A hat trick by Tiger defenseman Ryan Fairbarn carried RIT to a 6-2 victory over Hobart in their ECAC West semifinal Friday. Fairbarn scored all three of his goals during the first 30 minutes of the contest.
“We played well in both the first and second periods, but we got rewarded for it in the second,” said RIT coach Wayne Wilson.
RIT scored five goals in the second period to blast the game wide open. Fairbarn finished off his hat trick with a pair of goals, both on the power play. Both goals came after Fairbarn pinched in from his normal position on the point. Fairbarn’s first goal of the second period was at 5:54, while his second came at the 9:29 mark.
“Mike Bournazakis and I were looking across the ice all game long, and connected on those two goals,” said Fairbarn.
“We wanted to get the puck over to Ryan on the power play, since Hobart was covering the guys that we normally go to,” added Wilson. “He came to play and was very aggressive at both ends of the ice.”
The most picturesque goal of the game came 11:22 into the period, when Darren Doherty scored a shorthanded goal while Hobart was skating with a five-on-three power play. Doherty picked up the puck in his own zone and carried it the length of the ice. One Hobart defender got back, but Doherty toe-dragged the puck around him and slid the puck past Statesmen netminder Adam Lavelle’s pads for the goal.
David Bagley and Lanner Fayad tallied the other two RIT goals during the second period.
Hobart stayed in the game and kept plugging away. The Statesmen apparently scored a goal around the 16-minute mark of the second stanza, when a wrist shot by Matt Daley appeared to go rapidly in and out of the corner of the net. However, neither the referee nor the goal judge signaled a goal, and play continued.
The Statesmen finally did crack the scoreboard at 17:02, when John Gluek carried the puck in alone on the breakaway and beat RIT goaltender Tyler Euverman.
RIT controlled play almost completely during the first half of the opening period. The Tigers also struck first on the scoreboard, tallying a goal 2:42 into the contest after putting a ton of pressure on net.
Fairbarn scored the goal with a blast from the right point that wound its way through a crowd before finding the back of the net.
Hobart settled down a little after the RIT goal, as the Statesmen had two chances to score during the latter part of the first period. Twice they were able to get the puck past Euverman, trickling towards the goal line. But each time the Tigers swept the puck clear before it crossed.
“We’ve got to get closer to the kill a little more often,” said Taylor. “We were tentative in the first, waiting for something to happen, instead of going after it. Once we settled in, we played pretty well. You can’t take away the skills of the RIT players, though.”
Hobart kept plugging away in the third, while RIT seemed content to play prevent defense. The Tigers switched goaltenders midway through the period, putting George Eliopoulos in net. The Statesmen carried play through most of the last stanza.
“Hobart played hard first to third period,” said Wilson. “They never quit. I was glad to see that Mark Taylor got ECAC West Coach of the Year. The best coach doesn’t always have the best record. Mark deserved the award this year for what he has done with Hobart.”
Adam Boschetto scored Hobart’s second goal of the game 12:27 into the third period. An RIT mistake at the Tiger blue line allowed Boschetto to skate into the zone all alone, and he slid it past Eliopoulos for the goal.