By Kevin Oklobzija
The Rochester Institute of Technology hockey team held welcome-back night at the Gene Polisseni Center on Saturday night.
Junior goalie Christian Short welcomed back winning while junior left winger Mark Logan enjoyed a return to the stat sheet as a goal-scorer.
Logan’s goal at 2:33 of the third period broke a 3-3 tie and Short made every necessary save the rest of the way as the Tigers defeated Holy Cross 5-3.
To say it had been a while since both players made tangible contributions to RIT victories would be quite the understatement.
Short hadn’t won a game in goal since Jan. 24, 2016, a 29-save performance against Sacred Heart. Logan’s drought was only slightly shorter. He last scored on Feb. 27, 2016, a streak of 37 games without finding the net.
“It’s relieving; it’s a big monkey off my back,” Short said after he stopped 27 shots by the Crusaders (6-5-6 overall, 5-2-5 Atlantic Hockey).
The plan heading into the weekend was for freshman Logan Drackett, the workhorse thus far for the Tigers, to play both games. But RIT coach Wayne Wilson said Drackett just wasn’t sharp in Friday’s 4-2 loss.
So he turned to Short, who last season essentially was the permanent backup to the since-graduated Mike Rotolo. He also had played just two of the first 13 games this season.
Short rewarded the faith of the coaching staff by making big saves when necessary. Midway through the third period he denied a shot by Danny Lopez off a two-on-one fast break, and defenseman Adam Brubacher swept away the rebound.
Then in the closing seconds, with the Crusaders storming, Short was able to dive toward the post to his right and deny with the paddle of his stick a point-blank stuff-in try by Ryan Ferrill.
When Erik Brown hit an empty net with 5.9 seconds remaining, tying RIT’s Division I program record for goals in consecutive games with seven, the Tigers were assured of improving to 7-6-1, 7-3 in Atlantic Hockey.
“You want to make the key saves for the boys,” Short said. “I had a little puck luck on the last one. I just tried to get anything I could over there.”
Miles Powell had scored once in each of the first two periods for the Tigers, who had 1-0 and 2-1 leads and then had to rally to tie Holy Cross before the second period ended.
Then Logan and the fourth line with center Jordan Peacock and right winger Max Mikowski came up large. Peacock won a faceoff to the right of goalie Paul Berrafato and the group worked the puck around the zone until Logan was open in the left wing circle.
Peacock made the cross-ice pass and Logan fired a low slap shot that eluded Berrafato.
“I know it’s in my ability to score goals,” said Logan, who produced 3 goals, 4 assists and 7 points in 28 games as a freshman and had 2 assists in 21 games as a sophomore. “Our line has been clicking really nicely and we’re really looking forward to contributing on the stat sheet a little more.”