No. 7 RIT Cruises by Clarkson in Liberty Semifinals

ROCHESTER, NY -- No. 7 RIT (13-2) advanced to the Liberty League championship with a 12-4 win over Clarkson (9-6) in the semifinals on Friday from RIT Field.

The Tigers, the top seed in the tournament, will face No. 11 Union College, the second seed, in the championship game on Sunday afternoon at 12:00 p.m. on RIT Field. The winner will earnt he automatic berth into the Div. III Tournament.

Liberty League Player of the Year, Tyler Russell (Livonia, NY/Livonia), and Liberty League Rookie of the Year, Brendan MacDonald (Georgetown, Ontario/Trinity-Pawling), led the Tigers with three goals apiece. Joradn Collins-Hartwig added three assists, while Kyle Aquin (Hamilton, Ontario/St. Jean De Brebeuf) scored two goals and added an assist. A.J. Tingle (Cary, NC/Green Hope) and Allister Warren (Toronto, Ontario/Malvern Collegiate Institute) each had a goal and an assist.

RIT's defense was stout, holding the Golden Knights to four goals, forcing Clarkson into 16 turnovers, causing six. Sophomore goalie Anthony DeLeo (Canandaigua, NY/Canandaigua Academy) was excellent in net for RIT, making 16 saves. In two games versus Clarkson this season, DeLeo has combined to make 33 saves.

RIT held a 36-30 shot advantage, and won the ground ball battle 40-28. RIT dominated the faceoff "X", winning 15 of 20. Tyler Brooks-Lambert (Seneca Castle, NY/Midlakes) won 8 of 9, while P.J. Hart (Camillus, NY/West Genesee) was 7 of 11. RIT went 2 for 3 with the man advantage, while Clarkson went 1 for 6. The Tigers were 19 of 24 on clearing attemtps, and the Golden Knights were 17 of 21.

Eric Gollands and Matthew Gold each had two goals for Clarkson who finish their season 9-6. Corey Herrington had a pair of assists, while Ryan Cole took the loss in net for Clarkson, allowing 12 goals and making 16 saves.

RIT opened the game scoring the first six goals of the contest. Goals by Aquin and MacDonald gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead after the first quarter.

Warren, Russell, Tingle and Taylor Wisman (Seattle, WA/Inglemoor) each scored in the second quarter to extend the Tigers lead to 6-0, before Gold scored for Clarkson with 2:12 to play in the quarter, to make it 6-1 at the half.

Gold opened the scoring with a man-up goal early in the third quarter to cut the Tigers lead to 6-2.

Russell hooked up with MacDonald for his 39th goal of the season, boosting RIT's lead back to five goals at 7-2.

The Golden Knights held the advantage in the third quarter, cutting the Tigers lead to 7-4 on consecutive goals by Gollands late in the third quarter.

DeLeo made six stops in the quarter to keep the Golden Knights at bay. He stuffed Clarkson's Bryan Huff who was one-on-one with DeLeo at point blank range to keep the Tigers lead at three goals.

RIT took back momentum in the fourth quarter, scoring five straight to put the game away.

MacDonald scored two of RIT's five goals in the quarter, with Russell, Aquin and Ryan Speciale (Painted Post, NY/Corning West) each scoring one.

RIT will face Union for the second time this season. The Tigers defeated the Dutchmen 10-6 back on April 18. RIT exploded for nine goals in the second half, including a career-high six from Jordan Collins-Hartwig. The winner of Sunday's title game will earn the automatic berth into the NCAA Div. III Tournament. RIT won two straight Empire 8 titles in 2010 and 2011, before joining the Liberty League in 2012. Union is the defending Liberty League champion.

2012-05-04



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