RIT senior defenseman Dan Willett (Bayville, N.Y.) and senior forward Jake Hamacher (Corona, Calif.) each notched a goal and an assist, but it was host Canisius earning the 6-2 victory in Atlantic Hockey Tournament Quarterfinal action, Saturday, at the LECOM Harbor Center.
Canisius swept the best-of-three series, 2-0, after also taking Friday night’s opener, 5-2. The Golden Griffins advance to next Friday’s tournament semifinal to take on top-seeded and host AIC.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Canisius opened the scoring 2:50 into regulation after freshman forward Max Kouznetsov finished a right wing rush.
RIT got on the board with 9:14 left in the period following a Canisius slashing penalty. Willett slipped pass from the point to sophomore forward Elijah Gonsalves (Scarborough, Ontario) on the left boards, who sent a cross through to Hamacher outside the right post for a short finish.
The Tigers made the Golden Griffins pay for a tripping penalty four minutes later after Willett blasted home a one-timer from the point off a Gonsalves pass with 5:09 on the clock.
Canisius re-took the lead with a pair of goals in the second period. Sophomore forward Keaton Mastrodonato finished a right-wing rush off a failed Tiger clear with 16:21 on the clock before senior forward Grant Meyer scored a power play goal with 5:51 on the clock after RIT was saddled with a goaltender interference penalty 45 seconds earlier.
Canisius put the game away in the final five minutes of regulation, starting with a short-handed penalty with 4:49 on the clock, before tacking on a pair of empty-net tallies in the last three minutes.
RIT finished the game with a 31-25 shot advantage while senior goalie Logan Drackett (Calgary, Alberta) totaled 19 saves in the loss.
Willett’s two point night gave him 70 career points (9 goals, 61 assists).
RIT is now 29-18 in 13 Atlantic Hockey Tournament appearances. The Tigers are 16-7 in the quarterfinals, including a 6-5 mark on the road.
RIT had beaten Canisius in its two previous Atlantic Hockey Tournament meetings, earned semifinal victories in 2010 (4-0) and 2015 (2-1) during its first two championship runs.
Playing in East and West pods for the first time in Atlantic Hockey Tournament history due to the COV)D-19 pandemic, RIT and Canisius were the third and second seeds in the West, respectively.