By TIM IRVING
All sports are games of inches and split seconds.
In the case of RIT men’s hockey, ten seconds early in the second period was the difference in what was an even match-up with Arizona State, the Tigers falling 2-1 at home versus the Sun Devils.
Freshman goalie Tommy Scarfone made 10 saves in a scoreless first period.
“I thought Tommy in net was solid and looked confident,” head coach Wayne Wilson said.
In the second period, Arizona State pinned the Tigers in their defensive zone, Josh Doan, the son of Coyotes legend Shayne Doan, shot the puck in from the point and Johnny Walker got two whacks at the puck before getting it past Scarfone.
10 seconds later, Ryan O’Reilly broke in off the ensuing face-off and made it 2-0.
“I really liked our response to that though. In the past, we’ve gotten down on ourselves when we’ve gone down two goals,” said Wilson.
For the rest of the game, RIT had the better of the play at both ends. Scarfone and his defensemen blocked shots and started rushes the other way.
With under three minutes to go in the second period, Jake Hamacher skated in and dropped the puck for Grady Hobbs. His shot from the point was stopped by Ben Kraws but Carter Wilkie’s rebound slipped under his pads to cut the lead to 2-1 heading to the third.
The Tigers again got the better of the play but couldn’t net the equalizer. Both goalies finished the game with 26 saves.
“I thought the fight and the compete in use was a real attribute for us tonight,” Wilson said, adding that he expects to have Kolby Matthews start Saturday’s game in net.
The Sun Devils (14-12-0), playing in their sixth game already in 2022, came off a win over #11 Northeastern while the Tigers (10-8-2) have played just twice this year.
“They’re big and strong and had an edge on us there but I thought they really out-skated Northeastern and they forced us to play at another speed, which is good for us, “ Wilson said.
The same two play again at the Gene Polisseni Center Saturday at 5:05.