RIT Holds Off UConn

Senior forward Sean Murphy (Owatonna, MN) scored twice to lead the RIT (19-10-8) men?s hockey team to a 4-2 win over Connecticut in the 2011 Atlantic Hockey Association Tournament semifinals at the Blue Cross Arena on Friday afternoon.

The Tigers , the top seed in the tournament, will face the winner between Air Force and Holy Cross in the championship game tomorrow night at 7 pm with the winner earning the automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

RIT was outshot 41-27 by the Huskies. Shane Madolora (Salinas, CA) was excellent in net for the Tigers, making 39 saves, picking up his 17th win of the season.

?I don?t think we brought our ?A? game,? said Head Coach Wayne Wilson. ?But Shane held us in there and we were able to find other ways to win.?

The two goals scored by Murphy ties a career high. It?s the second time he?s tallied two in his career and the first time since February of 2009 versus Sacred Heart. He now has 15 career playoffs points on five goals and 10 assists.

RIT came out firing in the first period, tallying three. Scott Knowles (Riverside, Ontario), Ben Lynch (Blaine, MN) and Sean Murphy (Owatonna, MN) each lit the lamp for the Tigers who chase Connecticut starter Garrett Martus after 14 minutes of action.

Knowles tallied his sixth of the season 3:31 into the game off assists from Chris Haltigin (Oakville, Ontario) and Mike Janda (Glen Ellyn, IL). Off a face off in the Connecticut zone, Janda gathered the puck behind the net and fed a pass up to Haltigin at the point. He fired a shot that Bartus saved. The rebound came to Knowles who was parked in front of the net and he fired a wrist shot home to give the Tigers an early lead.

Lynch scored off an assist from Trevor Eckenswiller (Lions Head, Ontario) at 9:11 of the first to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead. Eckenswiller, brought the puck into the zone and fired a hard pass that Lynch skated onto and redirected over Bartus?s shoulder for his seventh of the season.

Murphy?s first goal was a spectacular short-handed goal at 14:23 of the first period off a face off. He won the face off, but the puck hit off a Huskie?s skate and came right back to him. He skated to the front of the net and fired a wrist shot that tucked under the cross bar giving the Tigers a 3-0 lead.

The Huskies andswered back late in the first period on a goal by Cole Schneider. He scored at 18:25 of the period to make it 3-1.

Connecticut took the momentum into the second period, firing 16 shots on net, while RIT mustered just seven in the period. Despite all the shots on goal, the Huskies could not solve Madolora until late in the period.

Ranallo Marcello scored the lone goal of the second period at 19:53, it was a power play tally that cut the Tiger?s lead to one goal at 3-2. He fired a wrist shot from the top of the face-off circle. Madolora was screened on the play and the shot floated past him.

Madolora kept RIT in the game midway through the third period making four great saves on a flurry by the Huskies. Alex Gerke had two shots, one on a wrap around and one on a one-timer. Andrew Olson, and Rui Encarnacao also had shots that Madolora turned aside.

Murphy scored his second goal of the game at 16:32 of the third to give the Tigers a two-goal lead. He fired a shot on net that seemed to handcuff Connecticut goaltender Matt Grogan that snuck underneath his pads.

RIT went 0-for-7 on the power play, while Connecticut went 1-for-7.

?It?s an awesome feeling to be here,? said Murphy. ?It?s very hard to get here, but we?re here, now we just have to finish it.?

The Tigers will try to finish the journey tomorrow night at the Blue Cross Arena. If they do, it will be the Tigers second straight AHA Tournament.

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