HENRIETTA, NY- The opening round of Atlantic Hockey’s playoff series between the RIT Tigers and Niagara Purple Eagles will be decided in a winner-take-all game three on Sunday night at RIT’s Gene Polisenni Center.
Both sides have won a contest in the best-of-three. Niagara won game one on Friday night in a jaw-dropping third period comeback, scoring three goals in the final 3:54 of regulation to stun the Tigers for a 5-4 win. Two of the goals in the Purple Eagles’ outburst were shorthanded, including one from Sam Rennaker on a 3-on-1 breakout. Jackson Tiechrobe finished 35-39 in goal before a raucous RIT crowd.
The Tigers, however, made sure the same would not happen again and staved off elimination with a 5-0 thrashing in game two. Goalie Mike Rotolo, a Rochester, NY-native, stopped all 19 shots he faced in the shutout effort. Tiechrobe appeared to be shaken up in front of a crowd that was as rowdy as the night before. A mishandling of the puck on an early first period powerplay allowed RIT to open the game with a shorthanded goal, setting the tone for the game.
Head Coach Dave Burkholder pulled Tiechrobe in favor of Joe O’Brien to allow his horse in net to rest up for the decisive contest. Burkholder believes that his team can come away with the victory if they are ready.
“We need to show up,” he said.
Game three from Gene Polisenni Center is tonight at 7:05.