Niagara Gazette

January 25, 2013

No. 17 NU ties RIT

Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Ryan Rashid pocketed a pair of goals for No. 17 Niagara men's hockey enroute to a 3-3 draw against the RIT Tigers on Friday evening in front of a sellout crowd at Ritter Arena.

For the sixth time in seven meetings and second time this year, the Purple Eagles (14-4-5, 13-1-2 AHA) and Tigers (8-10-5, 6-6-4) battled into extra time after a back-and-forth final frame. The Purps held the shot advantage, 5-3, and killed off a 37 second penalty during overtime to come out with the draw.

The two goals scored by Rashid tied his single-game career high, while Marc Zanette accounted for the other Purple Eagle goal. Chris Lochner also had a two-point night with two assists.

After RIT evened the game, 2-2 with 15:04 on the clock, Rashid and Dan Kolenda connected on a two-on-one opportunity to regain the one-goal lead at the 12:27 mark. Kolenda picked up the puck along the right boards and streaked in on RIT goaltender Josh Watson with Rashid. Kolenda hit the brakes on the RIT defender before slipping a feed to Rashid who slapped it upstairs for his sixth of the season and second of the evening.

RIT continued to pepper Chubak after going down for the second time in the contest, and saw its efforts pay off at the 5:42 mark of the final frame. A faceoff win by Brad McGowam slipped back to Brad Shumway who beat Chubak with a rising slap shot.

Rashid came inches away from earning his third goal of the game, but saw his wrister just outside the crease ring off the inside of the right post with three minutes left to play.

“RIT carried the play after 20 minutes, but we played really well in the last 40 minutes,” NU coach Dave Burkholder said. “You hope you can hold on to two one-goal leads, but it’s a tough environment to play in and I thought we had a team full of warriors. We’re back at it tomorrow and we have to get a win on home ice.”

The teams came out of the first 20 minutes tied at one apiece with a pair of goals scored in the final three minutes of play in the period.

RIT saw the better of the opportunities despite the shot count being close. The Tigers broke the scoreless tie with 2:51 on the clock off the stick of Brad McGowan for his sixth goal of the season. Nolan Descoteaux took a shot from the point that was redirected by the skate of McGowan behind Chubak.

The lead was short-lived though as Lochner and Rashid combined for the game-tying tally less than a minute later. Lochner started the rush up center ice, finding Rashid to the right of Watson. The left winger roofed a shot that went wide, but picked up his own rebound before stuffing it into the back of the net.

With 8:50 gone by in the second period, it was Zanette that gave the Purple Eagles their first lead of the contest while on the man-advantage. Patrick Divjak snapped a shot on net, that went off the stick of an RIT defender before trickling to the right of Watson. Zanette was waiting on the doorstep, whacking the puck behind the RIT goaltender for his fifth goal of the season.

RIT finished the game with a 36-32 shot advantage. The Tigers ran into solid goaltending as NU goaltender Carsen Chubak stopped 33 shots RIT put on net.

Niagara wraps up its home-and-home series with the Tigers at 7 p.m. tonight at Dwyer Arena. The families of the NU's players are dedicating the game to Saneel Ram, a 15-year-old freshman at St. Joe's who is battling a lethal form of Muscular Dystrophy.