ROCHESTER, N.Y. – RIT entered their two-game home series against Army West Point with a four-game losing streak. In all four contests, the Tigers dug themselves an early hole. In their last two against Air Force, they staged strong comebacks, but fell short each time.
Tonight’s game started following the same script. RIT trailed after one, 1-0, and entered the third trailing 2-1. Both Army goals came on the power play.
“That’s been the story of the last number of games where we played pretty well but we’re on the short end of things,” RIT coach Wayne Wilson said.
Then, the script changed, and the Tigers scored five unanswered goals, two 69 seconds apart in the first 1:49, for a 6-2 win.
“All the guys were getting frustrated,” Shawn Cameron, who scored twice and got an assist, said. “We all gathered at the center of our room at the end of the second period and had a little talk. We told ourselves we couldn’t lose in this barn. So, we made it happen.”
It was Cameron’s line which was a key component in making it happen. The third line contributed on four of the goals, scoring three of them.
“It all started last weekend,” Cameron said. “Then unfortunately I got suspended for the second game of the series. We practiced all week and it all came together in the third period.”
His fellow linemates are Danny Smith who scored and got three assists and Ryan Kruper with four assists.
Cameron’s goals made it 4-2 and 6-2. He backhanded a rebound easily past Parker Gahagen because the goalie did not see where the puck went. The final goal was a floater from the top of the right circle which fooled Gahagen.
“The first one was a great bounce. The guys chipped it on net, and I got the bounce,” Cameron said. “The second one was two great plays in the neutral zone, and I brought it in and saw the D coming at me, so I just shot it.”
Smith scored the go-ahead goal stuffing it in from the crease. This came shortly after Myles Powell tied it with a one-timer from the slot.
Shawn Cameron’s namesake, but no relation, Caleb Cameron, who plays on the first line with Powell, tipped in a bouncing puck on the power play to make it 5-2. That was the second goal for the first line, but it was the third line which was the key, not just on the scoreboard, but the overall picture.
“It’s hard to rely on two lines,” Wilson said. “If they can get going like they are, then you got three pretty good lines putting up points for you.”
That turned out to be the difference in this comeback versus prior failed attempts — depth in scoring all the way down to the third line.
“We’ve gone through a four-game stretch where we didn’t win a game,” Wilson said. “If that doesn’t get you upset and try to get on a winning streak, I don’t know what does. We have to bear down tomorrow night.”
Mike Rotolo made 32 saves for the win.
Atlantic Hockey roundup
Mercyhurst 2, Bentley 1
One goal was scored in each period with Mercyhurst getting the latter two to defeat Bentley, 2-1. Kyle Dutra and Philippe Drouin scored, the winner coming on the power play. Brandon Wildung made 37 saves for the win.
Sacred Heart 4, Niagara 3
Austin McIlmurray scored with 1:12 left in the game to give Sacred Heart a 4-3 win over Niagara in a back and forth game. Derian Plouffe scored twice for Niagara, the first shorthanded. Sacred Heart went three for six on the power play.
Canisius 4, American International 0
Matt Hoover got a natural hat trick as Canisius shutout AIC, 4-0, as the first goal of the game came with four seconds left in the second. Charles Williams registered the whitewash with 24 saves.
No. 18 Western Michigan 5, Air Force 5 (OT)
Air Force trailed Western Michigan, 1-0, 2-1, 4-2 and 5-3, but managed to comeback each time to notch a 5-5 tie. Matt Pulver got the final equalizer at 14:36 of the third. Jordan Himley scored a shorthanded goal in the second period.