Here it is, the ultimate weekend of the year for the RIT men’s hockey team. Blue Cross Arena will once again be the site for the 2010 Atlantic Hockey Association Final Four. This season, the top-seeded Tigers play No. 5 Canisius at 4:05 p.m. Friday in one AHA semifinal. No. 2 Sacred Heart play No. 3 Air Force in the second semifinal at 7:35 p.m. The two semifinal winners meet at BCA on Saturday at 7:05 p.m., with a trip to the NCAA Tournament at stake.
Last night, several Tigers were honored for their individual accomplishments as the AHA conducted its annual awards banquet last night. The final award given out was for the AHA regular season championship. When the Tiger captains were called to receive the award, they did something I had not seen in awhile, which was to not acknowledge or touch the award. This dates back to a few (OK maybe longer like Buffalo in 1999, New Jersey in 2000) years back, when teams in the NHL would not touch their respective conference trophies when bound for the Stanley Cup finals. It was not a sign of disrespect, but the indication that there was a more important trophy to be won (The Stanley Cup). The Tigers are happy to have won the 2010 AHA Regular Season title, but let’s be honest, they want more. They want the AHA Playoff title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
The journey begins this afternoon against a dangerous Canisius team who can be very explosive offensively. The two teams met just three weeks ago, with RIT securing two victories. In a one game elimination, that means nothing now. In addition, the Tigers haven’t exactly flourished at Blue Cross Arena, losing five straight there since defeating Cornell, 4-1 on Oct. 27, 2007, including a heartbreaker in overtime to Mercyhurst in the AHA semifinals last year.
Hopefully, RIT can get over the hump, collect two wins and earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament. It will not be easy, that’s for sure.
Come on out to Blue Cross Arena this weekend, and see if the Tigers can make history.
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