Photo Credit:Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photogrpaphy
Since coming to AIC, Brian Rigali has had the biggest impact on a scoresheet of his five year college career playing for the school he almost went to four years ago. The graduate transfer is taking advantage of AIC’s superb MBA program off the ice, and today put forth an effort that had his group in the business of scoring goals. Rigali now has 17 points in his last 12 games for AIC and already has a career year in goals, assists, and in points in nearly half the time of his best season at UConn.
Rigali’s offense drove AIC forward in the positive, but Head Coach Eric Lang was not happy about the defensive lapses his team had. They allowed a skilled Mercyhurst team to push back into the game multiple times, and nearly gave up Mercyhurst’s third extra attacker goal in their last two games. Lang said this on the things that must change. “We will have to be eternities better tomorrow. We didn’t meet the standard in terms of effort and execution today. In fact we weren’t even close.”As to what the Lakers did and AIC didn’t do that lead to Lang saying that he also said “We had a lot of holes in our game today. Credit Mercyhurst for capitalizing on our mistakes. We were loose, reckless with the puck, and did things that will ultimately cost us hockey games. The beauty of the sport we play, is when you don’t play the right way, it’s extremely punitive.”
Lang did credit one player for his work as the best non goal scorer of the night. He said of Austen Long who is earning himself more playing time every night “ Austen Long continues to be one of the best players on the ice. His effort, energy, and leadership is top notch.”
As to Mercyhurst’s best player, Lang had some interesting things to say motivated in part by the chirps of said player.Lang said “ They are loaded with skill up and down their line up.They transition extremely well and if you give them chances off the rush they can make you pay.” Dante Sheriff had one of the best nights for the Lakers and Lang singled him out as a player who had a superb evening with a goal and one who drove play for the Lakers pretty frequently.
For AIC to have a game more to their style, they need to start and finish like they did in the third. Mercyhurst threatened, but AIC held firm and did not allow any markers.
For Mercyhurst , Head Coach Rick Gotkin said of his team’s effort “Not much really changed I thought the game played out pretty much the way we thought. AIC does not give you a lot. We had a couple of good chances to make it 5-5 but we did not capitalize on them.”
He added as his team came close to again coming back with an extra attacker goal “We really like our team we have a lot of very good parts. We are missing a few of those parts but other guys have stepped up for us as has been the case all year. We are close but we need to find away to get over the hump on a consistent basis.”
Like Austen Long, Gotkin praised one of his consistent players who didn’t score today. Of Paul Maust he said “We had a few non goal scorers like Paul that played good. Paul just works and works and works pretty much all the time. He really does a lot of the tough hard stuff that others sometimes really don’t want to do.”
Gotkin summed up what his team has to work on succinctly. He said “at the end of the day if you have to score 6 goal to win that’s very tough especially against a team like AIC.”
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