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In nature, the tiger is an independent hunter, but at RIT, the Tigers have formed a by-committee family that has sparked an encouraging start to the 2019-20 season.
There’s no standout star skater on paper when it comes to the Tigers, but depth contributions via 13 different goal scorers have carried the team to a 7-1-2 overall record.
With the team’s lone loss coming on Oct. 12 against then-No.12 Ohio State, the skill and temperament displayed by an annual national tournament team provide context to the level it takes to compete against the best. Learning that level of play is what has helped the team go undefeated in their seven contests since the loss, with a 5-0-2 record.
Not only has the streak pulled the team to second place in Atlantic Hockey with 14 points (4-0-2), but they’re the only undefeated AH team and sit second in both goals-for (32) and goals against (17).
Even after falling just short of the USCHO Poll last week, the Tigers were once again stymied from their first USCHO national ranking since the 2010-11 season. But not everybody is overlooking them, as “cawlidge hawkey” guru John Buccigross likes what he sees.
NEW 2019 BucciMane #CawlidgeHawkey Top 16????— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) November 10, 2019
2 Minnesota St
3 Minnesota Duluth
4 Notre Dame
7 Penn St
10 North Dakota
11 UMass Lowell
12 Western Michigan
13 Ohio St
14 Boston College
16 RIT pic.twitter.com/LrvahrnN0P
Things are simply falling into place for the Tigers, who have steadily increased their winning percentage in each of the past three seasons. Additionally, there isn’t likely to be a sudden drop-off on the horizon as a mix of class standings throughout the roster supports the scoring committee.
The record can be attributed to continued strong coaching from Wayne Wilson, who has seen and learned quite a bit in this being his 21st season behind the Tigers’ bench. As the only collegiate hockey coach to win both the Edward Jeremiah Award (2001) and Spencer Penrose Award (2010) as the top coach in DIII and DI hockey, respectively, Wilson has his Tigers trending up.
Wilson signed a contract extension back in spring to keep him on board through 2024-25, and his superiors’ trust is paying off quickly. The scoring is balanced and steady while the defense has the fourth-best goals-per-game rate.
The offense wasn’t a problem last season, in which the team went 17-17-4, but where no standout skater was previously mentioned, goaltender Logan Drackett has carried the Tigers to the next level.
If the team is a committee, Drackett’s vote may go the furthest. Like the Tigers, Drackett has steadily increased his numbers in the past three seasons, leading to him being the only netminder to see the crease for RIT this season.
Only three other goalies in the NCAA have seen more ice time this season, but Drackett has stayed fresh each outing with a 7-1-2 record; he sits eighth with a 1.68 goals against average, fifth with a .943 save percentage, and tied first with two shutouts.
So long as the committee continues in Rochester, the Tigers could be headed to their fourth DI national tournament in program history, a stage where they’ve gone 3-3 under Wilson, who has made sure they battle every second of the game and take nothing for granted as Atlantic Hockey conference winners.
Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @Jacob_Messing.