If the RIT hockey team ever plays Holy Cross in Las Vegas, they should put all their money on the number five at the roulette wheel; it is their magic number against Holy Cross.
For the seventh consecutive game, RIT scored exactly five goals against Holy Cross. This time, the final score was 5-2. That raises RIT’s record to 8-0 against Holy Cross since going Division I, and they have won the last 10 overall against the Crusaders.
“This was the type of hockey we were expecting to play,” RIT Coach Wayne Wilson said of the weekend. “Not necessarily getting these results, but the style of play.”
Once again, it was a night for special teams. Each team scored a pair of power-play goals, while RIT also scored two short-handed tallies.
“We had great efforts on the penalty kill,” Wilson said. “We were very aggressive on them. You can cross a team up if you at least send one guy in.”
Holy Cross came out flying, and combined with two early power plays, they pounded the RIT net. However, thanks to some strong saves by Jared DeMichiel, Holy Cross could not convert. RIT needed help from their goaltender, because the offense couldn’t manage their first shot on goal till nearly halfway through the period, which saw most of the action in RIT’s zone.
“They controlled the first period,” Wilson said. “They came out strong, which I knew they would.”
The game completely flipped the other way when Holy Cross was called for four consecutive penalties, many of them overlapping. RIT finally took advantage on the last one, resuming their power play scoring from the night before.
From deep on the right side, Scott Knowles centered the puck for a rushing Brennan Sarazin. Sarazin easily redirected the puck past Ian Dams.
RIT took a 2-0 lead early in the second at 2:20 on a bad goal. Stevan Matic picked up the loose puck near the goal line at the goalie’s right. Despite the nearly impossible angle, he still shot it towards the net. Somehow, it squeezed between the goaltender’s legs and ever so slowly crossed the line.
Next came the power play again for the Tigers, who had a two-man advantage for 1:50. Just as the first penalty expired, Sean Murphy fired a one-timer from the left side after receiving a pass from Dan Ringwald at 16:48.
Holy Cross finally got one back on their own two-man advantage. Mike Daly fired a quick shot, beating Jared DeMichiel easily at 17:58.
“First goal just a bomb of a shot from their guy,” Wilson said.
However, while the second penalty was still being served, RIT got it right back with a short-handed goal at 18:27. Thanks to some good forechecking, Sarazin took advantage of a turnover and backhanded it past Dams.
RIT took a 5-1 lead at 3:13 of the third on yet another short-handed goal. Once again, RIT applied heavy forechecking pressure, forcing a turnover deep. This time, Newman retrieved the puck and stuffed it in the near side unassisted.
Holy Cross got it back on the next power play, thanks to a Brodie Sheahan shot from in close at 6:49.
RIT once again alternated goaltenders for a weekend, and DeMichiel made 21 saves for the win.
“Very happy with our goaltending situation,” Wilson said. “I think we are going to be a better team for it down the line. I think Louis [Menard] may have been tired down the stretch last year. Neither one has given me any reason to play one over the other.”
RIT (2-1-1, 3-4-1) plays a non-conference game next week at Niagara.
Holy Cross (1-2-1, 1-3-1) returns home to play a conference pair against Mercyhurst.
These two teams will play each other again on February 13-14 at Holy Cross. Bet on the number five.