The trip to Colorado to play Air Force is upon us and times are strange for these two hockey teams. RIT heads to Air Force for one game on a Sunday, which makes zero sense to me. Why travel three quarters across the country to play one single game? On a different note, why are these two teams in the bottom third of Atlantic Hockey?
RIT Hockey is now 2-7-3 after tying Clarkson 3-3 at Ritter Arena over the Thanksgiving break. I am not sure much has been figured out about RIT Hockey this year but I believe that Josh Watson in goal gives the Tigers the best chance to win. He is the only goalie with any wins this year and right now the Tigers need a win desperately.
RIT has not won in five games, dating back to November 3rd against AIC. Nearly a full month has passed, that is like an eternity in college hockey without a win. At this point in time, just forget about why the team is losing. Forget about x’s and o’s and all that. It is time to get out there and play a game like it is your very last. The hockey team needs to will themselves to a win, and that is done by hard work and determination. There is only one problem; Air Force.
Air Force is 3-7-3 and riding a 4 game losing streak of their own, dating back to November 9th. Their last win came against Penn State on the road, a team that beat RIT at the Brick City Homecoming Festival. Air Force has an experienced goalie in Jason Torf, who has 27 career wins. He started in 33 games in his freshman year and is now a junior. To the contrary, Josh Watson of RIT has 3 career wins to his credit.
This RIT Hockey team is inexperienced and one of the places they are most inexperienced is between the pipes. I do not believe that we are going to get this thing turned around this year. I certainly hope the team is able to turn the corner. Although, I can’t see how it can happen under these circumstances. RIT needs to bring in a stud goalie and he will need about a half a season to acclimate to Division I college hockey.
Do not be mistaken, the jump from Prep School hockey or junior hockey, to the Division I level; it is an enormous jump, a chasm. It is one of those jumps in your hockey career where you start over. What I mean by that is every single player was a top 2 player on their previous team. As a result, the speed of the game is very fast. It takes some time for the game to “slow down” for you. For some players it never slows down enough. The coaches expect that it will take some time; they also expect that a certain amount of players will deal with the change as expected. I believe that some of these RIT players have not dealt with the transition as expected. Too many have not adjusted to the game as expected, in my opinion.
I would love to pick RIT to beat Air Force tomorrow. My heart tells me that something will click with this team and they will win in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Unfortunately, a win at Air Force would require allowing, at the most, one goal against. Not going to happen at Air Force. I do not believe that RIT can score two goals on Torf tomorrow, nor do I believe that Watson can hold Air Force to only one goal. I believe that Air Force wins, in a blowout.
LAST WEEK’S PREDICTION RECORD: 0-0-1
THIS WEEK’S PREDICTION:
Air Force Wins
SEASON PREDICTION RECORD: 3-4-3 (.429)