Feb. 28, 2009

Courtesy of RITAthletics.com

ROCHESTER, NY - The RIT men's hockey team (21-10-2, 20-5-2 Atlantic Hockey Association) moved back into first place in the Atlantic Hockey Association after defeating Air Force Academy (22-9-2, 19-6-2 Atlantic Hockey Association) 6-4 before a sell-out crowd at Ritter Arena on Friday evening. RIT ties a Division I team record with its 21st win and are 16-1-1 over the last 18 games.

Andrew Favot (King City, Ontario) scored the game-winning goal with 3.5 seconds left in the second period to break a 4-4 tie. That goal capped off a wild second period that included 33 total shots and seven goals. Both teams scored three consecutive goals in the period. RIT squandered a 4-1 second period lead.

Brennan Sarazin (Nepean, Ontario) put the game away with an insurance goal with 10:34 left in the third period. He finished with a goal and an assist.

RIT leads Air Force by two points with one game to play. The Falcons can still win the conference title with a win on Saturday.

The six goals allowed by Air Force was a season-high. RIT out-shot the Falcons, 40-33. Air Force was 2-for-8 with the man-advantage, while RIT was 2-for-4.

RIT has now scored 27 power-play goals over its last 15 games. The Tigers have now scored 55 goals over their last 10 home games and have 72 goals in 14 total home contests this season.

Anton Kharin (Moscow, Russia) scored two goals for RIT. Favot, Sarazin, Matt Crowell (Kelowna, British Columbia) each had a goal and an assist, while Cameron Burt (Detroit, MI) dished out two assists.

Jared DeMichiel (Avon, CT) stopped 29 shots to earn his 13th win of the year. Andrew Volkening, who has played every minute in net for Air Force this season, stopped 34 shots in defeat.

RIT Head Coach Wayne Wilson, was thrilled with the big win, despite losing a three-goal lead.

"At 4-1, I am thinking this is good," said Wilson. "4-4 is not so good. The second intermission came at the right time. We had more control and settled down in the third period. We don't want to share the title, but we are 16-1-1 over the last 18 games, so I can't ask for anything more.

Both teams scored once in a highly entertaining, evenly played first period. Both teams fired 12 shots on goal.

RIT came out flying, firing the first five shots of the contest. Air Force came right back and carried play for spurts as well. The Falcons also had a goal disallowed early on due to a man in the crease. Air Force scored first, 14:32 into the game, as Paul Weisgarber gobbled up a rebound in front of the RIT net and beat DeMichiel. Sean Bertsch won the face-off back to Greg Flynn, whose slap-shot from the point was not handled well by DeMichiel. Weisgarber skated through the front of the net and scooped up the rebound.

Crowell tied the game for RIT 1:50 later on a nifty three-way passing play, while enjoying the man-advantage. Chris Haltigin (Oakville, Ontario) held the puck in the zone and found Favot who then fed a quick pass to Newman at the side of the net. Newman then one-timed a pass across the crease to Crowell, who buried his 16th goal of the year.

The second period was as wild a 20 minutes of play that would be played all season, with RIT out-scoring Air Force, 4-3 to hold a 5-4. Both teams scored three unanswered goals in the period, with RIT scoring with just 3.5 seconds left in the frame to re-take the lead.

RIT scored three times in the first 7:25 to take a 4-1 lead.

Kharin scored his first of two goals, shorthanded, with 2:30 gone in the period to give RIT the lead. Sarazin pick-pocketed a Falcons defenseman, then went around him and fed a wide open Kharin, who ripped a shot off the right post and off Volkening and in.

Tyler Brenner (Linwood, Ontario) ripped a low shot short-side on Volkening from the left face-off circle after Burt won the draw cleanly. Brenner's 11th goal of the year put RIT up 3-1.

Kharin scored his second goal of the frame at the 7:25 mark of the period, ripping a long shot on the rush past Volkening for his eighth goal of the year.

Air Force would not quit however, scoring three unanswered goals to stun the sellout crowd.

Lamoureux made it 4-2 on the power-play, sliding a tough angle shot off a rebound past DeMichiel for his 27th goal of the year. Matt Fairchild made it 4-3 at the 13:41 mark, redirecting a rebound off the back boards home.

With just 1:04 left in the period, and Air Force enjoying a 6-on-4 power-play due to a delayed call on RIT, Lamoureux, the nation's leading goal scorer, pounded home a rebound in close to tie the game at 4.

Favot got the big-game winner just a minute later, showing great determination. He kept the puck in the zone and went around a defenseman. He then found Haltigin at the point, who ripped a hard shot that Volkening stopped. The rebound came to Favot in front, as he beat his man and backhanded a shot past the goaltender for his ninth goal of the year.

RIT leads the all-time series between the two teams, 10-9-2. It is the 16th meeting between the two schools since RIT moved to Division I in 2005. The two teams are 7-7-2 against each other since then. It is the eighth meeting in the last 15 months.

The same two teams conclude the regular season on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. The game is already nearing a sell out.