Courtesy of RITAthletics.com
ROCHESTER, NY – The RIT men’s hockey team returns to the friendly confines of the Gene Polisseni Center to play its first home games in six weeks versus Atlantic Hockey rival Air Force Academy. Both Friday and Saturday’s games get underway at 7:05 p.m.
Friday is Youth Hockey Night, while Saturday is Kids Night. On Friday, youth hockey players who wear their team jersey receive free admission. On Saturday, it is free admission for all children ages 12 and under. Tickets for both games are available at the Gene Polisseni Center and Gordon Field House Box Offices, or by calling (585) 475-4121 or by visiting www.rittickets.com.
RIT comes into the weekend with an 8-8-2 record, including a 7-4-1 mark in Atlantic Hockey play. Last weekend, the Tigers earned a point in two games at league foe Niagara, falling 4-3 on Friday, while rallying for a 2-2 tie on Saturday. Gabe Valenzuela (Brampton, Ontario/North York Rangers), Ryan Kruper (Sherwood Park, Alberta/Sherwood Park Crusaders) and Jake Hamacher (Corona, CA/Dubuque Fighting Saints) scored on Friday, while Erik Brown (Keene, Ontario/Kemptville 73’s) and Adam Brubacher (Elmira, Ontario/Powell River Kings) tallied Saturday. Brubacher scored with just 10.7 seconds left on Saturday to help RIT gain the tie. Logan Drackett(Calgary, Alberta/Calgary Canucks) made 26 saves on Saturday.
Myles Powell (Courtenay, British Columbia/Cowichan Valley Capitals) leads the team in scoring with 20 points on seven goals and 13 assists, while Valenzuela is right behind with 19 points. Brown leads the team with 12 goals and has 18 points. In net, Drackett is 6-5-2, while Christian Short (Vaughan, Ontario/Surrey Eagles) is 2-3-0 and leads the team with a 3.03 goals against average and an .896 save percentage.
Air Force (9-10-3, 4-8-2 Atlantic Hockey), the defending Atlantic Hockey Champions, earned a home split against Mercyhurst, losing 1-0 on Friday, while rebounding to earn a 5-1 win Saturday. Tyler Ledford has a team-best 11 assists and 13 points in 13 games, while Erik Baskin leads the squad with nine goals. In net, Billy Christopoulous has played in all 22 games and is 9-10-3 with a 2.66 goals against average and a .904 save percentage.
This weekend marks the third and fourth meetings of the regular season between the two squads. On Nov. 17, Air Force earned a 4-3 win, while RIT rebounded for a 3-2 win the next night in Colorado Springs. Kruper broke a 2-2 tie with a power-play goal late in regulation to lift RIT to the victory.
Air Force leads the all-time series between the two schools, 28-21-4. A remarkable 30 of 48 meetings between the two schools since RIT moved to Division I in 2005 have ended in ties or one-goal.
Both games will air on CW Rochester (Digital – 13.2, DirecTV – 14 and Spectrum – 16) and stream live on RIT Sports Zone with Gene Battaglia and John DiTullio on the call from the Polisseni Center. The pregame show with host Kevin Roche airs at 6:30 p.m. In addition, both contests will be broadcast over the airwaves on WITR 89.7 FMand Fox Sports 1280 AM, while live stats will also be available. Friday’s game will air on CW Rochester at 10 p.m.