Wow! Anyone who was in attendance at the Blue Cross Arena to see the men’s hockey team defeat Cornell 4-1 on Saturday night saw perhaps the best overall performance by the Tigers since their move to Division I in 2005. That was the sharpest performance I’ve seen, especially defensively in the two-plus seasons of DI hockey here at RIT.
The crowd of 5,142 fans is the largest ever “home” crowd for RIT and the largest crowd the men have played in front of. I do not think that record will last long, however, because when the Tigers play at the University of Minnesota after Christmas, Mariucci Arena is expected to draw more than 8,000 fans.
Head Coach Wayne Wilson said in his post-game press conference that the large crowd seemed to give the game more of a playoff-type atmosphere. I agreed wholeheartedly. I have seen several Rochester Americans playoff games with big crowds at the Blue Cross Arena and let me tell you, I was more nervous watching that first period, than I was watching a hockey game in quite some time. It did have a playoff feel to it. Hopefully, the men return in March for the Atlantic Hockey Tournament and duplicate their effort from Saturday night.
Click here for video of all four RIT goals and other highlights from the game.
The Tigers open up Atlantic Hockey play this weekend and will look to keep the momentum going with a home-and-home series against Canisius. Friday’s game is at the Ritter Arena, while Saturday’s is in Buffalo.
Unfortnately, both the men’s (9-7-2) and women’s soccer (9-6-2) teams did not make the Empire 8 Tournament. Women’s soccer player Alyssa Barnes earned a RIT honor. All six of the women’s losses this season came against either regional or nationally-ranked opponents. Three men’s soccer players earned All-Empire 8 honors.
Volleyball (30-9) is the #2 seed in this weekend’s Empire 8 Tournament at Stevens. A tournament win will guarantee a spot in the 2007 NCAA Division III Tournament. A win in the opening game against Nazareth and a good outing in the championship match might get the Tigers an at-large bid.
Jessica Schaffer has a chance to accomplish a first in the history of the volleyball program, recording 600 kills and 600 digs in the same season She needs just 12 digs for 600 on the year. She already has 612 kills.
Women’s Hockey opens its regular season and move to the ECAC West conference with a pair of home games against SUNY Oswego. Four different players scored for the Tigers in an exhibition win on Saturday at the Ritter Arena.
I would like to take the time to congratulate everyone involved with the behind the scenes work of putting together Saturday’s game at the Blue Cross Arena. Everything involved with the contest was a major success and hopefully guaranteed us a game there for a few years to come.