Full disclosure: I missed the end of this game. I had to head out the door at the end of the third quarter and with No. 2 RIT trailing No. 1 Stevenson 13-7, I felt OK about the decision. Later, while browsing Twitter, I found out how the game ended and was not just shocked, but incredibly angry with myself. RIT had come back from six goals down to top Stevenson 15-14 in overtime in what has be an early candidate for game of the year.
Based on the way the first quarter ended, it’s a wonder that RIT was able to get back in this game at all. Stephen Banick and Connor Curro tallied goals just 11 seconds apart with Curro’s coming with just seven seconds on the clock. Suddenly a 5-3 game which seemed manageable had the early makings of a blowout at 7-3 after 15 minutes.
The second quarter ended with a similar amount of drama, this time it was RIT getting the last tally though. Brendan MacDonald took a pass from Matt Hossack with one second remaining and put it past Dimitri Pecunes, Kyle Aquin opened the second half scoring and it looked like RIT might be on the comeback trail. A three-goal by Stevenson erased any thoughts of that however, and the Mustangs led 13-7 after three quarters and seemed to be in total control of the game.
This is when I left and RIT got hot. Ryan Lee opened the scoring for RIT, but Tony Rossi matched him 57 seconds later. Then Baird Wilber, Eddie Kisa, Casey Jackson twice, Allister Warren scored to make it a one-goal game. Then Jackson completed his final-two-minute hat trick with no time left on the clock to send the game to over time.
Then, with 2:17 left in the overtime period, the comeback was complete. Taylor Wisman netted the game-winner on an extra-man opportunity, sending the Tigers bench into a frenzy and dropping the No. 1 team from its perch.
This was the second overtime game Stevenson has played this year and after coming out on top against York the previous game, the Mustangs luck ran out on Saturday. There is still plenty of time for Stevenson to find itself and it wouldn’t be stretching the realm of possibility to assert they may not lose again until Memorial Day, but the title defense isn’t off to the hottest of starts.
Give some credit to RIT, though. The Tigers never went away and when they got hold of the momentum they rode its wave until the clock struck zeroes.
Leading Scorers: RIT—Warren (1 goal, 5 assists, 6 points); Stevenson—Glen Tomkins (5 goals, 5 points)
Goalkeepers: RIT—Pat Johnston (W, 14 GA, 17 saves); Stevenson—Pecunes (L, 15 GA, 14 saves)
Faceoffs: RIT—Tyler Brooks-Lambert (10-25), Matt Hossack (2-6); Stevenson—Justin Buonomo (11-15), Brent Hiken (8-16)
Special Teams: RIT—(2-6, Kyle Aquin, Wisman); Stevenson—(1-5, Tomkins)