RIT Wins 4th Regular Season Conference Title

The RIT men?s hockey team (16-8-7, 15-3-6 AHA) clinched its fourth Atlantic Hockey Association regular season title in the last five seasons after defeating conference rival Canisius (9-15-6, 8-10-5 AHA), 6-0 at Buffalo State Sports Arena on Sunday afternoon. The Tigers now have an 11-game unbeaten streak (6-0-5), which is the longest current streak in Division I.

Tyler Brenner (Linwood, Ontario) scored twice for RIT. Adam Mitchell (Crofton, MD), Mike Janda (Glen Ellyn, IL), and Greg Noyes (Lucan, Ontario) also scored for the Tigers, who extend their road unbeaten streak to eight games and unbeaten run against AHA foes to 15 games (10-0-5). Noyes and Brenner each recorded a career-high three points, while Ben Lynch (Blaine, MN) tallied a pair of assists.

The Tigers were great on the power-play, going 3-for-5, scoring on their first three chances. They held Canisius scoreless on all five power-play attempts.

RIT?s defense did a very good job minimizing quality scoring attempts by Canisius in recording their second straight shutout and fifth of the year.  They have three shutouts in the last four games.

Shane Madolora (Salinas, CA) made 28 saves to record his fifth shutout of the season and third in the last four games. He lowered his goals against average to 1.82 and upped his save percentage to .938, both of which lead all of Division I. He remains unbeaten on the year at 14-0-6. Madolora sealed the shutout with a great save on a breakaway attempt by Torrey Lindsay with just under three minutes left in regulation.  His five shutouts are tied for second nationally.

RIT out-shot Canisius, 40-28. They out-shot the Golden Griffins 123-65 in three meetings this season and outscored them 13-1.

The Tigers now have 36 points in AHA play, seven more than Robert Morris with three games to play. They will receive a first round bye in the upcoming AHA playoffs.  RIT is a sensational 92-29-15 all-time in AHA regular season play.

Tony Capobianco made 27 saves in two periods to take the loss for Canisius. He was replaced by Dan Morrison in the third period, who made seven saves.

RIT Associate Head Coach Brian Hills said the Tigers followed the game plan to perfection this weekend.

?During the week, we stressed having a killer instinct and being able to put teams away,? said Hills. ?We needed to get back to playing great team defense and using the special teams to our advantage. Our guys followed the game plan to a tee this weekend, and played well in all aspects.?

RIT came out and jumped on Canisius right away, scoring twice and out-shooting the Golden Griffins, 13-7 in the first period.

Mitchell tallied his 10th goal of the season just 1:08 into the game, shoveling a loose puck at the side of the net over a fallen Capobianco. Adam Hartley (West Vancouver, British Columbia) fed Mitchell in the neutral zone, allowing Mitchell to speed into the Canisius end. Mitchell cut to the middle and fired a wrist shot that Capobianco stopped, with a rebound coming to Cameron Burt (Detroit, MI) in tight, who also had an attempt stopped. The puck laid in the crease where Mitchell was able to flip it over the fallen Canisius goaltender.

Brenner scored his team-leading 22nd goal of the season, on a power-play with 3:47 left in the period. Chris Saracino (St. Louis, MO) took a shot that was blocked right to Lynch in the corner. Noyes fed Brenner at the left half wall, and Brenner was able to skate to the face-off circle and rip a wrist shot past Capobianco on the short side.

Cory Conacher had Canisius? best chance of the period shortly after, taking a low shot from the left face-off circle and clanging it off the far goal post.

RIT broke the game open with three second period goals, out-shooting Canisius, 19-8 to take a commanding 5-0 lead into the second period.

Janda gave RIT a 3-0 lead 7:21 into the second period, taking a feed from Michael Colavecchia (Maple, Ontario) in tight and roofing a picture perfect backhander under the crossbar for his 10th goal of the year.  Noyes also assisted on the goal.

Just before a 5-on-3 was to expire, Noyes collected a rebound in front with 1:17 left in the period to give RIT a 4-0 lead. Saracino fired a shot from the point that was stopped in front by Capobianco. The rebound caromed to Lynch who had a shot stopped, and deflected off Brenner, but Noyes was right on the doorstep to bury his third goal of the season.

With just one second left in the period, Brenner swatted in a rebound at the doorstep for his second goal of the afternoon, and 23rd of the season to make it 5-0. Andrew Favot (King City, Ontario) took a shot that was stopped, but Capobianco could not hold the rebound. Noyes had a whack in close, sending it across to crease to a wide-open Brenner.

Knowles fired a wrist shot over the shoulder of Morrison and off the back crossbar for his fourth goal of the season early in the third period to make it 6-0 RIT. Trevor Eckenswiller (Lions Head, Ontario) assisted on the tally.

Tonight?s game was the third of three regular season meetings between the two schools who are located just 65 miles apart this season. On Dec. 17, RIT scored four times in the third period to erase a 1-0 deficit and win 4-1. Favot and Brenner recorded three points apiece in the win. The Tigers shutout Canisius, 3-0 on Friday at Ritter Arena, as Burt recorded his 100th career point.

RIT is 53-14-1 all-time against the Golden Griffins and has won eight straight, dating back to the 2008-09 season. RIT is 14-4-0 against the Golden Griffins since the 2005-06 season.

?Kudos to our guys for clinching the regular season title,? said Hills. ?Ultimately, our end goal is to win the league playoffs and make another appearance in the NCAA Tournament.?

The Tigers are back in action on Saturday, as they travel to play AHA foe Robert Morris at 7:05 p.m.

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