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Three straight goals by RIT was not enough. Three straight goals by Niagara was not enough. Three goalies used in the game was not enough. Three shots in overtime was not enough.
Thus, RIT and Niagara played an exciting 4-4 overtime tie.
“I thought we had a really strong first period,” RIT coach Wayne Wilson said. “Power play was really sloppy in the second. I thought that was the difference in the game. I felt we let them get back in the game.”
“We didn’t like our first period,” Niagara coach Dave Burkholder said. “I thought we struggled and had too many turnovers in the first period.”
RIT had some excellent early scoring chances, but Niagara put the first puck in the net. Matt Dineen scored through a screen from the right point.
The Tigers then ripped off three unanswered goals. Jackson Teichroeb did not realize he did not have control after a save, and Erik Brown whacked it home.
Myles Powell picked up a Niagara giveaway, fed Josh Mitchell down low, who deked Teichroeb, placing it under his leg.
Liam Kerins wrapped up the first period scoring, trailing the play to put in a rebound of a Danny Smith shot.
At this point, Burkholder, a former goalie for RIT, pulled his netminder and put in Guillaume Therien.
The move worked, as Therien shut out the Tigers for 44:09, nearly the rest of regulation play. It also got the Purple Eagles going.
“Jackson was struggling,” Burkholder said. “You can’t start the game giving a team three goals like that. They were all over us in the first period and he drops a puck. That was disheartening.”
Early in the middle period, T.J. Sarcona took a pass from behind the net by Johnny Curran and one-timed it past Nick Amato to cut the lead to one.
Late in the second period, Amato made a splendid glove save on a semi-breakaway to keep the score 3-2 after two.
Now it was Niagara’s turn to score three unanswered goals. Kevin Patterson got credited with a goal when it bounced in off his skate, tying the game.
With 2:58 left in the third, it seemed Stephen Pietrobon won the game. Niagara checked RIT off the puck along the boards. The loose puck was fed to Pietrobon, who fired it in from the right side for the 4-3 lead.
RIT pulled its goalie with a minute left and with 47.8 seconds on the clock, the game was tied. Chase Norrish shot from the right point and it appeared Therien made the pad save. However, the puck slowly trickled across the goal line.
“A real gutsy effort once they took the lead for us to get the tying goal,” Wilson said.
The overtime saw a few opportunities, but all for naught.
“We’ll take the point because points are valuable this time of year,” Wilson said.
“You can’t take many positives out of tonight,” Burkholder said. “We did not deserve to win.”
Amato, who is now 1-1-1, made 19 saves.
“I thought he took another step forward,” Wilson said.
On the other end, Therien made 26 saves in relief, letting up just the one late goal, and nearly won his first collegiate game.
The two teams play each other again Saturday night in Rochester.