The RIT men’s hockey team unveiled its 2012-13 schedule on Tuesday. The Tigers, now entering their eighth season at the Division I level, will play 34 regular season games and one exhibition contest. RIT, just two years removed from a Frozen Four Appearance in 2010, will play 14 regular season home games at Ritter Arena on the campus of RIT and one regular season contest at the Blue Cross Arena in downtown Rochester.
The Tigers will play Division I newcomer Penn State University at Blue Cross Arena during Brick City Homecoming and Family Weekend on Saturday, October 20 at 7:05 p.m. It is the fourth straight year RIT will be home during its annual homecoming weekend. RIT has drawn sellout crowds of 10,556 fans during the last two Brick City Weekends against UMass Lowell and St. Lawrence.
On Saturday, October 6, RIT hosts Ottawa University of Ontario in an exhibition contest at 7:05 p.m.
From there, RIT heads on the road to play two games at historic Yost Arena against perennial power University of Michigan on Oct, 11-12. It will be the first ever meeting between the two schools. Michigan has won nine NCAA National Championships and has a streak of 22 straight NCAA Tournament berths.
In addition to the two road games at Michigan, RIT plays a single non-conference road game at Colgate on Oct. 26, then travels north to play St. Lawrence for a pair of contests to ring in 2013 on Jan. 4-5. RIT’s lone home contest at Ritter Arena against a non-conference foe will be on Friday, Nov. 23 against Clarkson. Four of RIT’s seven non-conference games are against ECAC opponents.
“It will be another exciting season of hockey as we have challenged ourselves with another difficult schedule,” said RIT Head Coach Wayne Wilson. “Playing Michigan is always a difficult task but playing them at Yost (Arena) makes it that much more challenging. We are again excited to be playing at Blue Cross Arena where we will welcome Penn State to Division I hockey. We have sold out two years in a row and next year’s ticket will be even more difficult to get after beating St Lawrence last year in what might have been one of the most exciting games in our Division I history.”
The Tigers will play Atlantic Hockey Association western pod foes Air Force, Canisius, Mercyhurst, Niagara, and Robert Morris three times, and play two games apiece against eastern teams American International, Army, Bentley, Connecticut, Holy Cross, and Sacred Heart. In all, 27 of RIT’s 34 games will be against Atlantic Hockey Association opponents.
RIT opens AHA regular season play with a home contest against rival Robert Morris on October 25 at Ritter Arena, starting at 7:05 p.m. The Tigers play two contests at Robert Morris on Feb. 8-9.
RIT plays a Sunday night game at Air Force, the two-time defending Atlantic Hockey Champions on Dec. 2 at 8:05 p.m. The Falcons then make the trek to play two games at Ritter Arena on Feb. 22-23. The Tigers play rival Canisius at home on Nov. 10, then end the regular season with a home-and home with Golden Griffins, home on March 1 and in Buffalo on March 2. The Tigers play single home games against Mercyhurst (Nov. 9), and Niagara (Jan. 25), then go on the road to play each squad twice more.
RIT plays its final 16 games against conference foes. The Tigers host AHA eastern pod competitors Sacred Heart on Dec. 7-8, Bentley on Jan. 11-12, and Connecticut on Feb. 1-2. RIT then travels to play two games at American International, Holy Cross, and Army.
The Atlantic Hockey Association playoffs begin with a best-of-three series for the fifth through twelfth place finishers from March 8-10. The top four teams get a first round bye. Quarterfinal action will be held at the top-four sites from March 15-17. The Atlantic Hockey Association Tournament Semifinals and Championship will be held on March 22-23 at the Blue Cross Arena for the seventh straight season.
RIT will look to earn its second berth in the NCAA Tournament as a Division I program. The 2013 NCAA Division I Tournament begins on March 29, and ends with the Frozen Four on April 11 and April 13 at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.
“These games will all prepare us for another exciting and difficult league schedule as we hope to get back to the NCAA’s this year,” said Wilson, now entering his 14th season behind the bench at RIT. “We look forward to this year’s challenges and hope to see everyone at our games.”
Last season, RIT finished with a 20-13-6 record and advanced to the AHA Championship game for the third straight season. RIT has recorded five straight AHA Semifinals berths and is 130-72-27 since the start of the 2006-07 season.