The RIT Tigers (2-2-1) special teams dominated Saturday against the AIC Yellow Jackets (0-3). RIT killed off all 13 AIC power plays, scored on six of its 10 power plays, and stopped a Yellow Jackets penalty shot midway through the third period to take control for a 8-0 final score.
“We stressed all day long that we wanted to come out well tonight,” said RIT coach Wayne Wilson. “Sometimes after a big win like last night, you have a letdown the next night. We didn’t want to leave one out on the table and wanted to get our first sweep.”
RIT defeated AIC Friday night by a 8-3 score.
Eight different players scored for RIT, while goaltender Louis Menard earned his first collegiate shutout by stopping all 31 AIC shots on goal.
Even though he didn’t score a goal, RIT junior defender Brent Patry led the Tigers with five points in the game, all assists.
“It was a great game all around,” said Patry. “The penalty kill was awesome. The power play did well. We shot the puck and it went in for us.”
RIT started out with trouble in the opening moments of the first period, taking two straight penalties, but the Tigers’ penalty-killing squad limited AIC to only one shot during the 3:51 span.
Less than a minute after RIT returned to full strength, it took the lead. The Tigers were pressuring in the Yellow Jackets’ zone when three quick shots emerged from a scramble in front of the AIC net. The third flew over the outstretched arms of Yellow Jackets goaltender Matt Tourville, who was sprawled on the ice. Freshman Anton Kharin was credited with the goal at 4:53 to give RIT the 1-0 lead.
Two more RIT penalties allowed AIC to regain some momentum after the Tiger goal, but the Yellow Jackets weren’t able to solve RIT goaltender Louis Menard.
RIT built its lead in the latter half of the first period with a pair of goals. The first tally came when Steve Pinizzotto spotted defenseman Matt Harris slowly skating down the high slot alone. Harris wound a shot around a hard charging AIC defender into the right side of the net to score at 11:54.
Darrell Draper took a feed from Kharin in the corner at 16:21 to score the Tigers’ third goal while on the power play at the 16:21 mark.
The RIT power play ruled the second period, scoring four goals on five opportunities. Even the missed opportunity can be excused since it spanned into the third period.
“That’s the nature of the power play,” said Wilson. “Sometimes you move the puck well and you don’t score. Then other times you have nights like tonight.”
The Tigers started the special-teams onslaught 2:30 in to the second stanza when Matt Crowell took a breakout pass near the AIC blueline and tried to poke it around a defender, only to watch it roll off his stick and past goaltender Tourville just inside the near corner.
Simon Lambert added to the scoreboard at 6:38 by finishing off a 5-on-3 power play for RIT. Brad Harris put in a power-play goal at 8:05, and Matt Smith tallied at 9:10, also on the power play, to conclude the special-teams bonanza.
Those four power-play goals posted RIT to a 7-0 lead after two periods, taking the heart out of AIC. But AIC showed pride in the third period, playing hard and carrying play during most of the period despite the 7-0 posted on the scoreboard.
The most thrilling moment of the period came at 9:49 when RIT’s Bobby Raymond was whistled for delay of game after knocking the Tigers’ net off its moorings during a scramble. AIC captain Jeremy Leroux took the penalty shot, and tried to go high left side, but Menard deflected the puck over the net with his blocker to keep the Yellow Jackets off the board.
Justin Hofstetter chipped in another RIT power-play goal at 15:36 of the third stanza to extend the Tigers lead to 8-0.