Tigers face Canisius in semifinal game today at Blue Cross Arena

RIT looking to earn its first berth in the Atlantic Hockey Championship game

Follow Joe Venniro on Twitter
Follow RITNEWS on Twitter

RIT hopes to advance to the Atlantic Hockey Championship game at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at Blue Cross Arena. First, the Tigers need to get past Canisius at 4:05 p.m. today.

The top-seeded RIT men’s hockey team plays the number-five seed Canisius Golden Griffins in an Atlantic Hockey Association semifinal contest at 4:05 p.m. today in Blue Cross Arena.

If RIT wins, the Tigers will play in the Atlantic Hockey Association Championship game against either Sacred Heart or Air Force at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at Blue Cross Arena.

Sacred Heart and Air Force square off in the second semifinal match at 7:35 p.m. Friday at Blue Cross Arena. Air Force has won three straight Atlantic Hockey Association Championships.

Saturday night’s winner earns an automatic berth into the 2010 NCAA Tournament.

The Tigers (24-11-1, 20-5-1 Atlantic Hockey Association) enter today’s game having won eight straight games—outscoring foes 35-12 during the streak. The 24 wins are a Division I team single-season team record.

Last weekend, RIT swept Connecticut in the quarterfinals, winning 4-3 in overtime on Friday and 4-1 on Saturday. Chris Haltigin scored 9:56 into overtime on Friday, while Adam Hartley tallied a goal and an assist on Saturday.

The Tigers are tied for fourth nationally, allowing just 2.17 goals per game. RIT’s offense is ninth in the nation, averaging 3.50 goals per game. Goaltender Jared DeMichiel is among the national leaders in wins (23), goals against average (2.10) and save percentage (.919).

Andrew Favot and Cameron Burt are tied for the team lead in scoring with 38 points apiece. Burt has a team-best 14 goals, while Favot has 26 assists. The Tigers have nine players with at least 20 points this season. Senior defenseman Dan Ringwald has 30 points on 11 goals and 19 assists. It is his third straight season with at least 30 points. He is seventh nationally among all defensemen in scoring.

Canisius (17-14-5, 13-11-4 AHA) was the lone road team to win an Atlantic Hockey quarterfinal series, sweeping Mercyhurst 5-1 on Friday and 5-4 in double overtime on Saturday. Ben Parker scored seven minutes into double overtime on Saturday allowing Canisius to advance. Cory Conacher leads the Golden Griffins and Atlantic Hockey, and is second nationally in scoring with 53 points (20-33-53). Canisius has four players with at least 30 points. Goaltender Dan Morrison earned both wins at Mercyhurst and has played in 26 games this season. He is 12-10-3 with a 3.12 goals against average and .907 save percentage.

RIT was 2-0 against Canisius this season, winning 8-0 and 5-4 Feb. 26-27 at Ritter Arena. RIT leads the all-time series between the two schools 49-14-1. Since the start of the 2005-2006 season, RIT is 10-4-0 against the Golden Griffins. The Tigers are 3-1 against Sacred Heart and 2-2 versus Air Force this season.

Sacred Heart (20-12-4, 16-9-3 AHA) earned the sweep over Holy Cross in its quarterfinal series, 4-0 on Friday and 4-3 in overtime on Saturday. Matt Gingera scored 4:53 into overtime on Saturday, allowing Sacred Heart to advance. Nick Johnson leads the Pioneers, is second in Atlantic Hockey and third nationally in scoring with 52 points (27-25-52). He is tied for the national lead with 27 goals. Dave Jarman leads the team with 35 assists. Canisius has five players with at least 30 points. Goaltender Stevan Legatto earned both wins against Holy Cross and has played in 31 games this season. He is 18-9-3 with a 3.07 goals against average and .908 save percentage.

Air Force (16-14-6, 14-8-6 AHA) swept Army in its quarterfinal series, 3-0 on Friday and 4-2 on Saturday. Jacques Lamoureux scored with 1:25 in regulation on Saturday allowing Air Force to advance. Lamoureux leads the Falcons in scoring with 41 points (21-20-41). He is tied for second in the nation with 13 power-play goals. Derrick Burnett leads the squad with 22 assists. Goaltender Andrew Volkening earned both wins against Army and has played in all 36 games this season. He is 16-14-6 with a 2.46 goals against average and .918 save percentage.

All RIT games can be heard on WITR-FM (89.7). WITR will host a tailgate party beginning at 1 p.m. today, just south of Blue Cross Arena.

Saturday’s championship game will be aired live on Time Warner Cable Sports channel 26.

Ticketsfor this weekend’s games are available at the Gordon Field House and Blue Cross Arena box offices or via ticketmaster.com. The two-day, four-game pass (which includes the Section V Exceptional Senior game at 2 p.m. Saturday) is $32 for adults and $22 for students. Single-day passes are $18 and $12. Ticket prices for children ages 2-12 are $5 per day, or $10 for the weekend pass.

Note: Audio available for this story