Photo Credit:Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography
Let’s first talk about what happened on the ice: RIT came out and made AIC work. The Yellow Jackets, lead by two goals from Luka Maver, got things to a shootout, earned a point in a 4-4 tie, and thanks to Air Force taking two points against Canisius, they are now seven points away from their fourth straight regular season title in Atlantic Hockey.
Eric Lang had this to say about the results of the night “ 8/12 points for us on the year against those guys. 4 really good points on the road. 5 v 5 I believe it’s something like 20-6 we’ve outscored them. Bonus points for gimmick hockey I will never grade my team on. We were the better team on the weekend and really happy with our efforts.”
Eric Lang was also up front. He was upset about how RIT dealt with officiating, and their responses to everything. From their staff last night to tonight, the Tigers gave off an air of shock that they were getting penalties called on them.
“Accusing a team of diving and laying down. Takes a shot at the integrity of our program and I am quite certain out track record speaks to itself. Six years nobody has ever once accused us of that. So I’m going to get defensive and make sure I’m protecting my players. Honestly, I laughed at the diving stuff. They were whining about it last night too. When you lose by a touchdown I’m almost certain diving had nothing to with it. It’s usually all you have when your team plays with zero discipline. We knew last week we were getting a ton of PPs vs them. They take penalties. That’s what they do. The irony of it’s misconstrued as tough hockey. Running guys from behind, every hit with the hands extended to the head is the furthest thing from tough hockey. We have went an entire season without a hit from behind penalty. Because we as a staff won’t tolerate it. It’s beyond cowardly.”
Tonight he has plenty of reason to be upset, in a second period intermission interview RIT Associate Head Coach Brian Hills had the following things to say about AIC and the officiating. Keep in mind, after he said this, the only team that took any penalties was AIC, including giving the Tigers a power play in overtime. “Every time you hit one of their guys they’re laying on the ice” “sometimes you’ve got to beat the refs to win the game.” “I think the refs will settle down in third.”
That interview happened after the Tigers did multiple things worthy of being called, including hits away from the play, and an elbow that took Brian Rigali out of the game for a few minutes. Rigali came back, but Lang has every right to be mad.
With all of this being said, AIC has an Army West Point team looking to get a better seed in the postseason playing them in two games starting this Thursday. Lang and his team have to get ready now. While they are close to an Atlantic Hockey Championship that’s not the end game. Lang’s group is 20th in the pairwise , and wants to get into the top 16 if possible when they are done playing to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament regardless of their Atlantic Hockey postseason fate.