The RIT Men’s hockey team came up short on Friday night at the Gene Polisseni Center, as they fell in overtime to the Canisius Golden Griffins by a score of 5-4.
Head coach Wayne Wilson elected to go with freshman, Ian Andriano, between the pipes in an attempt to give his team a boost. For Andriano, it would be the fourth appearance of his rookie season. However, this was the first time he was named the starter in his young collegiate career.
“I found out yesterday before practice,” Andriano said. “I was pretty excited. I think I’ve got into three games prior to this one, coming in for relief. I think I got better each time and got more used to the way the game is at this level.”
The native of Barrie, Ontario faced 32 shots overall, making 27 saves in the process. Although Andriano was unable to help lead his team to victory, Wilson had plenty of positives to say about his first-year goaltender.
“I thought he played well,” Wilson said. “The scoreboard may not indicate that, but I thought we didn’t do a good job of handling the offensive rushes. In the neutral zone we were very loose, and gave up some opportunities. That’s something we have to fix for tomorrow. But I thought (Andriano) played well.”
The scoring started at the 7:17 mark of the first period when Dylan McLaughlin made a great individual effort to beat Andriano. The play started with McLaughlin finessing his way around defenseman Adam Brubacher, followed by a little hesitation to leave Andriano in a difficult position to make the save. Sure enough, McLaughlin was able to deposit the puck into the back of the net, along the ice on the far corner.
“Not really,” Andriano said when asked if playing first place Canisius would add any nerves to his first career start. “You try not to look into who you’re playing too much. I just wanted to think about what I can control. You know that they have a lot of skill guys, but I don’t think it changed much for me. I was just excited to get out there and compete. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t come out with the win.”
The Tigers responded just after the midway point of the opening period. Jordan Peacock set up Mark Logan for an easy re-direction right in front of the net, which tied the game at one.
The Golden Griffins would not settle for going into the intermission without the lead, though. It was McLaughlin who tallied his second of the evening and the go-ahead goal with under five minutes remaining.
“We didn’t have an answer for McLaughlin,” Wilson said. “I thought he was outstanding tonight. He was dominant every single shift he was out there, and everything he touched, he just owned the game.”
After a scoreless second period, the dominos began to fall in what turned out to be a hectic third period.
Nolan Sheeran added to the Griffins’ lead, picking up his first goal of the season and 22nd career point.
Less than 30 seconds later at the other end of the rink, Erik Brown deflected a shot from the blue line that got the best of Canisius goaltender Daniel Urbani. Seventeen seconds after that, Shawn Cameron tied the game for the Tigers with a shot from a bad angle that found it’s way to the upper reaches of the net.
Canisius would re-gain the lead after Jeff Murray one-timed a shot from the high slot, as Andriano had no chance.
RIT would not go down without a fight.
With less than three minutes to go in regulation, defenseman Adam Brubacher snapped a shot from the point that beat Urbani and once again evened things up. It was the sixth goal and 15th point of the 2017-18 season for the sophomore.
Overtime was needed to settle this back and forth battle between the two Atlantic Hockey rivals. Just 22 seconds into the extra period, Ryan Schmelzer tapped in a pass directly in front of the net that came from McLaughlin. The assist was the fourth point of the evening for McLaughlin, as the Golden Griffins sealed the deal.
“We’ll take a look at things,” Wilson said when asked if there will be any changes for the rematch. “We may tinker a little bit, but there’s going to be no major changes. We just have to find our way out of this.”
Tomorrow’s game is scheduled for a 7:05 p.m. face-off from the Gene Polisseni Center. It will be the 37th matchup between the two programs since RIT moved to Division I in 2005. The Tigers are leading that series with a record of 21-15-1.
Photo Credit – Kelsie Redburn RIT Athletic Communications