The red-hot RIT Tigers men’s hockey team plays its final road contests of the 2009 calendar year, traveling to Worcester, Mass., to face the Holy Cross Crusaders at 7:05 tonight and Saturday night in a pair of Atlantic Hockey contests.
RIT (8-5-0, 8-2-0 AHA) is the nation’s hottest team, having won eight straight games. The Tigers, who hold a one-point lead in the Atlantic Hockey standings, will look to expand its lead this weekend.
Two weekends ago, the Tigers swept Sacred Heart by scores of 3-2 and 5-3. Tyler Brenner, who had missed the previous seven games due to injury, scored a pair of goals in the weekend sweep. Goaltenders Jared DeMichiel and Shane Madolora each picked wins in net. Madolora’s win was the first of his collegiate career. DeMichiel has a 1.32 goals against average and .947 save percentage over his past seven games.
The Tigers boast the three highest goal-scoring defensemen in the nation in Alan Mazur, Dan Ringwald and Chris Tanev. Mazur has six goals to lead the nation, while Ringwald and Tanev have five tallies each. Junior forward Andrew Favot leads the team with 18 points.
Holy Cross (4-8-2, 4-5-2 AHA) comes into this weekend’s contests after going 1-1-0 last week. The Crusaders blanked Connecticut on Nov. 24 and fell to number 11 Yale, 7-3, on Saturday. Junior Everett Sheen was named the Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week after recording three goals and an assist in the two contests. He leads Holy Cross in scoring with 12 points in 14 games. Freshman Thomas Tysowsky has seen the bulk of the action in net this season and is 4-6-2 with a 2.38 goals against average, and .906 save percentage.
The Crusaders are tied for fifth in conference standings with 10 points, six behind RIT.
RIT is 16-6-0 all-time against the Crusaders and 12-1-0 since moving to Division I in 2005. Last season, RIT was 6-1-0 against the Holy Cross, outscoring them 37-18 in the seven games.
The Tigers defeated Holy Cross in the conference quarterfinals in both 2008 and 2009. Last season, the Crusaders took game one of the three-game playoff series, but RIT responded to win games two and three, 6-4 and 9-5. The Tigers have won four straight meetings at Holy Cross over the past two seasons, outscoring the Crusaders 19-4 in those contests, including 6-0 and 3-1 last season.