The RIT Men’s Hockey season is off to a rocky start at 1-4. The Tigers did beat then #3 ranked Michigan Wolverines, which was a huge win, but since then it has been ugly. I have only had the opportunity to see one game this year which was against Penn State at the Brick City Homecoming Festival. It was homecoming/alumni weekend so I did not have a ton of time to really watch the game. I spent much of the time catching up with old friends, not to mention my view was at ice level behind one net. It was hard to get a feel for the improvement areas for this team.
With that being said, I don’t need to see anything but the numbers I am about to give you. We have goalie and defense issues. The numbers are not pretty. There is an overall problem on the defensive end. RIT ranks 58 out of 59 teams in the country in team defense. RIT is giving up 5.20 goals per game, only Sacred Heart is worse. The penalty killing is no better, ranking 57 out of 59 in the country. The RIT Tigers are only killing off 70.4% of these penalties. That is just brutal!
Then we get to the goalies. You have to have a goalie that can make crucial saves at crucial moments in a game. With the exception of the Michigan win, we are not getting those crucial saves. On top of the crucial saves, saves in general is an issue. Josh Watson has a GAA of 4.36 and a save percentage of .865. Jordan Ruby has a GAA of 6.52 and a save percentage of .856. RIT will not win 10 games this year with these numbers. They are so far out of the ballpark or ice rink in this case, that it is hard to believe RIT has even won a game. I have researched the goalie stats for our number one goalie since the team went Division I. Here they are:
Year Goalie GAA Save %
’11-’12 Madalora 1.93 .931
’10-’11 Madalora 1.93 .935
’09-’10 DeMichiel 2.08 .921
’08-’09 DeMichiel 2.7 .905
’07-’08 Menard 2.75 .902
’06-’07 Guimond 2.47 .922
’05-’06 Guimond 3.32 .907
This RIT team needs to make a much larger commitment to defense to help out the goalies. I am not going to lay it all on the goalies, although it seems as if I have done just that. Hockey is a team sport and every player needs to be held accountable in the defensive zone. I suspect that the coaching staff will be all over the defensive issues. I expect a commitment to the defensive zone this weekend against AIC.
RIT has a pair of games against AIC in Springfield, MA this weekend. AIC has had 3 home games this season, with an average attendance of 197. It will be difficult to get up for these games. With that being said, I think RIT will come motivated to play and will stay motivated to play throughout the weekend. I also believe that this is a great opportunity for the goalies to gain some confidence and play well. Traditionally, RIT does not sweep at AIC, even when they are rolling. I am going to go with a gut feeling about this weekend at AIC.
Last Week’s Prediction Record: 1-1 (.500)
This Week’s Prediction:
RIT sweeps at AIC
Season Prediction Record: 1-2 (.333)