Photo by KATEY LADIKA
Tigers thrash Colonials’ comeback
The RMU men’s hockey team entered this weekend series against the RIT Tigers looking for redemption after losing the first two matchups in Rochester earlier in the season. Unfortunately, the Colonials would not get their revenge tonight as the Tigers were able to defeat RMU 4-3.
In a game where Colonials goaltender Francis Marotte was pulled and replaced with Andrew Pikul after falling down 4-1, RMU attempted to battle back, but in the end they fell one goal short.
The first period of play was a stop-and-go affair as play was constantly halted throughout the period. However, this did not stop the Colonials and Tigers from battling throughout the first 20 minutes, and it was RMU that was able to head to the locker room with a 1-0 lead. This was a result of a Luke Lynch breakaway goal that was set up by a perfect pass off the stick of junior defenseman Eric Israel. This assist would be the first of three on the night for the defenseman.
The 1-0 score after the first period came as no surprise as this period was tight-checking and filled with battles in the corners. Each team was able to showcase their power play units, as the Tigers were able to earn one power play, while the Colonials gained the man advantage twice. Including an opportunity at the end of the period which would carry over into the second period.
In the second frame, the Colonials used their leftover power play time to establish offensive pressure early in the period. Unfortunately for RMU, this period would belong to RIT. The Tigers would click in this period and managed to put the puck past the Colonials’ Marotte three times.
The Tigers’ opening goal came within the first five minutes of the period as junior Gabe Valenzuela was left unattended in front of goal. From there he was able to stickhandle around Marotte and put the puck in the back of the net. Valenzuela’s effort was followed by a goal from fellow junior Abbott Girduckis, who netted his tally around the seven-minute mark in the period. The final goal of the second period came from a scramble in front of the net. The puck squirted out to the blade of freshman Bryson Traptow. Traptow then fired a wrist shot past Marotte, thus increasing the RIT lead to 4-1 as the teams went into the second intermission.
Coach Schooley called the team’s defensive effort in the second period “soft” and continued to say that the period was “men against boys.” However, Schooley also noted that the Colonials’ third period performance was opposite. “We turned the tables because we started winning battles, we started winning races, we won battles,” added Schooley.
Schooley’s analysis of the third period was spot on. An RIT bounce handcuffed Colonial defenseman Elias Ghantous leading to a quick Tiger goal at the start of the period, but after that, it was all RMU.
The Colonials kept the Tigers in their own end throughout the final period of play. This intense offensive pressure led to two RMU goals in the period. The first of which was scored by senior Alex Dagnal and set up by Israel and Luke Lynch. It was Lynch’s pass sent mid-spin that put Dagnal in on goal alone. The senior forward then beautifully sniped the top short side to cut the RIT lead down to two. RMU struck again as the clock dwindled down towards the five-minute mark.
This goal was scored by senior Timmy Moore after Alex Tonge found him open across the goal mouth. RIT goaltender Christian Short was too slow sliding back across the crease as Moore buried the puck in the back of the net. With the score now at 4-3, the atmosphere inside Colonial Arena was electric with the hopes that RMU could complete the comeback. Unfortunately, as Schooley put it, it was “too little too late,” as the Colonials could not complete the comeback.
The Colonials performance tonight gave Schooley flashbacks of earlier season woes. Luckily for RMU, they will have their shot at redemption tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at the Island Sports Center.