RIT picks up big road win at Robert Morris

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ROCHESTER, NY – The RIT men's hockey team (11-15-2, 10-11-1 AHA) scored four unanswered goals and hung on to defeat AHA rival Robert Morris University (13-14-2. 12-9-2 AHA), 4-3 on Friday evening from Colonials Arena.

Abbott Girduckis (Belleville, Ontario/Wellington Dukes) had a goal and assist, while Gabe Valenzuela (Brampton, Ontario/North York Rangers), Bryson Traptow (Calgary, Alberta/Camrose Kodiaks) and Jordan Peacock (Burlington, Ontario/Burlington Cougars) also scored for the Tigers and Chase Norrish (Strongfield, Saskatchewan/Yorkton Terriers) recorded two assists. Traptow's goal was the first of his collegiate career. Goaltender Christian Short (Vaughan, Ontario/Surrey Eagles) made 25 saves to pick up the win for the Tigers.

Luke Lynch had a goal and an assist for the Colonials, while Eric Israel had three assists. Alex Dagnal and Timmy Moore also scored. Goaltender Francis Marotte made 16 saves before being pulled after Peacock's third period goal. Andrew Pikul made nine saves in the final period.

RIT out-shot Robert Morris, 29-28. The Colonials were 0-for-3 on the power-play, while RIT was 0-for-2.

"We had a lot of players contribute and found a way to win," said RIT head coach Wayne Wilson. "It was a gritty effort."

The Colonials scored the lone goal in the opening period, as Lynch got behind the defense, took a feed from Eric Israel and slipped a backhand between the legs of Short for his 13th goal of the season.

RIT had a handful of good chances in the period. Myles Powell (Courtenay, British Columbia/Cowichan Valley Capitals) was robbed by Marotte in the slot early in the period and Matt Abt (Leduc, Alberta/Whitecourt Wolverines) was denied moments later. Mark Logan (Calgary, Alberta/Brooks Bandits) fired a shot from the left wing that beat Marotte but went off the crossbar and out.

The Tigers scored three second period goals to take a 3-1 lead after two periods of play.

Valenzuela would tie the game at 1-1 just 4:41 into the period, as he took a feed from Girduckis in tight, cut to the net and beat a sliding Marotte for his eighth goal of the season. Norrish also assisted on the goal.

Girduckis would make it 2-1 with 7:15 left in the period, as he redirected a feed from Erik Brown (Keene, Ontario/Kemptville 73's) in close past Marotte for his sixth goal of the season. Norrish also recorded an assist for his second point of the period.

Short had to come up big right after a RIT power-play, as Alex Tonge came out of the box and came in on a breakaway. Tonge tried to get Short to overcommit and go against the grain, but the RIT goaltender made a key pad save to keep it 2-1.

Traptow would make it 3-1 with 3:04 left in the period, as he fired a shot from the right point through traffic and past Marotte for his first collegiate goal. Jordan Peacock (Burlington, Ontario/Burlington Cougars) made a strong move to the net before having his chance stopped.

Peacock scored the eventual game-winner with 17:14 left in the third period, beating a Robert Morris player to a loose puck sent down the ice by Dan Willett (Bayville, NY/Bloomington Thunder) in the neutral zone and beating Marotte high on the breakaway for his fifth goal of the season.

That goal chased Marotte, who was pulled in favor of Andrew Pikul.

Robert Morris inched closer, as Dagnal scored with 10:35 left to make it a 4-2 game and Moore tallied five minutes later.

Pikul was pulled with just over two minutes left for the extra attacker, but RIT's defense did a great job keeping the Colonials from generating any quality chances. Darren Brady (Lake Orion, MI/New Jersey Titans) made a key shot block in the final seconds to seal the win.

Tonight marked the third of four meetings between RIT and Robert Morris this season, with RIT holding a 3-0 edge. RIT swept Robert Morris from the Gene Polisseni Center on Nov. 10-11 by scores of 5-3 and 5-2. Brown scored the game-winning goal in both wins, while Valenzuela added four assists and Logan Drackett (Calgary, Alberta/Calgary Canucks) stopped 53 shots in the two games.

The all-time series between the two schools now even at 12-12-4.

The Tigers and Colonials wrap up the regular season series on Saturday evening at 7:05 p.m.

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