ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Rochester Institute of Technology scored three power-play goals en route to a 7-4 win over top-seeded Robert Morris on Saturday in the Atlantic Hockey championship game.
The fifth-seeded Tigers repeated as AHC champions behind tournament MVP Myles Powell, who scored the overtime game-winner in Friday’s semifinal win over Air Force and followed it up with a four-point performance in the title game.
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“We believed all year that we would get back here and defend our title,” said senior captain Josh Mitchell, who assisted on both game-winners this weekend.
“They had an answer for everything,” said Robert Morris coach Derek Schooley, whose Colonials finished the season 24-11-4. “They have players that can score and we gave them too many chances.”
It was the Colonials who opened the scoring, just 1:23 into the contest. Greg Gibson picked up a loose puck in the RIT zone and zipped a wrist shot past RIT goaltender Mike Rotolo.
The Tigers got the next two goals, with Liam Kerins taking a feed from Todd Skirving in the slot and putting a wrist shot past Colonials goalie Terry Shafer to tie the game.
Greg Amlong’s power-play goal, a one-timer from the left point, gave RIT its first lead of the game at 7:32.
The teams traded goals in the remainder of the first period, with a power-play goal by David Friedmann for the Colonials at 10:10 and Kerins’ second of the period at 15:10.
“I thought the first period we gave them too much room, too much respect,” said Wilson. “We made some adjustments.”
The Tigers dominated the second period, outshooting RMU 17-8, getting a breakaway goal from Danny Smith and Powell’s first of two on the night to take a 5-3 lead. After sustained pressure in the Robert Morris zone, Mitchell found Powell at the right faceoff dot, and the sophomore took a stride towards the net and put the puck past Shafer.
After Powell’s second consecutive goal made it 6-3 midway through the third period, Robert Morris found another gear and got to within two on a Matt Cope power-play goal at 13:02.
“We took some penalties after that, but had a lot of chances on the penalty kill,” said Schooley. “We get one more and it’s a one-goal hockey game. But [RIT] had answers every time.”
Chase Golightly had a short-handed breakaway attempt shortly after, but Rotolo was able to poke the puck off his stick, and RIT scored seconds later to put the game away.
“I had to have it,” said Rotolo. “I have to backbone the team when we make a mistake. I knew if he scores it’s a 6-5 hockey game with five minutes left. But lucky enough, I get my stick on it and we ended up coming down and scoring. 7-4 is a heck of a lot different than 6-5.”
Robert Morris outshot RIT 16-6 in the final period and 34-29 for the game.
“We knew they were going to come hard,” said RIT’s Alexander Kuqali. “We have a team that could take their game and give it right back to them.”
RIT awaits the announcement of its NCAA tournament draw. The Tigers upset top-seeded Minnesota State in the first round last season.
“We’re not too concerned about who we play,” said Mitchell. “We won a game last year and we want to go even further.”