ROCHESTER, N.Y. — For the first time in school history, No. 2 RIT finished the regular season undefeated after a 13-5 victory arch rival Nazareth at RIT Field. The win improves the Tigers to 15-0 on the season, the best start in program history. This also extends the program’s longest winning streak to 15 games.
RIT clinches the Empire 8 regular season title and will host Ithaca in the Empire 8 Tournament semifinals on Friday, May 6 at RIT Field. The winner will face the winner between Stevens and Nazareth in the championship game at noon on Sunday, May 8.
RIT held Nazareth to five goals while forcing the Golden Flyers into 21 turnovers. Seniors MJ Kiekebelt and Bob Tonnesen had big days in their final regular-season home game.
Kiekeblet had seven caused turnovers, 12 ground balls and won four face-offs. He also scored a goal. Tonnessen tied a school record for wins in a season picking up his 15th of the year on Saturday with 14 saves.
Iric Bresser and Tyler Russell each had three goals to pace the Tigers offense. Kelso Davis and Jordan Collins-Hartwig each had two goals and Jordan MacIntosh had two assists.
After a slow start to the first quarter, Bressler got RIT on the board at the 11:55 mark with his first of three goals on the day.
Junior midfielder Ryan Speciale gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead at 9:54 of the first quarter on an unassisted goal. It would be a lead RIT would keep.
RIT opened the second quarter with consecutive goals :26 seconds apart building up a 4-1 lead. Russell scored on an assist from Ian Dominick 17 seconds into the quarter, then Kiekebelt won the ensuing face-off and scored 26 seconds later to give the Tigers a three-goal lead.
After a Scott Castle goal cut the lead to 4-2, Russell scored his second goal of the quarter to give the Tigers a 5-2 lead.
Brian Wright scored with 2:59 to play in the half for the Golden Flyers cutting RITs lead to 5-3.
RIT scored three consecutive goals to open the second half and a build the lead to five goals. Collins-Hartwig, Bressler and Davis each scored for the Tigers.