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RIT edges Niagara in OT, 6-5

RIT sophomore defenseman Aiden Hansen-Bukata scored the game-winning goal in overtime to lead the Tigers to a 6-5 win at Niagara on Saturday night.

RIT opened the scoring with 13:00 left in the first after senior forward Nick Bruce took a feed from senior forward Will Calverley and scored on a wrist shot in the slot.

Niagara scored twice in the closing minutes of the first to take a 2-1 lead. Lars Rodne skated through two defenders in the slot for a shot that deflected off Tiger junior goaltender Kolby Matthews’ pads, but Ryan Cox was there to clean up a short rebound inside the left post with 2:01 on the clock. With 54 seconds left, Jason Pineo brought the puck down the left wing into the Tiger zone and fed Shane Ott in the slot for a finish over Matthews’ glove.

Bruce tied the game 1:35 into the second, skating a puck down the left boards and across the front of the crease to stuff a shot inside the right post for his second of the night.

RIT took a 3-2 lead skating 4-on-4 with 13:14 on the clock. Hansen-Bukata sent a long outlet pass down the left wing to freshman forward Carter Wilkie, who skated on goal to beat Niagara goaltender Chad Veltri from close range.

Niagara finished an odd-man break to re-tie the game with 9:55 left in the second, but the Tigers finished the period with two goals to carry a 5-3 lead into the third. Senior forward Jake Hamacher scored on a long cross-ice feed from Calverley at 7:41 before junior forward Caleb Moretz dug a face-off out of a crowd to the right of Veltri and scored from the top of the face-off circle 36 seconds later.

Niagara pulled back within a goal after RIT was whistled for having too many men on the ice in the opening minutes of the third. Walker Sommer crossed a puck to Albin Nilsson for an open finish inside the left post with 17:15 remaining in the period.

Niagara tied the game with 15:47 left in regulation. Chris Harpur shot a puck from the right point that fell down behind Matthews for a short finish by Zac Herrmann.

RIT won the game 49 seconds into overtime after sophomore forward Cody Laskosky sent an outlet pass into the neutral zone to a streaking Hansen-Bukata, who beat the Niagara defense back for a short tip past Veltri and the deciding tally.

RIT’s next game is Friday, January 28 at Bentley. Face off is set for 7:05 p.m.