RIT Tigers hockey putting together historic season
HENRIETTA, N.Y. (WHEC) – The RIT Tigers hockey team is trending toward its most successful season in over a decade.
During the 2009-10 season, nothing could come in the way of the RIT Tigers hockey team. After starting the season 0-4-1, the Tigers went on an unbelievable run, winning 28 of their next 36 games, including a 12-game winning streak that brought the team to the Frozen Four.
They would eventually lose to the Wisconsin Badgers, but it was a run that has yet to be matched. 13 years later, and that’s still the only Frozen Four appearance in program history.
This year might be the Tigers’ best chance at changing that. Right now, the Tigers are 18-7-1 with eight regular season games remaining. They’re in first place of the AHA, which should bode well for the conference tournament.
Should the Tigers finish strong, they have a case to reach the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in program history and first time since 2016.
“I think our culture from day one when we got here in August changed a lot. We really dialed into the winning culture and really wanting to make sure that, because we know we have the guys, we put everything together so we can go for a championship,” said senior forward Elijah Gonsalves.
Gonsalves’ view of the Tigers’ culture being special this season was echoed by head coach Wayne Wilson.
“When you talk about team efforts, I think this exemplifies what I guess every coach is looking for, not relying on a couple people or a couple of situations. It’s been truly a team effort,” said Wilson.
But this edition of the RIT Tigers hockey team is different. The team is winning 75% of its games and is finding different ways to win games.
“I think the biggest thing for our team this year is that we’ve got great balance,” said Wilson. “Even if we have an off night, our goalie alone can win us a game and if he’s having an off night, we seem to be able to score when we need to score.”
The secret sauce is not a tough recipe to follow. The Tigers just know how to follow it better than most teams.
“I think we made a really big effort to gel the guys together early. As older guys, really got to know the younger guys quicker and got to bond that relationship and friendship, which is very valuable for successful teams,” said Gonsalves.
It goes without saying that while the Tigers’ are enjoying their regular season success, their eyes are focused on the postseason.
“In college hockey you can never predict success like this. You can dream of it and that’s what we’ve done. We’ve dreamt about it, we’ve worked hard, and now we’re doing it,” said Gonsalves.
The Tigers will have a chance to get to 20 wins this season with a weekend home-and-home that starts at Canisius on Friday night.