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RIT has winning streak snapped in OT loss to AIC

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ROCHESTER, NY – Tobias Fladeby scored with 2:03 left in overtime as the American International Yellow Jackets (2-6-2, 1-3-2 Atlantic Hockey) defeated the RIT men's hockey team (3-3-1, 3-1-0 Atlantic Hockey), 3-2 at the Gene Polisseni Center Saturday night. The loss snapped RIT's three-game winning streak.

RIT was awarded a power-play with 41 seconds left in regulation and nearly won the game twice, as Erik Brown (Keene, Ontario/Kemptville 73's) was robbed in front by goaltender Stefano Durante then seconds later, he deflected a point shot from Chase Norrish (Strongfield, Saskatchewan/Yorkton Terriers) off the right goal post and out.

The Tigers started overtime with 1:11 of power-play time but could not convert and were called for a penalty with 3:45 left. The Yellow Jackets could not get anything going for the first 1:30 of the power-play. With just over two minutes left, a Yellow Jacket player dumped the puck into the RIT zone, but it was not able to be cleared. The puck came to Shawn McBride down low, who fed a pass out to Brennan Kapcheck in the slot. Kapcheck had his shot stopped by RIT goaltender Logan Drackett (Calgary, Alberta/Calgary Canucks), but Fladeby fought through a scrum in front to put in the rebound for his first collegiate goal, giving American International the win.

Gabe Valenzuela (Brampton, Ontario/North York Rangers) scored both RIT goals, including the tying power-play goal with 3:38 left in regulation. Dan Willett (Bayville, NY/Bloomington Thunder) added a pair of assists, while Abbott Girduckis (Belleville, Ontario/Wellington Dukes) and Myles Powell (Courtenay, British Columbia/Cowichan Valley Capitals) also drew assists. Drackett stopped 25 saves in the loss.

Hugo Reinhardt and Janis Jaks also scored for American International, while Durante earned his first collegiate victory, stopping 27 of 29 shots.

RIT was 1-for-5 with the man-advantage, while American International was 1-for-3. The Tigers held a 29-28 edge in shots on goal.

"I was disappointed with the loss, but thought it was a really good, hard fought game, which is exactly what we anticipated," said RIT head coach Wayne Wilson.

The Tigers would strike first, as Valenzuela scored for the second time in two games, burying a rebound in tight after Willett's initial shot was stopped by Durante, 8:21 into the game. RIT cycled the puck in the Yellow Jackets zone for nearly a minute and were rewarded. Girduckis also assisted on the goal, giving him a point in five straight games.

RIT would get five minutes of power-play time after Oskar Stromberg was called for a boarding major not long after. The Tigers appeared to take a 2-0 lead as a shot from Valenzuela glanced off the chest of Brown and in. On the ice, it was ruled no goal due to playing the puck with his hand. Replays showed that the puck hit the chest/shoulder area of Brown and not his hand and despite a long review, the call stood as no goal.

RIT would not score on the major and generated just three shots on goal. The Tigers would have a few chances late in the period, but could not add to the lead.

The Yellow Jackets would tie the game at 1-1, 5:23 into the second period, as the teams were playing 4-on-4. Reinhardt scooped up a loose puck in the neutral zone, came in and fired a shot that Drackett stopped. Reinhardt beat the RIT defenders to the left circle and wheeled a high shot over Drackett for his second goal of the season.

Drackett had to come up big later in the period, as he made an excellent save on a point-blank attempt on Fledenby after a defensive zone giveaway.

RIT's best chance came late with just under five minutes left in the period, as Drackett sprung Girduckis on a shorthanded breakaway. Girduckis tried to beat Durante high, but fired it just over the net.

Jaks would give American International a 2-1 lead 2:24 into the third period, as he took a feed from Martin Mellberg and whistled a shot over the shoulder of Drackett from the high slot for this third goal of the season.

Powell had a golden opportunity with just under 10 minutes left on a 2-on-1, getting Durante to overcommit but slid a backhand wide. Durante made two big saves on Valenzuela and Brown from in tight with 4:45 left to keep it 2-1.

RIT would tie the game at 2-2 on the power-play with 3:38 left as Valenzuela roofed a perfectly placed wrist shot off the crossbar and in from the left circle after taking a feed from Powell. Willett also assisted on the goal.

RIT leads the all-time series between the two schools, 30-6-3. The Tigers are 18-3-2 all-time against the Yellow Jackets on home ice. Last night, RIT jumped out to 3-0 and 4-1 leads en route to a 5-3 win over the Yellow Jackets. Powell had three assists, while Girduckis and Valenzuela added a goal and an assist apiece.

RIT is right back in action at home next weekend, Friday, Nov. 10 and Saturday, Nov. 11 as Atlantic Hockey rival Robert Morris comes to town for a pair of games. Both games from the Polisseni Center start at 7:05 p.m.

"I don't see any weekend series the rest of the way being any different in regards to a lot of tight games," said Wilson. "When you look through the league, teams are so evenly matched."

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