Tigers have third period lead slip away in loss at Holy Cross

Courtesy of RITAthletics.com

WORCESTER, MA – The RIT men’s hockey team (13-12-3, 11-8-3 AHA) suffered a 4-3 loss at College of the Holy Cross (7-17-4, 7-12-3 AHA) from the Hart Center Saturday night.

The Tigers led 3-1 in the second period before the Crusaders rallied with three unanswered goals, including two in the final stanza. Neil Robinson scored the game-winning goal to snap a 3-3 tie with 4:17 remaining in regulation.

Peter Crinella had a goal and an assist, while Michael Laffin and Ryan Leibold also scored. Erik Gordon made 26 saves to pick up the win.

Erik Brown (Keene, Ontario/Kemptville 73’s), Andrew Petrucci (Toronto, Ontario/Toronto Patriots), Jake Joffe (Toronto, Ontario/Toronto Jr. Canadiens) scored for the Tigers. Joffe’s goal was the first of his collegiate career. Logan Drackett(Calgary, Alberta/Calgary Canucks) made 15 saves.

RIT out-shot Holy Cross, 29-19. RIT was 0-for-1 on the power-play, while the Crusaders were 1-for-3.

“I thought when Holy Cross pushed back, we just folded and did not fight back,” said RIT head coach Wayne Wilson. “We led 3-1 and could not put them away. We needed to be better in every way when they fought back. It was a team effort.”

Both teams scored once in the opening period, as RIT out-shot the Crusaders, 13-5.

Holy Cross would open the scoring 6:09, as Crinella fired a shot past Drackett for his sixth goal of the season.

RIT would answer back with 4:22 left in the period, as Brown came in with Ryan Kruper (Sherwood Park, Alberta/Sherwood Park Crusaders) on a 2-on-1, and centered a pass that went off a defender’s skate and past Gordon for his team-best 13th goal of the season. Abbott Girduckis (Belleville, Ontario/Wellington Dukes) and Brody Valette (Calgary, Alberta/Whitecourt Wolverines) assisted on the goal.

The Tigers would score a pair of goals to open up a 3-1 lead in the second period. Just 3:39 into the season, Petrucci fired in a rebound from the side of the net after Kobe Walker (Lloydminster, Alberta/Lloydminster Bobcats) had a point-blank shot in front stopped by Gordon. Will Calverley (Scarborough, Ontario/Chilliwack Chiefs) also assisted on the goal, Petrucci’s second of his career.

Joffe would make it 3-1 with his first collegiate goal with 9:02 left in the period, converting a perfect goal-mouth feed fromNick Bruce (Fall River, Nova Scotia/Johnstown Tomahawks) on a 3-on-1 rush. Darren Brady (Lake Orion, MI/New Jersey Titans) started the play with a nice chip off the boards in his own zone that sent RIT off on the odd-man rush.

The Crusaders would cut RIT’s lead to 3-2 with 5:10 left in the second period, as Laffin converted a rebound in front on a power-play for his seventh goal of the season.

Holy Cross would tie the game at 3-3, 6:23 into the third period, as Leibold slammed in a rebound from the left circle after Drackett made the initial save on a hard shot by Johnny Coughlin.

Robinson scored the game-winning goal with 4:17 left, taking a feed from Kevin Darrar in the neutral zone and splitting two RIT players before slipping a backhander past Drackett for his fifth goal of the year.

RIT would get its lone power-play with 3:47 left and generated a few chances, but could not get the tying goal. The Tigers also would pull Drackett for the extra attacker with 1:30 left.

RIT leads the all-time series between the two schools, 27-16-7. Last night, RIT scored three unanswered goals to knock off the Crusaders, 4-3. Dan Willett (Bayville, NY/Bloomington Thunder), Bruce, Zach Salloum (Orleans, Ontario/Ottawa Jr. Senators) and Calverley scored for the Tigers, while Adam Brubacher (Elmira, Ontario/Powell River Kings) tied a career-high with three assists.

Despite tonight’s loss, RIT remains tied for third in the Atlantic Hockey standings with 25 points.

RIT goes right back on the road next weekend to play a pair of games at Sacred Heart University. Friday’s game at Webster Bank Arena is a special 11:05 a.m. start time, while Saturday’s contest begins at 2:05 p.m.

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