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AHA Championship weekend is here; Tigers attempt to make NCAA’s for first time in Division I Sports

Hope everyone had a fun St. Patrick’s Day and enjoyed some corned beef and cabbage. This weekend, the RIT men’s hockey team will attempt to win its first Atlantic Hockey Championship in front of what will hopefully be a large and rowdy crowd at Blue Cross Arena. Show your school spirit and turn the Blue Cross Arena into a sea of orange.

On Friday, RIT, seeded second, hosts No. 3 Mercyhurst in the second semifinal at 7:35 p.m. Air Force, the top-seed, plays No. 4 Bentley in the first semifinal at 4:05 p.m. Earlier in the year, RIT swept Mercyhurst in a weekend series at Ritter Arena, 6-2 and 5-3. RIT and Mercyhurst are two of the hottest teams in the nation, as RIT is 18-3-1 in its last 22 games and Mercyhurst is 14-2-1 in its last 17 contests. In addition, Mercyhurst is the highest scoring team in the nation, while RIT is right behind in third.

All four higher seeded teams won ther best-of-three quarterfinal rounds last weekend, although for RIT, Bentley and Air Force it was not easy, as each team was extended to three games. Mercyhurst was the lone team to win its series in two games.

I am also thrilled we do not have to see Holy Cross again this season. The Crusaders played an unbelievably pesky series. Every time RIT seemed to be in control, Holy Cross would come right back and take play right to the Tigers. That was definitely not the same Holy Cross team that was here early in the season or the team that RIT handled with ease just one month ago. At several times throughout, including Sunday night, the Crusaders were the better team.

If RIT plays the way they did at times against Holy Cross against Mercyhurst on Friday, they could be in trouble.

Anyone notice the difference in play from last weekend compared to a month or two ago? Hits seemed that much harder, intensity was through the roof and at times players were allowed to do whatever they wanted to each other. Welcome to playoff hockey.

The two-day, four-game pass (which includes the Monroe County Section V Exceptional High School Senior game on Saturday at 2 p.m.) is $32 for adults and $22 for students. Single-day passes are $18 and $12.

In addition, junior Caitlyn Burr takes three stabs at becoming an All-American this weekend at the 2009 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. She will compete in the 200-yard individual medley on Wednesday, 100-yard butterfly on Thursday and 200-yard butterfly on Friday. The preliminaries take place each day at 11 a.m. EST, while the finals get underway at 6:30 p.m. EST. Burr has the sixth fastest time in the nation this season in the 200-yard individual medley, ninth fastest in the 200-yard butterfly and 12th fastest time in the 100-fly.


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