ROCHESTER, NY – The two-time defending College Hockey America RIT women’s hockey team unveiled its schedule for the 2015-16 season on Wednesday, June 24. The Tigers, who enter their fourth season at the Division I level, will play 34 regular season games. RIT will play 19 regular season home games and one exhibition contest in its second season at the 4,300-seat Gene Polisseni Center.
RIT competes 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. Last year, the Tigers won their second straight CHA Championship, including a 2-1 double overtime win over Syracuse to win the league title. RIT made its first appearance in the NCAA Division I Tournament, putting up a valiant effort before falling to eventual National Champion Minnesota in the quarterfinals.
On Friday, Sept. 25, RIT hosts the Ottawa Jr. Senators in an exhibition contest before starting the season with four straight games at the Polisseni Center. On Oct. 2-3, Minnesota State University comes to town, while Rensselaer of the ECAC invades Rochester the following weekend.
The Tigers travel to Union on Oct. 23-24, and play a home-and-home series against nearby foe Colgate on Nov. 13-14. The following weekend, RIT hosts Brown University for a pair of games, and closes out the month with home games against Princeton on Nov. 27-28. The Tigers ring in the 2016 calendar year with two away contests at Providence College on Jan. 8-9 to close out the non-conference portion of the schedule.
The Tigers play seven straight games at the Gene Polisseni Center from Nov. 18-Dec. 5 and 13 of 16 over a 10-week span. On Nov. 7, RIT will hold its annual Skate With the Tigers event after its home contest vs. Robert Morris.
“The non-conference schedule will do a great job of preparing us for our rigorous CHA schedule,” said RIT head Scott McDonald, now entering his tenth season behind the bench. “We are fortunate to play teams from every conference and see how we stack up nationally. It is fun to develop rivalries against non-conference opponents and play teams we haven’t seen before.”
RIT plays 20 games against conference foes, including its final 12 regular season contests. The Tigers open league play with a road contest against Syracuse on Wed., Oct. 21. Syracuse comes back to Rochester for a Wednesday night game on Nov. 18 before the two teams play a home-and-home series on Jan. 22-23. RIT went 3-2 against the Orange last season; including the magical double overtime win in the CHA Championship. Eleven of the 14 previous meetings between the two schools have ended as either one-goal games or in ties, with seven going to overtime.
The Tigers return to the Mercyhurst Ice Center, where they won the 2014 and 2015 CHA Championships for a pair of contests against the Lakers on Oct. 30-31. The Lakers come to the Polisseni Center for RIT’s final two regular season home games of the season on Feb. 12-13. The Lakers are 173-17-12 all-time in CHA play. RIT ended Mercyhurst’s run of 10 straight NCAA Tournament appearances with a 4-1 win in the 2015 CHA Semifinal.
RIT hosts Robert Morris for two games at the Polisseni Center on Nov. 6-7 and wraps up the regular season with a weekend series at the Colonials on Feb. 19-20. RIT has ended the Colonials postseason run in each of the last two seasons. The Tigers play two home games against Lindenwood University on Dec. 4-5, then goes west to play the Lady Lions in a pair of games on Feb. 5-6. RIT will play four games against rival Penn State in a span of 15 days. The Tigers host Penn State on Jan. 15-16, and travel to play the Nittany Lions just two weeks later on Jan. 29-30.
“As the two-time defending league champions, we know we will need our ‘A’ game every night, as our opponents will be bringing their top effort,” said McDonald, who is 186-72-23 in nine previous seasons at RIT. “Every point counts, as we have to be physically and mentally prepared for a strong playoff run and title defense.”
The 2016 College Hockey America playoffs begin with a best-of-three series for the third through sixth place finishers from Feb. 26-Feb. 28. The top two teams get a first round bye. For the first time, the CHA Tournament Semifinals and Championship will be held on March 4-5 at the HARBORCENTER in downtown Buffalo.
“It will be fun to play the league semifinal and championship at a neutral site,” said McDonald. “Hopefully we are able to advance and play our best hockey come that time.”
RIT is looking for its third straight league title and second consecutive berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers return 15 players from last season’s squad that won 15 games and advanced to the NCAA National Quarterfinals.
Season and single game ticket information will be released in the near future at www.ritathletics.com and www.rithockey.com. Season ticket package renewals begin July 6, while new season ticket sales start July 22. Single game tickets will go sale in early August. For more information, contact the Gene Polisseni Center box office at (585) 475-2516 or visit www.rithockey.com.