It’s all come down to this. One weekend to decide to who will go to the NCAA Tournament and who will go home. Niagara, Mercyhurst, RIT and Air Force will battle it out in Rochester, N.Y. this weekend. All four teams finished just two points apart at the end of the regular season. Here’s how the teams got here last weekend.
Meryhurst - The Lakers are going back to Rochester for the first time since 2009. But it wasn’t easy getting there. The Lakers were forced to go three games against Holy Cross. In the Lakers two wins against Holy Cross, they surrendered two goals. In their loss they gave up three. Daniel Bahntage and Matthew Zay each scored twice in the three games. Daniel O’Donoghue added three assists. In all three games, the Lakers were outshot in every game, including 42-27 in game 3, but Max Strang stood strong.
Niagara – The Purple Eagles were the only team to sweep the quarterfinals. Chris Noonan allowed just one goal in the two games against Robert Morris. Isaac Kohls scored twice and picked up an assist to lead the Purple Eagles offense. Giancarlo Iuorio scored a goal and added two assists. Chris Lochner scored the game winning goal in game with 15 seconds left in the third. This is the Purple Eagles first trip to the AHA semi-finals.
RIT – The Tigers are heading back to Rochester for the fifth straight year. The Tigers became just the second team in AHA history to lose game 1 and come back and win the series. The Tigers fell 4-1 in game before coming back with a double overtime victory in game 2 and then shutting out Bentley in game 3. Shane Madolora’s shut out was his 13th of his career, a RIT record. Taylor McReynolds scored twice and picked up an assist in the three games.
Air Force – The Falcons held off a a resurgent UConn team over the weekend in three games. The Falcons never led by more than one over the weekend but managed to eke out a pair of 4-3 wins to advance for the sixth straight season. Scott Holm scored in each game and added an assist. Adam MacKenzie picked up three assists while Tim Kirby added a goal and two assists. Jason Torf started games 1 and 2 but was pulled in both games in favor of Stephen Caple.