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The RIT Men’s Hockey team has earned a share of the Atlantic Hockey Association regular season conference championship, their second title in three years in the league. The Tigers went 20-6-2 in conference play, the exact same record as conference rival Air Force. The two teams split the season series each going 2-2 in head to head matchups.
This weekend marks the start of the conference tournament; RIT will host Holy Cross at the Ritter. Tournament seeds went to several tiebreakers that determined who would be the number one seed for conference tournament action. Air Force gained the number one seed because of the 3rd tiebreaker which is goals against in conference play. Air Force had 61 goals against, compared to 73 for RIT. The result of this tiebreaker will affect the semi-final matchup for RIT; meaning that they will play a higher seed than Air Force in the semi-final. RIT will have to beat Holy Cross in a best two out of three series this weekend to get to the semi-final. Most likely, Mercyhurst will be the semi-final opponent, and if all goes as planned, a rubber match with Air Force in the final, for an NCAA tournament berth.
That being said, anything can happen in a hockey tournament. Generally, the team with the hot goalie and the most desire to win will take the crown! Any team can beat any team on any given night in hockey! The most prevalent example of this would be the 1980 Team
My point is this; if RIT does not come to play this weekend against Holy Cross they will lose! Even to a Holy Cross team that has never beat RIT at the Division 1 level. To be honest, that little stat scares me! Holy Cross is going to be ready to play; they are going to come out guns blazing this weekend. I know that Coach Wilson is going to do everything possible to have the guys ready to go because I am sure this is a concern for him and his staff as well. This RIT team is hungry though and has had such great improvements over the course of the season, I am confident they will handle Holy Cross.
Tickets are almost sold out for this weekend so get them now if you are planning on coming out to support the team. Puck drops at 7:05 on Friday and Saturday night at the Ritter Arena, we do not plan on having to play on Sunday!
An nhl.com article is to follow for additional information about the RIT Tigers season: http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=413360.