ROCHESTER, N.Y. – RIT heads to Massachusetts for two games at AIC on Saturday (1:05 p.m.) and Sunday (3:05 p.m.). The Tigers look to keep things rolling after sweeping visiting Holy Cross, 5-2 and 3-2 (OT), last Friday and Saturday, while the Yellow Jackets won their lone game of the week, 8-2 at Army, last Friday for their third-straight win.
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RIT defeated Holy Cross, 5-2, on Friday and, 3-2 (OT), on Saturday to improve to 5-0-0 at home this season. The Tigers built a 3-0 lead in the opener, including goals by senior defenseman Gianfranco Cassaro and sophomore forward Grady Hobbs just over two minutes into the contest. Junior forward Cody Laskosky made it a 3-0 game with 13:04 left in the second period before the Crusaders scored twice in a five-minute stretch to pull within one with under six minutes remaining in the period. RIT put the game away with a pair of power-play goals by Cassaro and grad student forward Kobe Walker in the final six minutes of the third, while sophomore goaltender Tommy Scarfone finished with 27 saves to preserve the win.
Holy Cross scored the lone goal of the first period on Saturday and led until Walker knotted the score with a power play goal 3:13 into the third period. The Crusaders retook a 2-1 lead with 12:30 left in regulation, but Laskosky scored off a Walker drop pass with 7:39 on the clock to re-tie the game. The Tigers won the game 1:58 into overtime after first-year forward Simon Isabelle created a two-on-one break and fed senior forward Elijah Gonsalves for the deciding tally.
For their efforts, Walker was named the Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week, while Scarfone was voted the Goaltender of the Week and Isabelle the Rookie of the Week.
Senior defenseman Gianfranco Cassaro was named the Atlantic Hockey Defensive Player of the Month for October. Cassaro finished the month leading Atlantic Hockey and tied for second nationally among defensemen with 10 points, while ranking tied for 14th in the country among all skaters. Cassaro put together a six-game point streak, including three multi-point games, during the month. He was named the AHA Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 24 after totaling three assists during a split at Air Force, including two assists in the 4-2 win (Oct. 21). He notched two goals and an assist in 5-2 win over Holy Cross (Oct. 28) and had a goal and an assist in 8-5 win over Union (Oct. 15). Cassaro also had a goal and blocked four shots in 4-1 win over Army (Oct. 8).
WEARING OUT THE RED LIGHT
RIT entered the week tied for fourth nationally with 4.00 goals per game and sixth with 32 goals scored through its first eight games. AIC has also averaged 4.00 goals per game, netting 36 goals through nine games.
PUTTING THE SPECIAL IN SPECIAL TEAMS
RIT entered the week tied for third nationally with a .333 (9-for-27) power play percentage and ranked eighth with a .892 (33-for-37) penalty kill percentage. Also leading Atlantic Hockey in both categories, the Tigers recently killed 6-of-7 penalties while converting 3-of-4 power plays in last Friday’s Holy Cross victory.
ON THE MARGINS
RIT entered the week ninth nationally in scoring margin, out-scoring its opponents by 1.38 goals per game. AIC sat just ahead of the Tigers in eighth place, averaging 1.56 goals better than its opponents.
Grad student forward Kobe Walker and first-year forward Carter Wilkie are tied for second nationally with three power play goals apiece. Walker has already equaled the three extra-man tallies he had all of last year and has netted eight power play goals during his career, while all three of Wilkie’s goals this season have been power-play tallies, eclipsing the two he had all of last year.
30 FOR 30
RIT sophomore goaltender Tommy Scarfone notched 32 saves in last Saturday’s 3-2 OT win versus Holy Cross for his third 30-plus save effort of the season. He also logged a season-high 36 saves in the 4-2 win at Air Force (Oct. 21) and made 32 stops to defeat visiting Army, 3-2 (Oct. 7). Scarfone entered the week leading the AHA with 30.5 saves/game and ranked second with 183 saves and a .915 save percentage.
SPREAD THE LOVE
Through eight games, 17 RIT players have scored at least one point, including 13 with multiple points. Additionally, 15 of those 17 players have been credited with at least one blocked shot.
CRACKING THE CODY
Junior forward Cody Laskosky has scored a point in all eight games to start the season, scoring a goal in the opening Union loss before notching an assist in five-straight games before adding two assists in last Friday’s Holy Cross win followed by a goal in Saturday’s decision.
First-year forward Tyler Mahan was named the Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Week (Oct. 17) after scoring three goals in the 8-5 win over Union (Oct. 15). It was the first RIT hat-trick since Will Calverley scored three goals in a 6-4 victory over visiting Mercyhurst on Jan. 28, 202. as well as the first three-goal performance by an RIT first-year player since Andrew Rinaldi netted three in a 7-4 win over visiting Holy Cross on Nov. 1, 2019.
Junior defenseman Aiden Hansen-Bukata finished the Union victory with a career-high three points – all assists. Named the Atlantic Hockey Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 10, he is currently tied for first on the team and tied for fifth in Atlantic Hockey with nine points on two goals and seven assists, while blocking a team-high 15 shots thus far.
EIGHT IS ENOUGH
RIT’S 8-5 win over Union (Oct. 15) was its highest scoring output since earning an 8-5 victory over No. 9 Clarkson at the Gene Polisseni Center on Nov. 27, 2020.
EIGHT WAS ENOUGH
RIT earned its first Division I-era win over Union after going 0-7-1 in their first eight meetings, including a 4-3 road setback on Oct. 1 to open this season.
Tiger sophomore Evan Miller was named the Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week on Oct. 3 after notching his first collegiate goal and multi-point game in the Union opener. Miller missed all but two games last season due to injury, notching an assist in his collegiate debut during RIT’s season-opening 5-2 loss at Colgate (Oct. 2) and also played in the Tigers’ 3-2 upset at Notre Dame (Oct. 21).
ABOUT THE YELLOW JACKETS
AIC owns a 5-1 record in its last six outings, defeating host Army, 8-2, last Saturday after sweeping two games over visiting Lindenwood, 5-0 and 5-3 (Oct. 22-23) the previous weekend. The Yellow Jackets also have a pair of road wins over Niagara, 6-3 and 5-2 (Oct. 14-15), a 7-3 loss to visiting Holy Cross (Oct. 18) and a 2-2 tie versus current No. 5 UMass (Oct. 8) on their schedule. Senior forward Blake Bennett has scored a team-high seven goals and rides five-game goal-scoring streak into the weekend. Junior forward Jordan Biro has scored two points in six-straight games and is tied with Bennett with 13 points, including a team-best eight assists. Junior goaltender Alexandros Aslanidis is 4-1-0 in five starts with a 1.86 goals against average and a .927 save percentage. Bennett was named the Atlantic Hockey Player of the Month for October while Aslanidis was named the Goalkeeper of the Month.
DON’T LOOK BACK IN ANGER
Before the opening loss to Union, RIT hadn’t lost a game when leading after two periods since falling to Holy Cross on Jan. 31, 2020, letting a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes slip away in a 4-3 setback. The Tigers also hadn’t lost a game when leading by two or more goals since giving up a 2-0 lead to Long Island University in a 4-3 loss on Dec. 11, 2020. RIT finished 10-0-1 last season when holding a lead after two periods and was also 12-1-1 when scoring first.
RIT is playing the 60th men’s hockey season in program history. Starting as an unofficial club in 1960, the team was given a budget of $1,113.20 for the 1961-62 season and named James E. Musker the first head coach. RIT played a 14-game season (all on home ice at the former Rochester War Memorial) with a team originally comprised of over 45 members and, with the new NCAA rules, was required to purchase helmets for the team at a cost of $62.50. After one more season as a club, men’s hockey became an intercollegiate sport at RIT in 1964.
THANKS, YOU TOO
Atlantic Hockey is also celebrating its 20th season in 2022-23. Entering its 17th season in the league, RIT is in the hunt for its fourth conference title and first since winning back-to-back crowns in 2015 and 2016. The Tigers won their first AHA Championship in 2010, before becoming the league’s first (and still only) member to advance to the NCAA Frozen Four. RIT finished atop the 2006-07 regular season standings during its first season in the AHA, but was not eligible for postseason play.
Head Coach Wayne Wilson became the 49th NCAA men’s hockey coach to hit the 400-win plateau with the 1-0 OT win at Princeton (Nov. 27) last season. Wilson currently ranks ninth among active coaches with a 415-292-77 record the last 24 seasons – all on the Tiger bench. The only coach in NCAA history to win the Spencer Penrose (D1 National COY, 2001) and the Sid Watson (D3 National COY, 2010), he totaled a 116-31-12 mark in six Division III campaigns (1999-2005) and owns a 299-261-65 record during 18 Division-I seasons.
Sophomore forward Carter Wilkie was named the Atlantic Hockey Co-Preseason Player of the Year and a member of the Preseason All-Atlantic Hockey Team. Wilkie returned after leading the Tigers with 30 points and 17 assists, while finishing second with 13 goals during his first season in Orange and Black. He also tied for second in the nation with six game-winning goals, and became just the fifth Division I player in over 10 years to notch three overtime game-winning tallies. The 2022 Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Year and an AHA All-Rookie Team honoree, Wilkie landed seven conference Rookie of the Week honors a season ago, and was also named the league’s Rookie of the Month on three occasions.
TENDER LOVING CARE
Sophomore goaltender Tommy Scarfone joined Wilkie on the AHA All-Rookie Team last winter. He finished fourth in the conference with a 2.46 goals against average as well as a .919 save percentage en route to an 8-9-1 record. Starting the final 11 games of the season, he tied a career high with 39 saves in the Tigers’ 1-0 shutout of Sacred Heart in the opening game of the AHA Quarterfinals for his eighth 30-plus save outing of the season. He also logged 33 saves on three other occasions during the run, including the 4-4 tie with AIC (Feb. 5) as well as in the 4-2 win at Niagara (Feb. 18) en route to Atlantic Hockey Goaltender of the Week honors. Scarfone closed the regular season with 33 saves in the Tigers’ 1-0 OT setback at Air force (Feb. 26).
GAME CHANGING VOTE
A proposal was passed last January at the NCAA Convention during the Division III Business meeting which will allow RIT to offer scholarships to its Division I men’s and women’s hockey student-athletes. Multi-divisional intercollegiate athletic programs like RIT, which sponsors 22 Division III teams along with two Division I hockey teams, were previously not allowed to apply all Division I legislation to its Division I teams, including the inability to award athletic grant-in-aid to its players based on a 2004 bylaw. However, with the vote overwhelmingly passing by a 388-18-39 margin, the Tigers will be on the same footing as the rest of its peers across the country with a full 18 scholarships available to each hockey team.
RIT graduated three of last season’s top-five scorers, including Will Calverley, Dan Willett and Jake Hamacher. A Hobey Baker nominee and 2021 second-team All-American, Calverley led the Tigers with 15 goals and was second with 27 points en route to his second-straight First-Team All-Atlantic Hockey award. Hamacher was third with 21 points (9 goals, 12 assists) and tied for 10th in D1-era history with 106 points (43 goals, 63 assists). Willett finished second with 13 assists and fifth with 18 points while ranking fourth nationally with 91 blocked shots. Willett and Hamacher also finished first and second in program history with 166 and 165 games played, respectively.
Fifth-year Kobe Walker returns after finishing second for the 2021-22 Tigers with 11 goals, including three power-play tallies, two game-winners and two short-handed scores. In 29 appearances, the top-line right winger’s 19 points ranked fourth on the squad, while his eight assists tied for the sixth-highest total on the team. A three-time Atlantic Hockey All-Academic Team member, Walker entered the season with 111 appearances in an RIT sweater along with 56 career points on 28 goals and 28 assists.
Fifth-year Spencer Berry is back for his final season after finishing 2021-22 as one of three Tiger defenseman who appeared in all 38 games during the season, finishing second on the team with 52 blocked shots to go along with three assists. A four-time Atlantic Hockey All-Academic Team honoree, he returned this season with 88 games played and 10 career points (all assists).
Fifth-year Andrew Petrucci played 35 games last season, notching a goal and an assist. The hard-nosed fourth-line centerman entered the season with 104 games during his RIT career, compiling 15 points on eight goals and seven assists. He is also a four-time Atlantic Hockey All-Academic Team honoree.
Senior Elijah Gonsalves returned with 70 career games and 52 points on 20 goals and 32 assists. The 2019-20 Atlantic Hockey All-Rookie Team honoree scored better than 20 points his first two seasons and looks to bounce back after having his season cut short due to injury after 15 appearances last year. Gonsalves is a two-time Atlantic All-Academic Team honoree and was an AHCA All-American Scholar in 2020-21.
MORE IS BETTER
Senior Caleb Moretz entered the season with 40 points in 89 career appearances the last three seasons, including a goal and five assists playing all 38 games last winter. He was third on the team with 244 face-off wins and second with a 52.7 face-off win percentage. A three-time AHCA All-American Scholar and Atlantic Hockey All-Academic Team member, Moretz also finished second among forwards on the team with 24 blocked shots.
Atlantic Hockey adopted a new format for its 2022-23 postseason tournament — only the top-eight of the league’s 10 teams in the final regular-season standings will qualify for the playoffs and all three rounds will be hosted on campus sites. The top-seed will host the eighth seed, the second-seed will host the seventh seed, etc. in the best-of-three quarterfinals (Mar. 3-5), before the two highest remaining seeds host the two lowest remaining seeds in the best-of-three semifinals (Mar. 10-12). The highest remaining seed will then host the championship game (Mar. 18) with the winner earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
WHO’S AFRAID OF A COUPLE EXTRA MINUTES
RIT finished the 2021-22 season with a 6-1-4 record in 11 overtime games, including a 1-0 win over Sacred Heart in the Atlantic Hockey Tournament Semifinal opener.
RIT’s was 16-4-3 a season ago when holding opponents to three goals or less, including an 14-3-1 mark when holding opponents under three goals.
JUST LEAVE THE RED LIGHT ON NEXT TIME
RIT was credited with the fastest consecutive goals by the same team in over 24 years at the end of its 4-2 win at Niagara (Feb. 18) last season. Carter Wilkie broke a 2-2 tie with 10.4 seconds left in regulation before Will Calverley was credited with a goal with 6.9 on the clock after the Purple Eagles won the ensuing draw directly back into their own empty net. According to the NCAA record book, RIT tied the fourth-fastest pair of goals ever scored by the same team, matching UMass-Lowell’s Randy LeBrasseur and Bill Dohaney’s feat against Minnesota on Jan. 3, 1987. The Tiger goals were also the quickest since Nebraska-Omaha’s Andrew Tortorella and Jason Cupp scored in a three-second span opposite Denver on Nov. 15, 1997. New Hampshire’s John Gray scored twice in a three-second span versus Colgate on Feb. 6, 1971 for the fastest consecutive goals scored by the same player, while Colorado College’s Tony Frasca and Omer Brandt hold the all-time record with goals in a two-second span against Michigan Tech on Feb. 1, 1962.
DO AS I SAY AND DID
Former Tigers standout Shane Madolora is back for his second season with the program as Volunteer Goalie Coach. The 2012 graduate remains the Division I-era program leader with a .932 save percentage, which is tied for 10th in NCAA history. He is also tops with a 1.97 goals against average, which remains tied for 20th in the NCAA record book. Madolora established single-season program records as a junior which still stand, leading the nation with a .935 save percentage to go along with a stingy 1.93. GAA on his way to Inside College Hockey Second-Team All-America honors and Atlantic Hockey Goaltender of the Year recognition. The following year, he tied his own record with a 1.93 GAA to go along with a .931 save percentage while tying for first nationally with a program-record seven shutouts. Madolora remains first in Tiger history (and tied for 21st in NCAA history) with 13 career shutouts, as well as fourth with 1,727 saves, fifth with 36 wins, and tied for fifth with 65 appearances. His 18-9-5 record during the 2011-12 campaign tied for the second-highest single-season win total by a Tiger, completing his RIT career with a 36-14-2 record.
OH, CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
Five players are skating with letters on their sweaters during the 2022-23 season. Fifth-years Kobe Walker and Andrew Petrucci were elevated to co-captains after serving as alternate captains a season ago, while seniors Spencer Berry, Elijah Gonsalves and Caleb Moretz were named alternate captains.
TIGERS IN THE NHL
Former RIT standout defenseman Chris Tanev enters his 14th season in the NHL, spending his first 11 with the Vancouver Canucks before signing a free agent contract with the Calgary Flames prior to the 2020-21 season. Voted the 2010 AHA Rookie of the Year, Tanev made his NHL debut on Jan. 18, 2011, becoming the first RIT player to appear in an NHL contest. Entering the 2022-23 season, he has played in 652 NHL games with 30 goals and 128 assists for 158 career points. He won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2016 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships and was named a finalist for the NHL’s Masterson Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Tanev tallied 28 points (10-18-28) and was plus-33 in 41 games for RIT in 2009-10. He and another former Tiger, Steve Pinizzotto (2005-07), were teammates with Vancouver in 2012-13. Pinizzotto tallied 57 points (20-37-57) in 54 career games for the Tigers and appeared in 36 NHL games with two goals and four assists.
RIT’s NCAA DIVISION II/III HISTORY
RIT has made 16 NCAA Tournament appearances since 1983. RIT won the 1983 Division II National Championship before winning the Division III National Championship in 1985. The Tigers also finished as Division III runner-up in 1989, 1996 and 2001 while making semifinal appearances in 1984, 1986, 1999, and 2010. Overall, RIT was 26-15-4 in NCAA contests at the DII/III level and is 3-2 in five Division I tournament showings. The Tigers made the NCAA Tournament in 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1989, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2010, 2015, and 2016.
FINAL FOUR FRENZY
RIT was the first team in NCAA history to reach the Frozen Four in its first postseason appearance in 2010 and was also the first Atlantic Hockey team to reach the national semifinals. RIT was one win away from duplicating that feat in 2014-15 after upsetting overall top-seed Minnesota State, 1-0, in the Midwest Region Semifinals.
NON-CONFERENCE, NO PROBLEM
RIT finished the non-conference portion of the 2021-22 schedule with a 4-4-0 record, tying the highest single-season win total in the Division-I era. It was also the Tigers’ third-consecutive season finishing with a .500 record in non-league games after finishing 2-2-1 in 2020-21 and 4-4-0 in 2019-20.