Rochester Institute Technology continued its unbeaten streak at home against Atlantic Hockey opponents, as they tied Mercyhurst 3-3 in front of a sold out Ritter arena. Tyler Brenner and Chris Saracino each tallied a goal and an assist on the night. Paul Chiasson scored twice, including the game-tying goal with one minute of regulation time remaining.
RIT (13-8-6 overall,12-3-5 AHA) maintains its four-point lead over Niagara in Atlantic Hockey with an unbeaten streak in seven games overall and 11 in a row in AHA play. Mercyhurst (11-12-3 overall, 9-9-1 AHA) is currently tied for fifth with Canisius and Holy Cross.
“Some ties feel like a loss and some feel like a win; when we’re down 3-1 and ultimately come back with one minute left, it felt like a win,” said Mercyhurst coach Rick Gotkin. “I give Shane a lot of credit for his performance, he made the difference.”
The first period was quick-paced, displaying two evenly-matched teams. Each had their chances to strike first, with Mercyhurst firing 16 shots on goal over RIT’s 11 shots, but stellar goaltending on both ends kept it scoreless.
Madolora came up big with 11:02 remaining in the first when he dropped down to kick his leg out, stopping Phil Ginand, who got a shot off as the Tigers defense crumbled just in front of their net. Patrick Goebel had a chance soon after when he tipped the puck up into Madolora’s chest with 8:31 left on the clock.
Mercyhurst had an opportunity 7:45 into the second period on a power play. Phil Ginand was left open for a shot point-blank in front of the net and another wide. The second shot, which he fired off his rebound, was pushed from the right center dot toward the net, effortlessly floating through Madolora’s legs and into the corner.
Ryan Zapolski made his first big save of the night with his blocker at the post when Trevor Eckenswiller received a pass from behind the net and ripped it to Zapolski’s right side at 10:20.
The Tigers scored the first goal of the game 12 minutes into the second period on a power play after Jeff Terminesi was called for holding. Ben Lynch received the hard-earned puck from against the boards to find Chris Saracino for a clean shot. Tyler Brenner was positioned in front to screen Zapolski when Saracino’s rip deflected off his leg into the back of the net.
A mere 42 seconds after RIT scored, while the announcer was still repeating the details of the goal, Paul Chiasson answered back to tie the game 1-1. He took a pass from Scott Pitt in tight for a one-timer, alarming Madolora.
The Tigers ended the second period with a 2-1 lead after Adam Hartley fired his ninth goal of the season. Cameron Burt slid a centering pass in front of the net, where Hartley appeared to tip it up just under the cross bar.
Brenner scored his second goal of the game, 20th of the season, while each team skated four-on-four. Greg Noyes got the puck to the front of the net for Brenner to tip in. Their lead was cut down to 3-2 after Phil Ginand scored 11:55 into the third.
The Lakers tied the game with only one minute left in regulation when Mike Gurtler fed Chiasson from behind the net. Chiasson lifted the puck over Madolora for his second goal of the night.
Both teams caused excitement in overtime as they worked the puck under tremendous pressure. With 55.1 seconds left in overtime, Mercyhurst’s Grant Blakey was sent to the box on a crosscheck, leaving RIT on the power play for the remainder of the game. Zapolski was spectacular as he faced a sequence of shots in close-range to end the game with the 3-3 tie.
“I think there are good ties, I don’t see anything wrong with them,” said coach Wayne Wilson of RIT. “I am dead against shootouts. I’d rather have a hard-fought tie than some guy on showdown.”