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Man oh man, wouldn’t Canisius like to play RIT all the time?

The Golden Griffins went a perfect four-for-four against the Rochester Institute of Technology this season, with the latest victory on Saturday night at the Harbor Center in an impressive 6-1 win. The triumph gave the Golden Griffins a four-game sweep of the Tigers this season. More importantly, the weekend sweep allowed Canisius to catch RIT on Friday night and pass them on Saturday evening.

The Griffs now have 22 points are tied with Air Force for second place in the Atlantic Hockey standings. Canisius improved to 9-4-4 in conference play and 10-10-5 overall.

“The penalties went in our favor in the first period, and we got up 1-0,” said Canisius coach Dave Smith. “You knew they were coming back. I think the combination of the timely penalty kill and the controlled rebounds, and just good PK clears kept the lead where it was.”

RIT, the defending two-time defending conference champions, lost for the sixth time in its last eight games. In fairness to the Tigers, they were without five regulars this weekend while falling to 10-9-0 (AHA) and 10-14-1 overall.

“We have never been a program that blames things on injuries,” said RIT coach Wayne Wilson. “Tonight, Canisius was just the better team. Tonight, I thought they played much better from start to finish. We are out of sync right now.”

Freshman Nick Hutchison led the Griffs with two goals and an assist while David Parrottino also had two goals. The evening continued a solid rookie season for Hutchison.

“We obviously knew coming into this weekend that is was a big weekend for us,” said Hutchison, who has nine goals. “RIT has been a good team this year and the last couple of years. We showed not only ourselves, but everybody, we are ready to win now.”

Canisius essentially decided the game early. After Mike Sabatini gave the Griffs a 1-0 lead late in the first period, Ryan Schmelzer made it 2-0 just 50 seconds into the second before Hutchison’s first of the night made it 3-0 just a short time later.

Parrottino scored his two goals in the third period when the issue was pretty much decided.  Myles Powell scored the lone goal for the Tigers, who converted on one of their five power-play opportunities, while Canisius was 3-for-6.

Powell’s goal produced a shift in momentum for the Tigers, who carried the play for the rest of the period, but unfortunately for them, that goal was the only one they would get.

Afterward, Smith reflected on his club sweeping the conference champions this season.

“I think the reason we had success was that we treated them as single games at a time,” he said. “We have our attention high when we play RIT. They are very, very good. They lead our league in power play and lead our league in goal scoring. Our guys respect how good they are, and I think you saw our team at full attention.

NOTES: RIT was without Chase Norrish, Ryan Kruper, Max Mikowski and Alex Perron-Fontaine, who are all listed as day to day. Todd Skirving is reportedly still a few weeks away from returning. … The Griffs improved to 6-0-2 when scoring three or more goals and 8-0-0 when scoring the first goal of the game this year. … The Tigers have nine games left, six at home. … Canisius hosts arch-rival Niagara on Tuesday night at 7:35 p.m., and plays at Niagara on January 31.

Atlantic Hockey roundup

Robert Morris 2, Air Force 1
Alex Tonge scored both goals for the Colonials, who earned a weekend split. Tonge scored the eventual game-winner at 9:49 of the third. Earlier, he gave Robert Morris a 1-0 lead at 4:25 of the opening period. Tyler Ledford scored the lone Falcons goal. Both clubs converted on one of their three power-play opportunities.

Sacred Heart 5, Bentley 4
Steven Hladin scored the winning goal 7:05 into the third period before the Pioneers had to hold off a late Bentley rally. Jordan Minello scored two goals and an assist for Sacred Heart, while Justin Danforth had three assists. Kyle Schmidt had two goals and an assist for Bentley.

Mercyhurst 3, Holy Cross 3
Michael Laffin scored late in the third period to give the Crusaders a tie with the Lakers. After Mercyhurst’s Jack Riley gave his club a 3-2 lead at 3:05 of the third period, Laffin scored at 14:4 on a power play for Holy Cross, which went 2-for-4 on the power play.

AIC 7, Niagara 2
The Yellowjackets got two goals from Jackson Dudley and an assist as they easily downed Niagara. AIC led 4-2 after two periods before pulling away with three goals just over four minutes apart in the third period.