Top Seed RIT Goes Down; Canisius Wins G3 and Will Host Final Next Weekend
by Anthony Travalgia/CHN Reporter (@A_Travalgia)
Holy Cross continued its magical run in the Atlantic Hockey playoffs, upsetting top-seeded RIT in Game 3, 5-1. The Crusaders will appear in the Atlantic Hockey final for the first time since 2006 when they defeated Bentley, then going on to upset Minnesota in the first round of the NCAAs.
“A lot of emotion, a lot of emotion in that room right now, the parents and everybody. It’s a good moment for our program, the alumni, the fans and everyone,” Holy Cross coach Bill Riga said. “We’re going to balance a little bit of excitement and happiness with a little bit of the realization that we’re not done yet and we have more work to do.”
Holy Cross took a 2-0 lead into the second period on goals 67 seconds apart by Jack Ricketts and a shorthanded strike by Grayson Constable.
The Crusaders could have taken a much bigger lead into the first intermission, but nine minutes of power-play time failed to produce any goals. A big chunk of the first period power-play time came after RIT’s Carter Wilkie was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct for kneeing.
After a push by RIT in the second period, the Crusaders quickly swayed momentum back in their favor, Constable scoring once again to extend the lead to two.
“We showed up after some adversity last night, came back out hard. Wasn’t a work of art out there, our power play struggled, but we scored shorthanded and found a way,” Riga said. “Found a way to put a few in the net and that third goal by Grayson was just tremendous work on the forecheck, big goal going into the third period there.”
An 11-shot third period that forced Holy Cross goalie Jason Grande to make some big saves didn’t yield any results for RIT, Holy Cross icing things with a pair of empty-net goals.
“We kind of buckled down and held on [in the third],” said Riga.
It’s a huge step forward for Holy Cross in just Riga’s second year behind the bench. The Crusaders’ path to the conference final saw them knock off Atlantic Hockey’s top two seeds, starting with three-time defending champ American International in the opening round.
“For the program, it’s a big step forward, it’s been what we’ve been striving for all year, giving ourselves a chance for a…
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