RIT blows past Concordia-Moorhead
McCrea scores hat-trick as Tigers match record for wins
ROCHESTER, NY -- No. 1 RIT (26-1-1) advanced to the semifinals for the second consecutive season, scoring three third period goals to break a 2-2 tie and defeat No. 9 Concordia-Moorhead (15-6-5) 5-2 at Ritter Arena in an NCAA quarterfinal contest on Saturday afternoon. The Tigers match a program record for most wins in a season.
Sophomore forward Kolbee McCrea scored the hat-trick and added an assist for the Tigers, who out-shot Concordia, 35-13. Tenecia Hiller added a goal and two assists, while Marissa Maugeri also scored.
RIT goaltender Laura Chamberlain rebounded from a shaky beginning to stop 11 shots for her 15th victory of the season.
Breann Julius scored a goal and added an assist for the Cobbers, who made their first NCAA Tournament Appearance. Kelsey Vandegrift also scored, while goaltender Rebecca Hendrickson made 30 saves in defeat.
RIT was 1-for-6 with the man-advantage, while Concordia was 1-for-3.
RIT head coach Scott McDonald is excited to be back in the national semifinals.
“I am very happy to be back having a chance to win it all,” said McDonald, who is now 133-22-10 in six seasons at RIT. “We were able to settle down after getting behind and wear Concordia down in the third period. Concordia is a physical team and I thought we did a good job staying out of the penalty box.”
Tied at 2-2 heading into the third period, McCrea gave RIT the lead for good at the 4:31 mark, one-timing a pass from Kourtney Kunichika in the slot past Hendrickson on the power-play. Ariane Yokyama fired a pass from the right point to Kim Schlattman, around the net to Kunichika, who circled and found McCrea all alone in front.
Hiller took a nice feed from McCrea at the side of the net and slammed home her 14th goal of the year with 8:37 left. In similar fashion to the previous goal, Lindsay Grigg (Oakville, Ontario) fired the puck around the net from the right side to McCrea behind the net. McCrea found Hiller wide open in front for the goal.
McCrea completed the hat-trick 2:21 later, scoring from in close after good work by Morgan Scoyne and Hiller. The goal was McCrea’s 24th of the season.
Concordia Head Coach Brett Bruininks thought his team played well despite the loss.
“We were able to play a physical game today, but RIT is so talented offensively,” said Bruininks, now in his second season at Concordia. “You can see why they are the No. 1 team in the country with the talent they have.”
Concordia scored on both of its shots in the first period, and despite getting out-shot 10-2, stymied the Tigers for a good chunk of the frame.
Just 1:27 into the game, Maugeri scored on her first shot, a harmless fluttering dump in from just outside the blue line that snuck between the arm and body of Hendrickson for her fourth goal of the season. Emilee Bulleid (Waterdown, Ontario) fed Maugeri after creating a turnover in the neutral zone.
At the 12:21 mark, Julius stunned the Ritter Arena faithful, firing a shot from a bad angle on the right wing past Chamberlain on the short side for her team-best 21st goal of the season. It was Concordia’s first shot of the game.
Just 1:18 later, the Cobbers struck again, this time on the power-play, as Vandegrift redirected a point shot from Julius through the legs of Chamberlain to take a 2-1 lead. Ali Nelson fed Julius at the left point who fired the hard shot that went off Vandegrift and in.
The Tigers held the territorial play for most of the second period and were able to tie the game at 2-2 after 40 minutes of play.
McCrea tied the game at the 2:01 mark of the period tallying her team best 22nd goal of the season. She made a great play at the Concordia blue line, sprawling to keep the puck in the zone. Hiller grabbed the loose puck and went to the backhand in the slot and fired a cross-ice pass to McCrea who crashed the net and tucked the puck past Hendricks.
RIT kept the pressure up and had 48 seconds of a 5-on-3, but Hendricks and the Concordia defense were able to keep the puck out. Hendricks made a big pad save on Kristina Moss (Webster, NY), then stuffed McCrea with a big save in tight.
Today’s game was the first meeting between the two schools. RIT is now 3-2 all-time in NCAA Tournament competition in three trips. Last season, RIT advanced to the NCAA Championship game, defeating Adrian in the quarterfinals, 10-1, Middlebury in the semifinals, 5-2, before losing to Amherst in the championship game, 5-2.
RIT is now 52-3-3 over the last two seasons and has won 12 straight games.
Concordia finished with a 15-6-5 record. This was their first NCAA Tournament Appearance.
Defending national champion Norwich defeated Amherst 5-0 in one quarterfinal and will face Gustavus Adolphus, who defeated Wisconsin-River Falls, 4-2.