|RIT forward Jess Patton celebrates her second period goal that increased the Tiger’s lead to 2-0 over visiting Lidenwood University Saturday, December 16 at Ritter Arena. It was the first career goal for the first year Nutrition Science major. RIT’s 5-1 win broke a five game losing streak for the team who returned to home after seven straight games on the road.
Ritter Arena was full of energy the evening of Saturday December 15, when the Lady Tigers of RIT took on the Lindenwood Lady Lions on their home ice at Ritter Arena. The game was the Tiger’s first at home after a month-long touring period, as well as their first game in history against the team from Lindenwood University.
The game started out strong for RIT, with five shots on the Lindenwood goal within the first five minutes of play. The pressure had the Lady Lions on the defensive for the entirety of the first period, and RIT nailed their first goal with 7:40 left on the clock. Near the end of the period, however, things took a turn for the worse when third year Journalism major Melissa Bromley had to be helped from the ice after suffering a serious leg injury. A penalty near the end of the period only served to worsen the Tiger’s situation, but the team managed to close the first period ahead with a score of 1-0.
During the second period, the Tigers continued to face difficulties. Less than 3 minutes in, another player collapsed and had to leave the ice after receiving an injury. The furious Tigers immediately began assaulting the Lindenwood goal with numerous shots, with two goals nearly scored within the next few minutes. Finally, at the 10:44 mark, first year Nutrition Management major Jess Paton managed to score RIT’s second goal of the game, her first goal in college hockey. The remainder of the period would prove challenging for RIT, however, when the home team received three consecutive penalties within two minutes. To add insult to injury, Lindenwood also managed to score their first goal with less than three minutes left in the period. The Tigers salvaged the game in the final minutes of the period, however, when they slipped in their third goal of the game with just 1:31 left in the period.
With their two-goal lead over Lindenwood firmly established, RIT dominated the ice in the final period. The Tigers clawed their way to two more goals and continued to seriously out-shoot their competition. Unable to break their opponent’s defense, the Lions would not score again for the remainder of the game. When the buzzer announced the end of the game, the women had won a decisive victory, having outshot their opponents 40-20 with a final score of 5-1.
The victory broke the Lady Tiger’s month-long losing streak. After the game, the players and fans were clearly energized by the long-awaited win. Fourth year Criminal Justice major Ellesha Fortuna noted how difficult the women’s first Division I season has been: “It was a little bit of a tough transition at first, but I think we definitely have a really skilled team. It’s really nice to play at home, since we just finished a really long road series.” Her teammate, first year Diagnostic Medical Sonography major Casidhe Kunichika agreed that the home-ice advantage had been a huge help: “Just being home is a big difference because, being on the road is kind of rough with driving and stuff. Energy was high today, and we kind of played with an edge. I felt like after Mel got hurt we just wanted to take it to them.”
The Lady Lions faced the Tigers again Sunday, December 15, tying 1-1 in overtime.
With the exception of a few games in Pennsylvania, the women’s hockey team will be playing at home for the next few months. If Saturday’s game is any prediction for the future, we can expect to see more victories from the Tigers before the season is over.