ALBANY, N.Y. - The 20th-ranked and fourth-seeded Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) scored three goals 1:34 apart in the second period to break a 1-1 deadlock and lift the Tigers to a 6-2 win over the 12th-ranked University of New Hampshire men's hockey team on Saturday night at the 2010 NCAA East Regional finals held at Albany's Times Union Center. The Tigers advance to their first Frozen Four in program history.
UNH, which qualified for the NCAA tournament for the ninth-straight season, finishes 18-14-7 overall. RIT, which has now won 12-straight games, improves to 28-11-1 overall. New Hampshire Bobby Butler (Marlboro, Mass.) was named to the All-Regional Team for his efforts over the weekend.
The Tigers potted three goals in a span of 1:34 to break the 1-1 deadlock and take a 4-1 lead into the second intermission. RIT struck with a pair of goals just 13 seconds apart at 13:23 and 13:26. The first goal was a transition tally by Tyler Brenner with assists from Andrew Favot and Chris Saracino. The second came off a turnover in the neutral zone that setup Brent Alexin for an unassisted goal. The Tigers tallied again just over a minute later as Stevan Matic scored on the rebound of a Sean Murphy shot at 14:57 of the period. Cameron Burt was also credited with an assist on the play. Overall, the Tigers held a commanding 18-6 shot advantage in the frame.
Leading 4-1, the Tigers scored to make it 5-1 as Brenner scored at 10:01 of the third period. UNH scored to make it 5-2 as Blake Kessel (Verona, Wis.) scored on the rebound of a Brett Kostolansky (Denver, Colo.) shot, who was credited with an assist on the goal at 17:31 of the third. RIT's Tyler Mazzei would add an empty-netter at 18:06 to conclude scoring at 6-2.
Neither team could do much offensively early, but it was RIT breaking the deadlock with a shot from the top of the offensive zone from defenseman Chris Haltigin, who scored at 14:10 of the first with assists from Tyler Mazzei. The Wildcats potted the equalizer at 19:01 of the period as Phil DeSimone (East Amherst, N.Y.) redirected a Kostolansky shot from the left point. Damon Kipp's (Salmon Arm, British Columbia) fired a one timer from the left point that caromed off the boards to Kostolansky, he was credited with a secondary assist. New Hampshire held a slim 8-7 shot advantage.
UNH netminder Brian Foster stopped 27 shots, but falls to 17-14-7, while RIT's Jared DeMichiel turned away 24 shots and improves to 27-9-1 overall.
The Tigers held a 33-26 shot advantage. RIT was 0-6 on the power play, while UNH was 0-3 on its extra-skater opportunities.
UNH captured its eighth Hockey East regular season title and third in the last four years and qualified for the tournament for the ninth-straight season. The game was the final one for seniors Butler, Foster, Peter LeBlanc (Hamilton, Ontario) and Nick Krates (Palos Park, Ill.).