We have arrived. This weekend, the Tigers can advance to the NCAA Division I Tournament if they win twice at the Atlantic Hockey Final Five at Blue Cross Arena This weekend. When the Tigers defeated Cornell at the BCA on October 27, there were 5,124 fans in attendance. Hopefully, we can exceed that total and get closer to 7,500.
It should be a tremendous weekend of hockey, with the five teams remaining in the tournament separated by just eight points during the season.
If you were at the Ritter this past weekend (braving the elements, of course), what a pair of games that was. If you were not convinced before that playoff hockey is the best game around, I think you are now. The two 5-4 overtime wins over Holy Cross (last Friday and Saturday) had a little bit of everything, and for senior forward Matt Smith, the hockey weekend of his life. Smith had back-to-back hat-tricks, becoming the first RIT player since moving to DI to record a hat-trick (a span of 114 games). He was named the Atlantic Hockey, Inside College Hockey and RACA Player of the Week for his efforts.
#2 RIT (19-11-6) will play #3 Air Force (19-11-6) in the second semifinal on Saturday at 7:35 p.m. Both teams are riding seven game unbeaten streaks. This with be the fifth meeting of the season between the two schools and 13th since the start of the 2005 season. RIT and Air Force went 2-2 against each other during the season. They are 5-5-2 against each other since the start of the 2005 season.
Unfortunately for the RIT women’s hockey team (19-7-0), they were the first team left out of the NCAA Tournament after losing to Elmira on Saturday in the ECAC West playoffs. It was perhaps the worst-case weekend for the Tigers, as Elmira ended up beating SUNY Plattsburgh for the ECAC West title, while Amherst earned an auto-bid by winning the NESCAC Tournament. RIT was ahead of both teams heading into the weekend.
LaKeisha Perez broke her own 55-meter hurdle record for what seems like the fourth time this year, leading the Tigers at the ECAC Championships. She will compete at the NCAA Championships this weekend. On the men’s side, the distance medley relay team of Mike Hardbarger, Andrew Varble, Ryan Warner and Marc O’Donnell broke the school record at the ECAC’s and are headed to the NCAA Tournament this weekend as well.
The RIT men’s lacrosse team did not fare so well last week, losing a pair of games and falling out of the national rankings.
Baseball had a solid week in South Carolina, finishing 3-3. They may actually get two games in up North this weekend in Wilkes Barre, Pa. against Wilkes University. Freshman pitcher Mike Marsillo was named the Empire 8 Pitcher of the Week.
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