Senior captain Simon Lambert (St. Therese, Quebec) scored a goal and added two assists, while sophomore netminder Louie Menard (Chicoutimi, Quebec) stopped 22 shots to lead the the RIT men’s hockey team to its biggest win since moving to Division I, 4-1 over #18 Cornell University in front of a raucous crowd of 5,142 at the Blue Cross Arena on Saturday.
The crowd of 5,142 is an all-time RIT record.
With RIT clinging to a 2-1 lead late in the third period, Riley Nash came flying in for the Big Red on a 2-on-1. His shot whistled just wide of the net and the puck caromed to Brennan Sarazin (Nepean, Ontario), who chipped a long pass to Lambert. Lambert came in on a partial breakaway, moved to his right and slid the puck between the legs of Cornell netminder Ben Scrivens for a 3-1 lead.
Freshman Tyler Mazzei (Kelowna, British Columbia) salted the game away with an empty-netter with 30 seconds left for the Tigers. The goal was Mazzei’s first of his collegiate career.
RIT Head Coach Wayne Wilson was ecstatic with his team’s effort and intensity.
“I thought defensively, we really limited their quality chances for the first two periods,” says Wilson. “We went down and blocked shots when they were there.”
The Tigers out-shot Cornell 27-23 in the contest. RIT killed off six consecutive Cornell power-plays over the second and third period en route to stopping all seven-man advantages the Big Red had on the evening.
RIT came out buzzing in the first period, scoring two power-play goals to take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
Senior forward Matt Smith (Toronto) got the Tigers on the board first, ripping a shot from the right half-boards over the shoulder of Scrivens at the 14:15 mark of the first period. Lambert dug the puck out of a scrum and fed Smith for the tally.
Freshman Sean Murphy (Owatonna, Minn.) gave RIT a two-goal lead just 2:03 later, while the Tigers were on a five-minute man-advantage. Matt Crowell (Kelowna, British Columbia) had his shot blocked. The carom came right to Murphy, who deked around a defenseman and whistled a shot from point-blank range into the left corner of the cage for his second tally of the season.
RIT out shot Cornell 15-6 over the first 20 minutes of play, partially buoyed by over 10 minutes of power-play time.
RIT was on the defensive in the second period, as they were forced to kill off four Cornell power-plays. Both teams had a handful of good chances in the period, but the score remained 2-0 Tigers heading into the third period.
The Tigers held a 22-11 shot advantage after 20 minutes of play.
Cornell’s lone goal came midway through the third period, when Joe Devin put back his own rebound off Menard from behind the net. That goal cut the Tiger lead to 2-1.
The win was RIT’s second over a ranked team since the Tigers moved to Division I in 2005. RIT defeated #18 St. Lawrence 3-2 on Oct. 28, 2005.
The crowd at Blue Cross Arena made a difference, according to Wilson.
“The building heightened us,” says Wilson. “It made it a playoff-type game. We wanted to make this our rink.”
This is third meeting between the two clubs in the past three seasons. Cornell defeated RIT 3-1 on Jan. 7, 2006, and 5-3 on Oct. 28, 2006. Both contests were played at Lynah Rink.
RIT is back in action on Friday, as it hosts Canisius at the Ritter Arena. Game time is at 7:05 p.m.
For more, including game stats, visit RIT Athletics.
For a behind-the-scenes recap, including video coverage, and a weekly sports roundup, visit Wide World of Tiger Sports.