Photo Credit: Kelly Shea-AIC Athletics
Coming into their series opener against RIT game, AIC shot 5.8 percent and did not have a game where multiple players were on the cusp of a hat trick as Zak Galambos and Brian Rigali each put up two goals in the series opener. In the opener they lead six players with multi point games and a lineup full of depth and players that all contributed to a 7-3 win against RIT. In the series finale the team took the Tigers to overtime, but lost 3-2, earning 4 of six points on the weekend.
The best individual play of the weekend came from Elijah Barriga. He performed the lacrosse style “Michigan” goal on the back hand on the series finale, it stood out for the skill and creativity needed to make that happen.
Going forward, AIC can take some positives from the weekend heading into a showdown against Providence, and have some things to work on.
This team finally showed it can score in bunches and put up solid puck possiesion numbers against a good team to go with it. RIT has a non conference win against Notre Dame and is the class of Atlantic Hockey this year, and what AIC did against them in the opener and parts of the finale is commendable. In addition, this team is confident in any of its goaltenders but we have now seen Alec Calvaruso put together strong finales where he did not get enough goal support to get a win in either game. In addition to that, the team is able to showcase their depth at other positions, rotating different lines and personnel every single day. Also, this team in terms of top end skill is one of the more under rated in the country, they have the talent to play with anyone, and have come so close to multiple big wins against out of conference opponents. The effort is there, and the process is there, the results still have time to show up.
Areas to improve on
For as good as this team is, they are facing a Providence team that will expose every single mistake they make on Saturday. For them to get their signature non conference win, they have to be better in their own zone and get clears. Providence thrives on quick turnovers and making you pay for your mistakes better than any other team AIC will see this year. In addition, this team has to take less penalties not of effort, but of mental mistakes at key times. AIC was sunk in part by a too many men penalty they took at the end of regulation which gave RIT a power play in overtime that they, like Providence will, did not make a mistake on and buried the game winner on. Looking at how complete of a game Providence played against this group the last time should leave no doubt. Eric Lang’s group is in for a tough challenge. If they can win some more puck battles and make Providence beat them without their own help, they have a chance.
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