|Fourth year Biomedical Sciences major Chris Haltigin brings the team's second place trophy to the bench after accepting it at the post-game ceremony Saturday, March 17.
On Saturday, March 17, Men’s Hockey Head Coach Wayne Wilson
summed up his team’s performance at a post-game press conference in
Blue Cross Arena: “We didn’t get the goals we needed. It wasn’t a lack
of effort.” Understandably, the 4-0 championship loss to the numberone
seeded Air Force Falcons was frustrating, especially considering the
Tigers’ 1-0 championship loss to the Falcons last season.
While a simultaneous game was being held for the women at Ritter
Arena, the men fought hard but struggled to find their groove. In the
opening period, The Tigers and Falcons spent the first 15 minutes of the
fast-paced match in a stalemate, until the first RIT penalty kill. Third year
Business Management major Shane Madolora briefly lost sight of the
puck behind the net. It bounced off the back wall, and Falcons’ first year
Cole Gunner made a tight loop around the post and scored a power-play
goal at 15:15. The Tigers hoped to answer with a goal of their own, but
never got the chance: At 16:25, Falcons third year John Kruse wove his
way through the Tigers’ defense and scored. Reflecting on his players’
performance, Coach Wilson said, “Actually, not a bad first period. If you
take away the score, I thought we played a pretty even first.” Shots on
goal were 10-10 in the first.
In the second period, RIT seemed to take every opportunity for a
goal: They dominated possession and took 15 shots on goal. So much
for that; Falcons’ sophomore Jason Fabian scored off of a rebound at
9:23. “I thought we created a lot of chances in the second. I think we held
them to maybe two flurries, but again they scored, another goal,” said
Coach Wilson. “At 3-0, now it’s an uphill battle against a very good team.”
In the final period, second year Business Management major Adam
Mitchell received a game misconduct penalty which took him out of
the game. Fans were somewhat consoled by positive updates from the
women’s game at Ritter, but the situation at Blue Cross was bleak. Despite
the disproportionate score, the two teams went all-out until the very
end, and Madolora was pulled out for the last two minutes of the game
to give the Tigers a man advantage. The Tigers sustained this until the
final seven seconds, when Fabian scored his second goal of the game: an
unobstructed goal from far away.
The results of the game did not go as the Tigers had planned, but they
played exceptionally. When Coach Wilson suggested that, “Maybe last
night took a little more out of us than what we thought,” he said. The
seniors next to him nodded — the team was tired.
Coach Wilson is optimistic: “These guys [the seniors] have
accomplished an awful lot over their four years, and there are better days
ahead as well; we’ll win some more championships.” He added, “We’re
disappointed, but that’s because of the bar [the seniors] have set for the
RIT finished the season with a 20-12-6 record.