association leader Mercyhurst (17-12-5, 15-4-4 AHA) 6-2 on Saturday.

Not only did the Lakers win on Saturday, but they blanked the Tigers 3-0 entering the third period. While the Tigers scored twice in the third period, the Lakers put the puck in the net an additional three times in the third.

Lakers forwards Nardo Nagtzaam and Kyle Cook each earned three points in Saturday’s victory. Nagtzaam scored two goals and an assist, while Cook had a goal and two assists.  Mercyhurst also had goals from sophomore defensemen Anthony Mastrodicasa, freshmen forward Stephen Hrehoriak, and junior forward Zac Frischmon on Saturday.

Tigers forward Anthony Hamburg and defensemen Alexander Kuqali generated RIT’s two goals. Moreover, Kuqali was the only player, from either team, to successfully execute on a power-play opportunity on Saturday, as Mercyhurst went 0-for-1 (0 shots) and RIT went 1-for-4 (14 shots).

The 14 shots during the power play contributed to the disparity in shots on goal; RIT outshot the Lakers, 45-29. RIT junior goaltender Jordan Ruby, who replaced freshmen goaltender Mike Rotolo after starting the previous night, had 21 saves on the night.

“We fired a lot of shots, but didn’t have enough good looks,” said RIT coach Wayne Wilson. “The weekend came down to a lot of little things, which was the difference. We have to keep a good mental frame and continue to compete hard.”

“I worry about a lot of things, but I don’t really worry about our goaltending because I think it is pretty good,” said Mercyhurst coach Rick Gotkin. “I think our guys are committed to try to win every night. They certainly give us a great effort every night. We never questioned their work ethic.”

Saturday night was only second time in the lifetime series that the Lakers have swept a regular season series against RIT.  It was also the first time in program history that the Lakers swept a weekend series against RIT at the Frank Ritter Arena. The Tigers are 30-18-6 all-time against the Lakers, including a 14-9-3 mark since 2005. However, Mercyhurst won the season series between the two schools this season, 3-0-0.

RIT went 0-5-2 over its season-high seven-game home stand, which is its longest home winless streak in the Division I era. Overall, RIT has an eight-game winless streak, which is also the longest in the Division I era.

Mercyhurst will face Niagara University next weekend in a home-and-home series, playing at home Friday. RIT will travel west next weekend for a pair of games at Air Force Academy.

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