ROCHESTER, NY – The RIT men’s hockey team (7-5-2, 6-3-2 AHA) recorded its second straight win, defeating visiting American International (3-13-2, 2-8-2 AHA), 3-1 in front of 1,908 fans at Ritter Arena on Friday evening. Adam Hartley (West Vancouver, British Columbia) and Mike Colavecchia (Maple, Ontario) led RIT with a goal and an assist apiece.
RIT scored a goal in all three periods, as Adam Mitchell (Crofton, MD) also scored for the Tigers. Adam Pleskach scored AIC’s lone goal with 5:07 left in regulation, spoiling a shutout bid by RIT goaltender Shane Madolora (Salinas, CA).
Both goaltenders were strong in net, as Madolora stopped 27 shots to record his sixth win of the season. AIC goaltender Ben Meisner stopped 39-of-42 shots to keep the Yellow Jackets in the contest.
The Tigers out-shot AIC, 42-28. RIT was 1-for-5 with the man-advantage, while AIC was 1-for-7.
RIT Head Coach Wayne Wilson knows that all games from here on out are important and that RIT has to play hard every contest.
“We need to play well and compete to win,” said Wilson. “Tonight was a story of three different periods. Our effort level was good but we didn’t handle the puck real well in the second. We weren’t intense in the second and in the third we had too many stick penalties and gave up the 5-on-3 goal. I really like AIC’s forwards and I thought their power-play was very good as well. We have to keep playing hard and try to complete the weekend sweep tomorrow night.”
RIT owned the first 15 minutes of the contest, opening with a 14-3 edge in shots en route to a 15-8 edge and 1-0 lead on the scoreboard after 20 minutes of play.
Mitchell got the Tigers on the board with a power-play goal, 9:57 in, completed a nifty passing play. Chris Haltigin (Oakville, Ontario) fed Mike Colacecchia on the side boards, who wheeled the puck down low to Burt in the corner. Burt fired a pass right into the slot, where Mitchell was all alone to rip a shot over the shoulder of Meisner for his third goal of the season.
Colavecchia nearly gave RIT a 2-0 later in the period, as he was robbed by Meisner on a rebound at the side of the net after the original shot by Matt Garbowsky (St. George, Ontario/St. John's Collegiate) was stopped.
Madolora was barely tested through the first 15 minutes of the period. He came up big on an attempt by Pleskach on a power-play late in the period, as he slid across to gobble up a shot from about 12 feet out.
Hartley scored the lone goal in a fast-paced second period.
Just 1:58 into the period, Chris Saracino (St. Louis, MO) chipped the puck high into the air in the neutral zone that hopped off Garbowsky to Hartley at the AIC line. Hartley skated in and fired a shot from the right face-off circle that squeezed past Meisner and in for the 2-0 lead. The goal was Hartley’s fourth of the season.
RIT had a golden chance to go up three goals, as they were awarded 1:30 of a 5-on-3 power-play. The Tigers fired five shots on the advantage, but all came from the outside and Meisner was able to turn them all aside. His best save came early on the 5-on-3, as he made a strong glove save on a blast by Haltigin.
That penalty kill seemed to jump start the Yellow Jackets, as they peppered Madolora with a flurry of shots, especially on a pair of power-plays later in the period. The RIT goaltender stood his ground, stopping all 13 shots in the period. He made a few big saves, especially two on a stuff in attempt by Jon Puskar later in the frame.
Colavecchia gave RIT the 3-0 lead just 1:34 into the final period, when he slammed in a perfect pass from Hartley in front for his fourth goal of the season. Greg Noyes (Lucan, Ontario) started the play in the neutral zone with a pass to Colavecchia, who fed Hartley coming in to the AIC zone. Hartley went behind the net and found Colavecchia, who was all alone in front of Meisner.
RIT ran into penalty problems in the third period and Pleskach made RIT pay, scoring off a rebound on a 5-on-3 for his sixth goal of the season. Jeff Ceccacci fed Nielsson Arcibal at the top of the slot. His shot was blocked, but the rebound came right to Pleskach at the side of the net, as he slid the puck through the pads of Madolora for the goal.
The Tigers are now 5-0-2 against AHA foes at home this season and 30-2-6 against the start of the 2009-10 season.
RIT is 18-3-1 all-time against the Yellow Jackets, including a 15-3-0 mark since moving to Division I in 2005. RIT went 3-1 against American International last season with two shutouts. The Tigers eliminated the Yellow Jackets in the 2011 AHA Quarterfinals and are 10-1-1 all-time against them at Ritter Arena.
The Tigers and Yellow Jackets conclude its season series on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. That game is the final RIT home game until Jan. 27, 2012.
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