MOON TOWNSHIP, PA – Senior goaltender Ali Binnington (Oakville, Ontario/Mississauga Chiefs) stopped all 31 shots she faced for her school record 19th career shutout, as the sixth-seeded RIT women’s hockey team (13-18-5) defeated the third-seeded Roberts Morris Colonials (11-19-5) 1-0 at 84 Lumber Arena on Saturday afternoon in game two of the CHA First Round series. RIT wins the series 2-0 and advances to face top-seeded Mercyhurst in the CHA Semifinal from the Mercyhurst Ice Center on Friday, March 6 at a time to be determined.
“Today was a complete team win,” said RIT head coach Scott McDonald. “We got out to a great start like we wanted to and let the defense take over from there.”
Senior Lindsay Grigg (Oakville, Ontario/Oakville Hornets) scored the only goal of the game just 3:11 after the opening puck drop to get the Tigers a quick 1-0 lead. Grigg sniped a shot coming down the left side on a rush with a pass from sophomore Caitlin Wallace (Brantford, Ontario/Assumption Collegiate). Taylor Thurston (Kanata, Ontario/All Saints Catholic) also assisted on the goal. Grigg’s goal is her sixth of the season and fourth game-winner of her career.
Grigg’s last game-winner was in the 2014 CHA Championship game in the second overtime to defeat Mercyhurst 2-1.
Binnington made 31 saves for her fifth shutout of the season and 19th of her RIT career, passing Melissa Norris ’01 for the school mark. She lowered her goals against average to 1.78 and upped her save percentage to .936 this season. Binnington is now 9-1 all-time in the postseason at RIT.
“Ali (Binnington) was great in goal for us,” said McDonald. “She was seeing the puck well and showed why she is one of the top goalies in the country.”
Binnington was incredible in net, stopping 12 Colonial shots in each of the first two periods. Maddie Collias of Robert Morris looked to tie the game late in the first, blasting a shot from up top with two players screening Binnington in front. The shot was tipped just wide of the far post. With just under eight minutes in the second period the Colonials broke down the ice in a 2-on-1. Jessica Gazzola blasted a shot from the right side, but Binnington was able to make a quick glove save.
The Tiger defense was strong, killing off five Colonial power-plays. RIT blocked a total of 31 shots to keep the Colonials scoreless, including the last minute and forty seconds that Robert Morris pulled the goalie and had an extra player on the ice.
Jessica Dodds made 13 saves in net for Robert Morris in the loss. RIT ended the Colonials season for the second straight year.
Robert Morris out-shot RIT, 31-14. The Tigers were 0-for-1 in the man-advantage, while the Colonials were 0-for-5.
“We played with confidence and poise at key times,” said McDonald. “We are excited to advance and play in the semifinals next weekend.”
RIT is 22-12 all-time in postseason contests at the Division I and III levels, since women’s hockey was recognized as a NCAA Championship sport in 2001. RIT is 19-7 in the postseason and 8-1 at the Division I level since Scott McDonald took over as the head coach in 2006. RIT is 6-0 all-time in the CHA First Round series.
The 2015 senior class now has a 13-1 postseason mark with a Division III national championship and a Division I CHA championship.
Today was the sixth meeting between the two schools this season, as RIT won the season series, 3-1-2. The two teams split a series at RIT back on Jan. 9-10 and ended both games in identical 2-2 ties at Robert Morris on Feb. 13-14. The Tigers are 9-6-3 all-time against the Colonials.
Last night, Emilee Bulleid (Waterdown, Ontario/Stoney Creek Sabres), Mackenzie Stone (Kars, Ontario/South Carleton), and Wallace scored for the Tigers to lift RIT to a 3-1 win over the Colonials in game one. Bullied also added an assist.