RIT Moves Onto Atlantic Hockey Semis

The top-seeded RIT men?s hockey team (18-10-8) scored four goals in a period for second straight game, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 4-1 lead, and an eventual 5-1 win over 12th seed American International (8-24-1) at Ritter Arena in game two of the 2011 Atlantic Hockey Association Quarterfinals on Saturday evening. RIT will face the lowest remaining in the first AHA semifinal next Friday, March 19 at Blue Cross Arena at 4:05 p.m.

The Tigers advance to the Atlantic Hockey semifinals for the fourth straight season.

Five different players scored for RIT. Adam Mitchell (Crofton, MD), Sean Murphy (Owatonna, MN), Andrew Favot (King City, Ontario), Tyler Brenner (Linwood, Ontario), and Scott Knowles (Riverside, Ontario) also scored for the Tigers. Brenner also added an assist.

Brenner?s goal was his team best 26th of the season, and 55th of his career, tying Simon Lambert (Ste.-Therese, Quebec/Cumberland Grads) for the Division I career mark. He is one goal shy of the single-season record of 27, held by Matt Smith (Toronto, Ont./Kitchener Dutchmen) in 2007-08.

The Tigers fired a season-high 51 shots, out-shooting the Yellow Jackets, 51-34. RIT was 1-for-7 with the man-advantage, while American International was 0-for-7. RIT killed off all 13 Yellow Jackets power-play attempts over the weekend and added a shorthanded tally in the final minute.

RIT goaltender Shane Madolora (Salinas, CA) continued his stellar play between the pipes, stopping 33 shots to improve to 16-2-7 this season. He stopped a season-high 19 second period shots, while the Tigers mounted their comeback. Madolora lowers his goals against to 1.97 and raises his save percentage to .934. The .934 save percentage leads all of Division I.

Nielsson Arcibal scored American International?s lone goal, a shorthanded tally late in the first period. Goaltender Ben Meisner was remarkable in net, stopping 47-of-51 shots, several in spectacular fashion.

RIT Head Coach Wayne Wilson was happy to see his team get the job done in two nights.

?We played well in the first period, even if the score didn?t indicate it,? said Wilson. ?It was important to come out strong in the second period, and we did just that. Our team gave a workmanlike effort, and I?m happy with the results tonight.?

RIT dominated nearly the entire first period, holding a 15-5 edge in shots, but trailed, 1-0 after 20 minutes of play.

The Tigers special team was not strong, going 0-for-4 with the man-advantage, while allowing a shorthanded goal.

Meisner made a phenomenal save on Bryan Potts (Niagara Falls, Ontario) sliding across the crease to keep the puck out of the net after Burt made a great, no-look pass, leaving Potts alone. Potts fired a one-timer, but could not get it over Meisner.

American International got on the board with 5:04 left in the period, as Arcibal came in on a 2-on-1, faked the pass, and slipped a backhander past Madolora to the short side for his 11th tally of the year.

The Tigers responded with one of their best periods of the season, scoring four goals on a season-high 23 second period shots to take a 4-1 lead after 40 minutes of play. It was a wild period that saw the two teams combine for 42 shots.

RIT tied the game 4:28 into the period, as Mitchell took a great feed from Taylor McReynolds (Sherwood Park, Alberta) from behind the net and ripped a wicked wrist shot over the blocker of Meisner for his 11th goal of the season. Adam Hartley (West Vancouver, British Columbia) also assisted on the goal.

Murphy gave RIT a 2-1 lead 1:43 later, using hard work in front to get away from a pursuing defenseman in front and jam home a rebound off a shot from Burt that was blocked. Potts also assisted on the goal.

Soon after Murphy hit the post, Favot scored his 13th goal at the 11:54 mark of the period, completing a nifty three-way passing play from Lynch and Brenner. Brenner fed Lynch in the neutral zone and fed Lynch cutting into the AIC zone. Lynch took a shot that was stopped, but Favot was there to bang in the rebound for his 13th goal of the season.

Brenner completed another brilliant passing play from Chris Saracino (St. Louis, MO) and Greg Noyes (Lucan, Ontario) on the power-play with 51 seconds left in the period for his 26th tally of the season. Noyes fed Saracino, who came down low and feathered a perfect centering pass that Brenner hit out of midair past Meisner for the goal.

RIT had chances in the third to extend the lead, but Meisner held tough.

Favot took a hitting from behind major in the final minute, Mark Cornacchia (Unionville, Ontario) won the ensuing draw and fed a streaking Knowles, who got behind the American International defense and buried his fifth goal of the season, and tied a Division I team record with his third shorthanded tally of the year with 41 seconds left.

RIT is now 17-3-1 all-time against American International. The Tigers finished 3-1 against the Yellow Jackets this season. Madolora made 16 saves in a 4-0 win for his first collegiate shutout on Dec. 3, while six different Yellow Jackets scored in a 6-2 win the following afternoon.

Last night, RIT scored four third period goals, including three in a 2:58 span to defeat the Yellow Jackets, 5-0. Brenner tallied his 100th career point.

The Tigers have now won six straight AHA postseason contests, and are 8-1 all-time at Ritter Arena in postseason play since moving to Division I in 2005. They have scored 46 goals in those nine games.

RIT drew a sellout crowd of 2,100 fans, marking its 11th sellout in 16 home games this season. RIT finishes the 2010-11 season, 10-2-4 on home ice.

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