2024 American International vs RIT - Final

2024 Atlantic Hockey Championship Preview: RIT Hosts AIC

2024 Atlantic Hockey Championship Preview: RIT Hosts AIC

The stage is set for the 2024 Atlantic Hockey Championship, as No. 1 seed RIT hosts the original No. 5-seeded AIC.

Mar 20, 2024 by Jacob Messing
2024 Atlantic Hockey Championship Preview: RIT Hosts AIC

The stage is set for the 2024 Atlantic Hockey Championship, as No. 1 seed RIT hosts the original No. 5-seeded AIC.

The single-game championship will take place Saturday at 7:05 p.m. Eastern at the home rink of RIT, the Gene Polisseni Center.

RIT and AIC have combined for the last six Atlantic Hockey regular-season titles.

AIC claimed the honor from 2019-2022, and RIT has claimed the last two titles (2023 and 2024).

Don’t miss a second of the action Saturday. Livestream the Atlantic Hockey Championship – and much more – right here on FloHockey all season long.

Regardless of the outcome of Saturday’s game, either AIC or RIT will have claimed Atlantic Hockey’s berth into the NCAA Division Men’s Ice Hockey Championship in six of the past nine seasons, excluding the canceled 2020 tournament.

No. 2 AIC At No. 1 RIT 

RIT: 15-5-3-3 AHA, 26-10-2 overall (including AHA Postseason)
AIC: 11-9-3-3 AHA, 20-15-4 overall (including AHA Postseason)
Season Series: 1-0-0-1, RIT

AIC coach Eric Lang’s stacked team that won four consecutive regular-season titles from 2019-2022 is a win away from another berth in the national tournament after a pair of underwhelming seasons by Yellow Jackets standards.

But a late-season surge of five straight contests that added points to the standings helped the Jackets earn a first-round bye. Then, the Jackets swept Air Force to line themselves up with 2023 runner-up Holy Cross.

A 5-2 opening-game loss was tighter than the scoreboard suggested, with a pair of empty net goals from the Crusaders. The Jackets took the next two games with a 3-0 shutout and 3-1 win, respectively.

Freshman netminder Nils Wallstrom continued his stellar season, stopping 76 of 77 shots in the two wins for a .987 save percentage and 0.50 goals-against average.

Wallstrom now sits with a .921 SV% and 2.24 GAA on the season, along with two shutouts and a 19-11-2 record. He’s allowed more than two goals in just two of his past 12 starts.

AIC is looking for its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2022, where it lost in the regional semifinals to No. 1 Michigan.

But a dangerous RIT team will be eyeing its first NCAA Tournament since 2016, where it was shut out by overall No. 1 and national runner-up Quinnipiac, 4-0.

The Tigers return with a majority of their 2022-2023 roster and some unfinished business, after running away with the regular-season title with a 10-point buffer.

The Tigers are winners of six straight and have lost in regulation in just two of their past 16 outings. During that span, the offense has scored at least four goals 11 times.

Their winning streak has been on the back of recording at least five goals four times.

Their offensive leaders are pacing the way, but nearly every player has managed a point during those six games.

Sweeps over Canisius, Robert Morris (quarterfinal) and Niagara (semifinal), have the Tigers ready to earn a spot on the national stage and in a strong position for their first Frozen Four appearance since 2010.

RIT also holds the season series against AIC, with a 5-2 win and 3-2 overtime loss, earning four of six points.

“The biggest game is obviously the next one, and we’re all itching to put a ring on our finger and hoist the cup,” Tigers forward Carter Wilkie told Kevin Oklobzija of Pickin’ Splinters.

Livestream the Atlantic Hockey Championship right here on FloHockey on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. EDT.

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Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @Jacob_Messing.