ERIE, PA -
The RIT men’s hockey team (12-13-5, 10-9-4 AHA) scored three unanswered goals in the third period to claim a sweep of AHA opponent Mercyhurst (14-13-3, 12-9-2 AHA) by a score of 5-3 at the Mercyhurst Ice Center on Saturday evening. Matt Garbowsky (St. George, Ontario/Powell River Kings)
scored the game-winner, his second goal of the game, with 54.7 seconds remaining as the Tigers moved above .500 in conference play for the first time this season. Chris Saracino (St. Louis, MO/Green Bay Gamblers)
and Jeff Smith (Spokane, WA/Tri-City Storm)
also scored for the Tigers, while Dan Schuler (Webster, NY/Powell River Kings)
added an empty netter with 30 seconds left to secure the win.
Goaltender Jordan Ruby (Tavistock, Ontario/Wellington Dukes)
made 27 saves as the Tigers claimed their fourth win in five games, as RIT now has 24 points in league play.
The Tigers struck early with two first period goals. At the 7:37 mark on the power-play, Mike Colavecchia (Maple, Ontario/Lindsay Muskies)
fired a shot from the point that Garbowsky deflected in for his second goal in as many games.
Just under six minutes later, Saracino intercepted a centering pass in his own zone and flew down the ice, giving the Tigers an odd man rush. Saracino faked a pass and lifted a shot just inside the right post to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead for his seventh goal of the year.
The Tigers dominated face-offs in the period, winning 17 out of 20 in the first stanza.
Mercyhurst answered in a major way in the second period, out-shooting RIT 15-5, while scoring three consecutive goals to grab a one-goal lead.
At the 6:25 mark of the period, Zac Frischmon dumped a centering pass from behind the net that deflected off a Tiger defender and past Ruby.
The Lakers would then score twice in a 2:06 span to claim the lead. Matthew Zay scored a power play goal and Ryan Misiak added his 13th goal of the season.
The Tigers played inspired in the third period and out-shot the Lakers, 15-6 in the final 20 minutes. Smith scored 5:08 into the period as he knocked in his own rebound for his team-best 12th goal of the season.
Ruby made a great glove save on a breakaway with just over three minutes remaining to keep the score tied at 3-3.
Moments before Garbowsky’s game-winner, the Lakers rushed down the ice on a 3-on-1 and fired a shot that beat Ruby but clanged off the cross bar. The Tigers gained control on the ensuing face off and raced down the ice and Garbowsky took a feed from Brad McGowan (Langley, British Columbia/Surrey Eagles)
and tucked a shot just inside the right post.
Mercyhurst pulled their goalie with 44 second remaining on a face off in RIT’s zone, but the Tigers won the face off and Schuler cleared the zone and was able to find the back of the net for his third goal of the year.
Head Coach Wayne Wilson
was pleased with the outcome.
“I think we got what we deserved in each period,” said Wilson. “We controlled the first, then played on our heels in the second. We pushed the issue again and got after them to win the third period.”
This contest marks the third and final meeting between the two schools this season. On Nov. 9, Mercyhurst defeated RIT at Ritter Arena, 5-3. Last night, Adam Hartley (West Vancouver, British Columbia/Surrey Eagles)
scored 1:07 into overtime to give the Tigers a 3-2 victory.
RIT is 30-15-6 all-time against the Lakers. The Tigers are 14-6-3 against Mercyhurst at the Division I level, including an 9-2-1 mark at the Mercyhurst Ice Center.
The Tigers return to action on Friday, Feb. 22 as they host Air Force at Ritter Arena at 7:05 p.m.