The Syracuse hockey team rolled to a 4-1 win over RIT on Friday to move into sole possession of second place in the CHA standings with one game remaining in the regular season.
A win or a tie against RIT in tomorrow’s regular season finale guarantees the Orange the No. 2 seed in the CHA Playoffs and the first-round bye that accompanies it.
Junior Melissa Piacentini had a big night for the Orange posting a goal and two assists, while Alysha Burriss scored twice and Allie LaCombe added two assists in the contest.
Burriss got the Orange on the board 6:18 into the game when she was setup on a breakaway by Danielle Leslie and LaCombe. Burriss beat goaltender Allie Binnington for the score to get ‘Cuse on the board.
The Tigers got their best chance of the game at the beginning of the second period, when a shot was saved by Syracuse goaltender Jenn Gilligan but the puck stalled in front of the goal line with Gilligan taken out of the play. The ‘Cuse net minder reached back and stopped RIT from capitalizing on the rebound.
The play led to another breakaway from Burriss who beat Binnington five-hole, but the RIT goaltender swung her back skate at the last second to keep the puck out of the net. The referees went to the monitor to review the wild sequence but determined that both goaltenders kept the puck out.
It was less than two minutes later that Piacentini put ‘Cuse ahead 2-0 on a power play attempt. She added her when she deflected a shot from Akane Hosoyamada past Binnington. Nicole Renault also added an assist on the play.
The goal was the 11th power play goal of the season for Piacentini, which leads the nation.
The Tigers couldn’t capitalize on any of their power play chances, going 0-for-6 on the evening, upping Syracuse’s recent string of success on the PK to allowing just three goals in its last 33 attempts.
Heading into the third period, Alysha Burriss upped the ‘Cuse cushion to 3-0 when she tipped a quick tape-to-tape pass from LaCombe into the back of the net on a two-on-one break. Piacentini also recorded an assist on the goal.
Heather Schwarz kept the Orange rolling under a minute later when she scored off a feed from Piacentini to cap off Syracuse’s scoring.
Schwarz’s goal signaled an end to Binnington’s night as Brooke Stoddart came on to replace her following the goal.
The Tigers’ Mackenzie Stone put RIT on the board with less than four minutes remaining when she beat Gilligan on a rebound. Taylor Thurston and Caitlin Wallace recorded the RIT assists.
The goal was the lone blemish on an otherwise solid night from Gilligan, who made 31 saves in the win, her most since she made 44 in a 2-1 win over North Dakota on Jan. 11.
Syracuse will conclude its regular season on Saturday at 3 p.m. at RIT.