Courtesy of RITAthletics.com
ROCHESTER, NY – The No. 5 seed RIT men’s hockey team will take on No. 6 seed Niagara University in the second Atlantic Hockey Semifinal at 7:30 p.m. from Harborcenter in Buffalo on Friday, March 22. Top-seed American International and No. 8 Robert Morris University will face-off at 4:30 p.m. in the first semifinal. Friday’s winners will meet in the 2019 Atlantic Hockey Championship game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 23.
The 2019 Atlantic Hockey Champion will receive an automatic berth into the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship Tournament. RIT is making its eighth trip to the Atlantic Hockey Semifinals in 12 seasons and is looking for its fourth league title, having won in 2010, 2015 and 2016. RIT was most recently the No. 5 seed in 2015-16 and won the league championship.
Tickets are available for championship weekend online at http://www.harborcenter.com/
The Tigers (17-16-4) advanced to championship weekend after rallying to defeat Sacred Heart in the AHA Quarterfinal series last week. RIT lost game one, 9-4, before responding with a 7-3 win in game two. In game three, Jake Hamacher (Corona, CA/Dubuque Fighting Saints) scored to break a 1-1 tie with 2:21 remaining in regulation and added an empty netter with 20 seconds left to lift RIT to a 3-1 win to take the series. Alden Dupuis (Edmonton, Alberta/Bonnyville Pontiacs) led the way offensively with eight points on three goals and five assists and was plus-6. Hamacher added six points on three goals and three assists and line-mate Shawn Cameron (Sherbrooke, Quebec/Cumberland Grads) recorded four points. Logan Drackett (Calgary, Alberta/Calgary Canucks) stopped 67 shots in the two wins, including 31-of-32 in game three.
Senior co-captain Abbott Girduckis (Belleville, Ontario/Wellington Dukes) leads the Tigers in scoring with 37 points on 11 goals and 26 assists in 37 games, while junior defenseman Adam Brubacher (Elmira, Ontario/Powell River Kings) has 31 points on seven goals and 24 assists and Hamacher is right behind with 30 points. Senior co-captain Erik Brown (Keene, Ontario/Kemptville 73’s) leads the team with 18 goals this season and enters the weekend with a Division I team record 70 for his career, which is also second most among all active Division I players. Drackett has appeared in 33 games between the pipes and is 14-15-4 with a 2.65 goals against average and a .910 save percentage.
Niagara (16-18-5), the No. 6 seed, defeated Canisius College in three games in the first round from March 8-10 and swept No. 3 seed Air Force Academy on the road in the quarterfinals last weekend by scores of 3-2 in overtime and 5-4. Niagara enters the semifinals on a 6-1-2 tear over its last nine games. Freshman Ludwig Stenlud leads the Purple Eagles in scoring with 22 goals and 41 points in 39 games, while junior defenseman Noah Delmas is right behind with 40 points on 15 goals and a team-best 25 assists. In net, Brian Wilson has played in 32 games, with a 14-13-5 mark, 2.85 goals against average and a .907 save percentage.
RIT is 2-1-1 against Niagara this season. RIT defeated the Purple Eagles, 8-4 on Dec. 15 and 2-1 on Jan. 5, both from the Gene Polisseni Center. The two teams skated to a 4-4 draw on Jan. 4, while Niagara earned a 4-2 win at Dwyer Arena in the most recent meeting on Feb. 27. Niagara leads the all-time series between the two schools, 19-12-4.
Top-seed American International (20-16-1) defeated Army West Point in three games in the quarterfinal round to advance to Buffalo. Blake Christensen leads AIC in scoring with 44 points on 15 goals and 29 assists in 37 games. Tobias Fladenby has a team-best 18 goals. Six different players have at least 20 points. Zackarias Skog has played 31 games in net for the Yellowjackets and is 17-13-0 overall with a 2.81 goals against average and an .894 save percentage.
No. 8 seed Robert Morris (16-21-2) swept No. 9 Holy Cross in the opening round on March 8-9 and like RIT rallied to defeat their quarterfinal final opponent, No. 2 Bentley University on the road in three games. Justin Addamo scored the overtime winner in game to send the Colonials to Buffalo. Alex Tonge leads the Colonials in scoring with 37 points on 18 goals and 19 assists in 38 games played. Luke Lynch a team-best 20 assists and 30 points. Six different Colonials have at least 20 points. Goaltender Francis Marotte has played in all 39 games in net and has a 2.85 goals against average and a .908 save percentage.
If RIT advances to Saturday’s championship, they will face either American International or Robert Morris. RIT went 4-0 against AIC during the 2018-19 regular season and 2-1-1 against Robert Morris.
Overall, the Tigers are 32-18 in the postseason at the Division I level and 29-15 in the AHA Tournament. The Tigers are going for their third Atlantic Hockey Championship in the last five years. RIT is 5-2 all-time in AHA Semifinal appearances.
Video for all Atlantic Hockey Tournament games is available online. In addition, each game will be aired on WITR 89.7 FM and Fox Sports 1280 with Ed Trefzger and Scott Biggar on the call. Live stats are also available.