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Tigers Crash, Burn At Air Force

Falcons score all four in third period of 4-2 win, sweep RIT out of first place
Air Force (14-7-6, 12-4-5 AHA) scored four third period goals to hand the RIT men's hockey team (15-10-3, 12-6-3 AHA) its second straight loss, 4-2 in front of 2,107 fans at Cadet Ice Arena on Saturday evening. The loss moves the Tigers into a tie for third place in the Atlantic Hockey Association standings. Air Force takes the lead in the conference standings with 29 points.

Mike Colavecchia (Maple, Ontario) and Greg Noyes (Lucan, Ontario) scored for the Tigers, who allowed four goals in a period for the first time this season.

RIT out-shot Air Force, 34-30. RIT was 1-for-5 with the man-advantage, while Air Force was 1-for-6. The Air Force power-play goal snapped RIT's run of 46 of 47 successful penalty kills.

RIT goaltender Shane Madolora (Salinas, CA) stopped 26 shots in defeat. Jason Torf made 32 saves to earn his third straight win over RIT.

Air Force erased a 1-0 RIT lead by scoring twice a span of 1:11 early in the third period. Just 50 seconds in, Adam McKenzie picked up his own rebound at the side of the net and beat Madolora between the legs to tie the game. Tim  Kirby was then able to walk in from the point and wrist a shot past Madolora to the far side to make it 2-1.

RIT had 27 seconds of a 5-on-3 power-play midway through the period, but could not convert.  Air Force made it 3-1 on a power-play goal of its own, as Scott Mathis banked in a shot from behind the net off the skate of Madolora and in.

The Tigers cut it to 3-2 with 1:03 left in regulation, with Madolora pulled, as Noyes fired a shot through a screen from the high slot that eluded Torf. Chris Haltigin (Oakville, Ontario) and Matt Garbowsky (St. George, Ontario/St. John's Collegiate) assisted on the goal.

RIT had one good chance in the final 35 seconds, as a point shot from Haltigin deflected off a Tiger in front and beat Torf, but just skittered wide. Tony Thomas picked up a loose puck at the RIT blueline seconds later and found Casey Kleisiniger, who scored into the open net to close out the scoring.

The Tigers came out much sharper in the first period than in last night's game, generating good offensive zone pressure despite the scoreless tie after 20 minutes of play.

RIT's best two chances came from Greg Noyes (Lucan, Ontario) and Brad McGowan (Langley, British Columbia/Walnut Grove). Noyes took a feed from #Mark Cornacchia on a 3-on-2 shorthanded rush and had a point blank chance from the slot, but was denied by Torf. Later in the period, McGowan took a feed from Matt Garbowsky (St. George, Ontario/St. John's Collegiate) and found himself alone in tight. He tried to deke Torf, but could not get the puck over his outstretched pad at the left side of the Falcons net.

Madolora was rock solid over the first 20 minutes as well.  He robbed Paul Weisgarber in front after a shot from the deflected right to the Air Force forward in the slot.  He tried to beat Madolora to the far side, but the RIT goaltender was able to slide across and make a great save. Moments later, Madolora showed a lightning quick glove hand, snaring a blast from Alex Halloran from 30-feet out.

RIT got the only goal in a hotly contested second period, as Colavecchia took a feed from Adam Hartley (West Vancouver, British Columbia) at the Air Force blue-line, came in alone on Torf and snapped a shot over the blocker for his team-leading 12th goal of the season, seventh coming on the power-play with 3:59 left in the period.

Madolora's best save of the period came on a Falcons power-play, when he made the initial save on a shot by Scott Mathis, then stuck the right pad out to deny John Kruse on a stuff in attempt.

Tonight's game was the third of three meetings between the two teams this season, with RIT earning a hard-fought 3-1 win over the Falcons at Ritter Arena on Nov. 11 behind two goals from Bryan Potts (Niagara Falls, Ontario) and 25 saves from Madolora. Last night, Torf made 25 saves in a 3-0 Falcons win. Casey Kleisinger, Chad Demers, and John Kruse scored for Air Force.

It is just the second time in six seasons that RIT has been swept in an AHA weekend series. The only other time that occurred was also at Air Force on Oct. 23-24, 2009.

RIT and Air Force has developed into one of the best and most competitive rivalries in all of college hockey, as Air Force now leads all-time series between the two schools, 16-14-3. Since the start of the 2005-06 season, RIT is 11-14-3 against Air Force.

In seven trips to Air Force since 2005, the Tigers are 0-7 on the first night or lone game of the weekend series. RIT is now 2-2-2 in the second night if the weekend series. The previous five games all went to overtime.

RIT returns to action on Thursday, as they travel to Buffalo State Ice Arena to face-off against AHA rical Canisius at 7:05 p.m. two nights later, the Tigers will "Make the Rink Pink" as they host Canisius at 7:05 p.m.
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