R.I.T. Not Intimidated By DU

(above) R.I.T. has nothing to lose on Friday afternoon

From: Troy Record
by Ed Weaver

Rochester Institute of Technology vs. University of Denver in the first round of the NCAA Hockey Tournament appears like a good-sized mismatch on paper; it’s David vs. Goliath.

Remember, though, Goliath has won previous such meetings in recent seasons.

The Tigers, 26-11-1 and the 2nd-ranked Pioneers (27-9-6) clash at 3 p.m. today in the East Region opener at the Times Union Center.

Sixth-ranked Cornell at No. 12 New Hampshire clash at 6:30

The unranked Tigers, Atlantic Hockey conference champions of both the regular-season and playoffs, don’t view themselves as a ‘David’, don’t look upon top-seeded Denver as a ‘Goliath’ and is loose and confident coming into the event.

“I’m not really looking at it like ‘David and Goliath’”, said RIT coach Wayne Wilson. “I don’t think we can look at it that way. We think we have a good hockey team and we know we’re playing an exceptional team. They weren’t ranked that high (No. 2 nationally, formerly No. 1) for nothing.

“We’re worried about ourselves,” Wilson said. “How are we going to play and what can we do and are we going to be able to execute and do the things we like to do. If we start focusing too much on what Denver is doing, (then) we're trying to be a different team and we don’t want to do that.”

Remember, again, some of the big upsets and near upsets of the past:

Fifteen seed Holy Cross shocked No. 2 Minnesota in 2006; Niagara, the 12th seed, whipped fifth seed New Hampshire, 4-1 in 2000, the first season the smaller conferences, College Hockey America Atlantic Hockey were awarded automatic bids to the NCAA tourney; Bemidji State whipped No. 1 Notre Dame, 5-1 last season (then beat Cornell, 4-1);

Second overall seed Miami had to go overtime to beat Air Force, 3-2 in 2008;

Mercyhurst lost by one goal to two highly-ranked teams — Michigan (4-3) in 2001, and 5-4 to No. 1-ranked Boston College in 2005.

And also, in 2005, long before Bemidji became the Top 10 team the Beavers are now, Denver needed overtime to dispatch them, 4-3.

Center Cameron Burt, RIT’s leading scorer, echoed Wilson, saying, “We’re just 16 hockey teams (in the entire tournament). We all made it to the same place. I think we’re just really worried about ourselves, the game and what we’re going to bring. If we win, it’s great.”

Longtime Denver head coach George Gwozdecky also addressed the above question and said his players “respect the heck out of” RIT and will not be over-confident.

“I think everyone who follows college hockey, whether you’re a fan, a coach or a player, understands that in the final 16, every team is good, competitive, and has earned their way in here. There may be big schools versus small schools or non-traditional schools against well-known schools but every game is challenging. There is no easy game.

“We’ve watched and played against teams from Atlantic Hockey (the Pioneers needed overtime to beat Air Force, 2-1) and we know how good RIT is,” Gwozdecky added. “We watched them play on tape and (have) endless scouting reports. We’re old enough and experienced enough to know that ... every game is a challenge and if you don’t show up (focused and intense), you’re setting yourself up for failure. It’s one of the things this team had learned over the course of this year.”

Be sure; the Tigers, the only unranked team in the East Regional, are a clear underdog but they come in loose, relaxed and on a 10-game winning streak.

“I think our mindset has been tremendous,” Wilson said. “Monday, I wasn’t sure if we were going to be so full of ourselves, giddy or just (plain) excited about this weekend, or if we were going to be nervous, scared or what … but it was really business as usual. The guys have been very level-headed.”

“We’re very relaxed, and we’re excited to be here” RIT captain Dan Ringwold said. “We’ve had a great stretch the past couple months, playing our best hockey. We've had great practices this week. So, we’re just excited and we're going to bring our best this weekend.”


achsdu17 said...

They shouldn't be.

Anything can happen in the tournament and RIT has just as good of a chance to win it all like we do.

Anonymous said...

Holy Cross. Clap, Clap.

Anonymous said...

"IF" DU plays like the DU we all know and love.... RIT and the city of Albany won't have a friggin clue happened.
C'mon boys! it's "Shock and Awe" time!

Anonymous said...

Go R.I.T. Go !!!! Show everyone you know how to play the game. We are cheering for you in Sherwood Park, Ab. "Canada"