RIT and Air Force battle for first place this weekend at Ritter Arena
Renewed rivalry will decide Atlantic Hockey regular-season title; senior players to be honored Saturday
Feb. 25, 2009
by Joe Venniro
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The RIT Tigers men’s hockey team hosts the Air Force Falcons at 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 27–28, at Ritter Arena, in the final two regular-season home contests of the season. The games will determine the 2008-2009 Atlantic Hockey Regular Season Champion, as both teams are tied for first place with 40 points and identical 19-5-2 records in league play.
RIT (20-10-2, 19-5-2 AHA) is riding a five-game unbeaten streak and has a 15-1-1 mark over the last 17 games. Last weekend, RIT defeated Army 3-2 on Friday, while the two teams skated to a 1-1 draw on Saturday. Jesse Newman scored the game-winning goal for RIT on Friday, while goaltender Louis Menard stopped 25 shots on Saturday. Menard is now 33-7-7 all-time in conference play.
RIT is 10-3-0 at home in 2008-2009 and has outscored its opponents 66-42 in those contests, averaging 5.1 goals per game. RIT has scored 25 power-play goals over its last 14 games and is fifth in the nation in power-play efficiency.
Air Force (22-8-2, 19-5-2 AHA) has won five of its last six games after sweeping Holy Cross last weekend. Forward Jacques Lamoureux leads the nation in goals (26), power-play goals (12) and game-winning goals (7), and he is second with 44 points. Brent Olson leads the squad with 27 assists. The Falcons have five players with at least 30 points. Goaltender Andrew Volkening has played every minute in net this season and has a 22-8-2 mark, 1.99 goals against average and .918 save percentage.
RIT started its streak with a 3-2 overtime win over Air Force on Dec. 6. Air Force defeated RIT 2-0 the night before. The all-time series between the two teams is even at 9-9-2. This will be the 16th and 17th match-ups between the two schools in the last four seasons. Air Force is 7-6-2 over that stretch. It is a battle of two of the highest scoring teams in Division I, as both teams are tied for second in scoring, averaging 3.72 goals (119 in 32 games).
The Tigers will honor its senior class before Saturday's contest.
Tickets for this weekend’s games are available at the Gordon Field House and Activities Center Box Office or by phone at (585) 475-4121. Fans can also purchase tickets via ticketmaster.com. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for RIT faculty, staff and alumni and $5 for students with ID.
Saturday’s game will be aired live on Time Warner Cable Sports channel 26, while Friday’s game will be shown on tape delay. Gene Battaglia and John Ditullio will bring you the action.