Rapid fire outbursts in the second period propelled RIT to a 7-4 victory over Connecticut. Pairs of goals within 17 seconds and 30 seconds as well as three goals within 1:29 buried the Huskies. Anton Kharin led the way with two goals. Dan Ringwald accumulated four assists and then got a game misconduct.
“I thought he [Kharin] played very well,” RIT coach Wayne Wilson. “He’s actually played very well for us the last five games. Last night he played very well but wasn’t rewarded. Tonight he got rewarded.”
The victory was RIT’s seventh straight win, extending their school record for longest Division I winning streak. In that span, they have outscored their opponents 33-18. The five goals in the second tied their Division I mark for a period.
“We kept pounding away,” Wilson said. “We worked hard and we were patient, and we kept getting the breaks.”
The teams exploded during a 1:54 span in the second period. RIT scored three consecutive goals within 1:29, the latter two within 17 seconds, before UConn got one back to turn a 1-1 game into a 4-2 RIT lead.
It started with a never-say-die play by Matt Crowell. Racing into the zone, his initial shot required a tough save by Beau Erickson. The rebound came out to the right of the goaltender. Crowell continued to skate hard, picked up his own rebound, and, from a tough angle, fired it past Erickson, who did not have the time to cut the angle down properly.
Just 1:12 later, Ringwald from the left side hit Kharin racing down the right side with a perfect pass. Kharin fired a perfect one-timer into the near upper corner.
Seventeen seconds later, RIT took a 4-1 lead when Scott Knowles scored his first collegiate goal, burying a rebound.
Twenty-five seconds later, UConn finally got one of their own with Chris Ochoa scoring from in close.
After a lull, RIT scored another two goals in rapid succession, 30 seconds apart. Brennan Sarazin just got a stick on it while being tied up in the slot area after Tyler Brenner passed it to the middle on the power play. Kharin them came right back into the zone, beating Beau Erickson from in close to make it 6-2.
At this point, UConn made a goaltender change, putting in Brad McInnis.
RIT dominated early, not allowing UConn their first shot till midway through the first period, but only took a 1-0 lead. UConn wound up scoring on just their second shot to tie the game at one apiece.
The Tigers’ first goal at 7:17 was the result of crashing the net. Ringwald threw the puck at the goal and Erickson made the initial save, but left the rebound in the crease. Tyler Mazzei and Mike Janda whacked at the loose puck; Janda finally was the one who sent it over the line.
“Tonight, we switched our fourth line around,” Wilson said. “They came through with the first goal.”
Almost three minutes later, while skating four-on-four, Sean Erickson tied the game. He had virtually no angle on the right side nearly at the goal line. Despite the situation, the defenseman still threw the puck at the net and somehow Louis Menard did not have the post covered properly, and it snuck through between his leg and the pipe. Menard argued the net had moved when he pressed against it, and that is how the puck got in.
More controversy occurred with 15.7 seconds left in the period. UConn thought they scored a power-play tally, but it was waved off because it was kicked in. However, it appeared an RIT defenseman, not a UConn player, kicked it in.
The period ended tied at one despite RIT out-shooting the Huskies 17-4.
After the wild second period, the third period nearly saw a UConn comeback thanks to multiple penalties by RIT, including a major for hitting-from-behind by Ringwald. Power-play goals by Brad Cooper (knocking it in down low) and Matt Pedemonti (tough angle from the left side) cut the lead to 6-4.
“They never gave up,” Wilson said of UConn. “They gave us a scare, no question. I thought we were sloppy. We took the penalties. We relaxed. I think the game was put away at 6-2, but we had enough cushion that we could rebound. A 4-2 game would have been a different game if we had played the same way.”
RIT got the momentum back on a power-play tally of their own when Mazzei converted a centering pass from Sarazin from the corner to finish out the scoring.
UConn (4-16-1, 3-9-1) returns home for a game on Wednesday against Bentley.
RIT (12-9-1, 11-4-1) solidifies their second place lead, eight points ahead of Bentley. The Tigers are now two points behind Air Force for first place, but Air Force has two games in hand. RIT stays home to face AIC for two games next weekend.