The red-hot RIT Tigers men’s hockey team plays its final contest of the 2009 calendar year, hosting non-conference rival Niagara University at 7:05 p.m. Saturday in what is anticipated to be a sellout crowd at Ritter Arena.
RIT (9-5-1, 9-2-1 AHA), riding a 10-game unbeaten streak, is the nation’s hottest team in the Atlantic Hockey Association. The Tigers, who have allowed only 15 goals during their unbeaten streak, come off a 1-0-1 weekend at Holy Cross. On Friday, the Tigers skated to a 1-1 tie and on Saturday Cameron Burt scored with 47 seconds left in overtime to lift RIT to a dramatic, 3-2 win.
Goaltender Jared DeMichiel made 56 saves on 59 shots over the weekend. He has a 1.37 goals-against average and .951 save percentage during RIT’s unbeaten streak—going 8-0-1 in that span.
RIT boasts the ninth best defense in Division I, allowing just 2.27 goals this season. The Tigers have outscored their foes 38-15 over the past 10 games and have five players with at least 10 points this season.
Niagara (2-10-2) comes to RIT after hosting Robert Morris on Friday. Last weekend, the Purple Eagles dropped a pair of games at number four Bemidji State University, 8-2, and 3-2. In net, junior Adam Avramenko has played in nine games and has a 2-3-2 record with a 3.28 goals against average and .898 save percentage.
Next season, Niagara and Robert Morris will join the Atlantic Hockey Association.
Purple Eagles Head Coach Dave Burkholder led RIT to the 1983 NCAA Division II Championship as a goaltender. He is among the RIT all-time leaders in several goaltending categories, including most shutouts (12). Burkholder recorded 83 wins, a 2.965 goals against average and an .894 save percentage from 1980-1984.
Niagara leads the all-time series between the two schools 5-2-3 and is 3-0-1 against RIT since 2005. Last season, the Purple Eagles handed RIT its worst loss of the year, 6-2 at Dwyer Arena on Nov. 7. The last time the two teams met at RIT, on Feb. 16, 2008, Brennan Sarazin scored with 1:04 left in regulation to lift the Tigers to a 3-3 tie in front of a sellout crowd.
Tickets for this weekend’s games are available at the Gordon Field House and Activities Center Box Office, by phone at 585-475-4121 and via ticketmaster.com. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for RIT faculty, staff and alumni, and $5 for students with ID. Reserved seats, in section 100 and 101, are $12 for adults, $10 for RIT faculty, staff and alumni, and $7 for students.
The game will be aired live on Time Warner Cable Sports channel 26, with Gene Battaglia and John Ditullio calling the action. It can also be heard on WITR-FM (89.7).
WITR will host a tailgate party prior to the game, 4–6 p.m., in D Lot.