Courtesy of RITAthletics.com
WORCESTER, MA – The RIT men’s hockey team (13-11-3, 11-7-3 AHA) scored three unanswered second period goals to defeat Atlantic Hockey rival College of the Holy Cross (6-17-4, 6-12-3 AHA) by a score of 4-3 from the Hart Center at the Luth Athletic Complex Friday night. RIT improved to 7-1-2 in its last 10 league games and moved into a tie for third in the AHA standings with 25 points.
In what turned out to be a night of firsts for several Tigers, Zach Salloum (Orleans, Ontario/Ottawa Jr. Senators) scored his first collegiate goal, while Spencer Berry (White Rock, British Columbia/Langley Rivermen) recorded his first two collegiate assists. Nick Bruce (Fall River, Nova Scotia/Johnstown Tomahawks) scored his first goal of the season and Jordan Peacock (Burlington, Ontario/Burlington Cougars) returned from injury to play in his first game since Nov. 3, earning the primary assist on Will Calverley’s (Scarborough, Ontario/Chilliwack Chiefs) game-winning goal in the third period. Dan Willett (Bayville, NY/Bloomington Thunder) added a power-play goal, while Adam Brubacher (Elmira, Ontario/Powell River Kings) dished out a career-best three assists on the night. Logan Drackett (Calgary, Alberta/Calgary Canucks) earned his 10th win of the season in net, making 28 saves.
Pete Kessel, Michael Laffin and Mitch Collett scored for Holy Cross. Erik Gordon took the loss between the pipes, making 23 saves on the night.
Holy Cross out-shot RIT, 31-27. The Tigers were 1-for-3 on the man-advantage, while holding the Crusaders scoreless on one power-play attempt. RIT took just two penalties on the evening.
“I thought the second period is what we wanted to play like and we slipped away from it a little in the third, but we recovered,” said RIT head coach Wayne Wilson. “Two points is two points and they’re hard to come by. I was really happy for a lot of guys: [Nick] Bruce, Zach [Salloum] just some different guys who aren’t always scoring points. We had two 100-point guys out of our lineup tonight and were able to find a way to win and that was big for us.”
The Tigers started out slow and Holy Cross jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead as Kessel would open up the scoring with a quick wrist shot that beat Drackett. Late in the period, RIT would get a power play after a Crusaders hooking call, but could not convert on the man advantage.
Holy Cross carried the momentum into the second period getting an early 3-on-1 opportunity, but Drackett would make a key save. The tables turned after the Tigers were awarded a second power-play. Quick puck movement from Jake Hamacher (Corona, CA/Dubuque Fighting Saints) and Brubacher found Willett on the right-hand side for a one-timer that snuck past Gordon for a power-play goal with 14:50 left in the frame, tying the game at 1-1.
RIT would score two more goals in the period, just 2:15 apart to grab a 3-1 lead. With 10:48 left in the period, Berry delivered a nice feed to Brubacher who ripped a shot that Bruce got a piece of in front that gave the Tigers the lead. Salloum scored his first goal as a Tiger moments later, receiving a pass from Brubacher and firing a shot through a screen past Gordon.
Holy Cross would not go away, cutting RIT’s lead to 3-2 with 13:02 left in regulation, as Neil Robinson would get the puck off an offensive zone face-off and wrap around Drackett to find Michael Laffin in front of the net who would convert.
RIT would answer right back 1:15 later, as Jordan Peacock (Burlington, Ontario/Burlington Cougars) drove the net and had his change denied by Gordon, but Calverley followed up and buried the rebound for his sixth goal of the season. That goal turned out to be the game-winner.
With just over two minutes left of the game Holy Cross would pull Gordon for the extra attacker, as Collett fired a shot through traffic to make it 4-3 Tigers. The Crusaders would press in the final minute, but a goaltender interference call with 39 seconds left dashed their chances, as RIT held on for the win.
RIT leads the all-time series between the two schools, 27-15-7.
RIT and Holy Cross wrap up the weekend series on Saturday night from the Hart Center at 7:05 p.m.