RIT Back in Title Game
by Becky Ebert/CHN Reporter
ROCHESTER, N.Y. Here they are again.
The RIT Tigers started that magical run to the Frozen Four last season by first winning an Atlantic Hockey championship. Now, they will get another shot at it after a 4-2 win over Connecticut in Friday's semifinal.
The Tigers were flying at the beginning of the game, but the hungry Huskies, who have never won an Atlantic title, were nipping at their heels for much of the game. Connecticut threw 41 shots on net, but was held at bay by RIT goaltender Shane Madolora.
“I thought for us tonight it was a game of survival. I don’t think we brought our 'A' game,” said RIT coach Wayne Wilson. “I think Shane was the one that pulled us in there. We had a great start and thankfully did. Then just weathered the storm.”
The Tigers took charge of the game when left winger Scott Knowles tipped in the puck off the draw at the 3:31 mark. The Huskies soon found themselves down by two on a great feed by Eckenswiller, leading to a bouncing puck knocked in. Then RIT forward Sean Murphy scored a shorthanded goal off the faceoff, giving his team a 3-0 lead.
Huskies’ goaltender Garrett Bartus was pulled from the game and replaced by freshman Matt Grogan, after letting in three goals on just 10 shots.
“There’s no pressure going in. There’s not much to think about,” said Grogan. “Bartus has been holding it down all year long.”
With some new blood in net, Cole Schneider got his team back in the game on an odd-man rush.
Connecticut poured on the shots in the second period, but it seemed as though no matter how many they threw on Madolora, it wasn’t going to go in. But as the clock ticked closer to the end of the second period, RIT forward Tyler Brenner took a penalty for charging with just 13 seconds left. That opened things up for UConn's Marcello Ranallo to make it a one-goal game.
The Huskies put the pressure on Tigers’ goaltender Madolora yet again in the third. It wasn’t until the Tigers were on the power play that they started to show signs of life, but still couldn’t find a way to bury the puck.
RIT eventually regained a two-goal lead on an unassisted goal by Murphy, his second of the game.
“There wasn’t really anybody out front, so I jus tried to get a rebound out of it and got
lucky,” said Murphy.
For UConn, it was another season without a title and without an NCAA bid.
“Both teams came out with a lot of emotions. We were excited to play, but we just didn’t channel our emotion very well,” said Connecticut coach Bruce Marshall. “We threw a lot of pucks on net, but their goalie made the saves.”