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RIT looking to shock the hockey world at NCAA tourney

todayMarch 26, 2024 3

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HENRIETTA, N.Y. (WROC) — The RIT men’s hockey team left campus on Tuesday, beginning a long journey to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to take on Boston University in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

The Tigers will have their work cut out for them on Thursday against the second-ranked Terriers. Boston University has 14 players on their roster already drafted to NHL teams and that doesn’t include Macklin Celebrini, their phenom freshman who is projected to be the top pick in this year’s draft.

“I think it’s going to be a great hockey game,” said head coach Wayne Wilson. “They’re not two teams that sit back and trap, we both get after things. I think we like to play that style so it’s whether we can play well enough to win with that style when you’re playing someone like BU.”

While the Tigers respect all that BU has accomplished this season, they’re not backing down from the challenge by any means.

“We’ve got to be aware of what we’re doing, but if we try and change our whole coaching style and everything we’re doing, we’re not going to have any success,” said Wilson. “We want to do what we do well and do it to the best of our abilities and see where it stacks up.”

“RIT, we’re elite. We’ve got NHL players in this locker room, I truly believe that,” said graduate senior forward Elijah Gonsalves. “We’ve got the talent to do it and we’ve got the coaches to do it. They’re plotting very meticulously against their game plan, so we’re excited.”

The Tigers have plenty of motivation heading into Thursday’s game. On ESPN’s bracket selection show, the analysts didn’t spend too much time discussing the Tigers and the graphics also referred to them as “Rochester” instead of “RIT”.

“It felt like they kind of had a slight at us and we’re taking an edge,” said Gonsalves. “We have a chip on our shoulder and we’re very confident. A lot of confidence this week at practice so we’re very excited.”

“Obviously, watching that selection show, there’s a lot to have a chip on our shoulders about,” said fifth-year forward Gianfranco Cassaro. “We’re going in with full swagger for sure.”

Wilson disagreed with his players and said there’s no chip on his team’s shoulder, but he did comment on the broadcast crew not highlighting many of his team’s accomplishments instead of focusing on the age of the Tigers. RIT is the oldest team in the tournament.

“Whenever we go into these selection shows, they’re going to talk about the top four seeds in the whole tournament, and deservedly so,” said Wilson. “They’ve earned that right. When you’re the fifteenth seed they don’t talk about you very much, and that’s good with us.”

RIT is no stranger to pulling off upsets in the NCAA tournament. In 2015, they took down top-seeded Minnesota State Mankato 2-1. And of course, in 2010, they beat second-seeded Denver and then New Hampshire to reach the program’s first and only Frozen Four.

“I think our team can use that as ‘it can be done’ but now you’ve got to go out and do it,” said Wilson.

Puck drops between Boston University and RIT on Thursday, March 28th at 5:00. The winner will take on either Minnesota or Omaha on Saturday, March 30th at 6:30 p.m. All games in the Sioux Falls regional will be broadcast on ESPNU.

​ HENRIETTA, N.Y. (WROC) — The RIT men’s hockey team left campus on Tuesday, beginning a long journey to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to take on Boston University in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

The Tigers will have their work cut out for them on Thursday against the second-ranked Terriers. Boston University has 14 players on their roster already drafted to NHL teams and that doesn’t include Macklin Celebrini, their phenom freshman who is projected to be the top pick in this year’s draft.

“I think it’s going to be a great hockey game,” said head coach Wayne Wilson. “They’re not two teams that sit back and trap, we both get after things. I think we like to play that style so it’s whether we can play well enough to win with that style when you’re playing someone like BU.”

While the Tigers respect all that BU has accomplished this season, they’re not backing down from the challenge by any means.

“We’ve got to be aware of what we’re doing, but if we try and change our whole coaching style and everything we’re doing, we’re not going to have any success,” said Wilson. “We want to do what we do well and do it to the best of our abilities and see where it stacks up.”

“RIT, we’re elite. We’ve got NHL players in this locker room, I truly believe that,” said graduate senior forward Elijah Gonsalves. “We’ve got the talent to do it and we’ve got the coaches to do it. They’re plotting very meticulously against their game plan, so we’re excited.”

The Tigers have plenty of motivation heading into Thursday’s game. On ESPN’s bracket selection show, the analysts didn’t spend too much time discussing the Tigers and the graphics also referred to them as “Rochester” instead of “RIT”.

“It felt like they kind of had a slight at us and we’re taking an edge,” said Gonsalves. “We have a chip on our shoulder and we’re very confident. A lot of confidence this week at practice so we’re very excited.”

“Obviously, watching that selection show, there’s a lot to have a chip on our shoulders about,” said fifth-year forward Gianfranco Cassaro. “We’re going in with full swagger for sure.”

Wilson disagreed with his players and said there’s no chip on his team’s shoulder, but he did comment on the broadcast crew not highlighting many of his team’s accomplishments instead of focusing on the age of the Tigers. RIT is the oldest team in the tournament.

“Whenever we go into these selection shows, they’re going to talk about the top four seeds in the whole tournament, and deservedly so,” said Wilson. “They’ve earned that right. When you’re the fifteenth seed they don’t talk about you very much, and that’s good with us.”

RIT is no stranger to pulling off upsets in the NCAA tournament. In 2015, they took down top-seeded Minnesota State Mankato 2-1. And of course, in 2010, they beat second-seeded Denver and then New Hampshire to reach the program’s first and only Frozen Four.

“I think our team can use that as ‘it can be done’ but now you’ve got to go out and do it,” said Wilson.

Puck drops between Boston University and RIT on Thursday, March 28th at 5:00. The winner will take on either Minnesota or Omaha on Saturday, March 30th at 6:30 p.m. All games in the Sioux Falls regional will be broadcast on ESPNU. Read More College SportsRochesterFirst  

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