The RIT women’s hockey team unveiled its inaugural Division I schedule for the 2012-13 season on Tuesday, May 29. The Tigers, two months removed from winning the 2012 NCAA Division III Women’s Ice Hockey Championship, will play 34 regular season games and one exhibition contest. RIT will play 15 regular season home games at Ritter Arena on the campus of RIT.
RIT will compete in College Hockey America, alongside Lindenwood, Mercyhurst, Penn State, Robert Morris, and Syracuse. The Tigers will play four games against each opponent, two at home, and two on the road, and is eligible for the postseason tournament.
On Sunday, Sept. 23, RIT hosts the Oakville (Ontario) Hornets of the Provincial Women’s Hockey League in an exhibition contest at 3 p.m.
From there, RIT plays its first two games as a Division I program, hosting College Hockey America opponent and perennial power Mercyhurst on Sept. 28-29 at Ritter Arena. Mercyhurst is 336-92-29 since becoming a Division I program in 1999. The Lakers have made eight straight NCAA Tournament appearances and are 127-6-9 in CHA play.
After a trip to play two games at Sacred Heart on Oct. 5-6, RIT hosts Princeton on Oct. 19 and Yale on Oct. 20 as part of Brick City Homecoming and Family Weekend.
“The team is really excited about next year’s schedule,” said Head Coach Scott McDonald. “Obviously with the transition to Division I and our full membership into College Hockey America, we are going to be facing the strongest competition in the country every game now. Playing national powerhouse Mercyhurst University on the first weekend will give us a real quick reality check as to where our level of play is, and where it needs to be.”
RIT travels to play strong Division I programs North Dakota and Ohio State in consecutive weekends to end November and begin December. In addition, the Tigers play two games at Brown and one at Colgate of the ECAC in November, then host Colgate for one contest and Sacred Heart for two in January.
RIT plays its final 10 games against conference foes. The Tigers host Syracuse for a single game on Nov. 9, then face the Orange on the road 10 days later before playing a home-and-home on Feb. 8-9. The Tigers face Penn State, also in its first season as a Division I program twice on the road in late October, before the Nittany Lions make the return trip to Ritter Arena on Feb. 15-16.
The Tigers travel to defending CHA Champion Robert Morris for two games to ring in 2013 on Jan. 4-5, then host the Colonials on Jan. 26-27 at Ritter Arena. CHA newcomer Lindenwood, in its second season as a Division I program, comes to RIT for two games on Dec. 14-15, before RIT travels to Missouri to complete the season series on Feb. 1-2.
The 2013 College Hockey America playoffs begin with a best-of-three series for the third through sixth place finishers from March 1-3. The top two teams get a first round bye. The CHA Tournament Semifinals and Championship will be held on March 8-9 at the home of the regular season champion.
RIT is ineligible to compete in the NCAA Tournament until the 2014-15 season due to a mandatory two-year probationary period when moving up from Division III to Division I.
“We’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to compete in conference championships and national tournaments where the pressure to perform is at an all time high,” said McDonald, who is 135-22-10 in six seasons at RIT. “I believe that experience will only help our program transition to the next level of competition. Everything will be different this year because we are going to be the clear cut underdogs in many games, but we’re ready to embrace that role, and face all of our new challenges head on.”
RIT set a Division III record with 28 wins in 2011-12, finishing 28-1-1. The Tigers were 54-3-3 over the past two seasons and 135-22-11 since the start of the 2006-07 season.
Season and single game ticket information will be released at a later date at www.ritathletics.com.