Hutchison’s multi-goal game, with team defense aid Griffs to big win over RIT

By Marshall Haim

Assistant Sports Editor

Nick Hutchison may only be a freshman but his confidence level is at an all-time high. The 21-year old freshman from Hicksville, N.Y. scored two goals and was named the game’s first star in a 6-1 win over Atlantic Hockey rival, the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Tigers on Saturday night.

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Nick Hutchison celebrates after scoring his second goal of the game. Marshall Haim/The Griffin

Hutchison scored his eighth and ninth goals of the season, which continues to lead the team, in front of 1,514 spectators. His two goal-game gives him six goals at home, tying the team-best mark with Ryan Schmelzer, who also scored a goal in the Griffs’ offensive attack.

“I thought we played hard,” Hutchison said. “We knew RIT, after the last time we played them, they were going to come out really hard and physical. They thought they were the better team that weekend, but we stepped up as a group and showed how good we are .”

“What you guys are talking about is the talent that you see,” Canisius head coach Dave Smith said regarding Hutchison. “He’s has great IQ, talent and has been a wonderful contributor to our team’s success. You see the talent and with that as the foundation, it’s easy to work with a guy that’s motivated like that.”

Felix Chamberland (three assists), David Parrottino (two goals), Dylan McLaughlin (two assists), Mike Sabatini (one goal, one assist) and Jesse Pereira (two assists) were the other Griffs to score at least two points. Schmelzer, Jack Stander, Matt Hoover and Geoff Fortman also added one point each.

Canisius’ defense was stellar on Saturday after allowing 48 shots the night prior, also to RIT. The Griffs allowed 21 shots on Saturday, which is the lowest amount of shots allowed since allowing 18 to the Robert Morris Colonials on Oct. 22. Coach Smith was very happy with the defensive performance on Saturday.

“I was really happy,” he said. “We had three games in a row with over 38 shots against, that’s not our goal. Tonight we played defensively in all three zones.”

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Charles Williams makes a save during 3rd period action against RIT. Marshall Haim/The Griffin

Canisius goaltender Charles Williams continued to shine in-between the pipes in the win. Williams stopped 20 out of the possible 21 shots faced. Williams, a graduate-transfer from Ferris State, ranked second in the entire nation in save percentage (.941) going into the game against the Tigers. He trailed Robert Morris’ Francis Marotte (.947) for first place.

“It’s been terrific,” Smith said about Williams joining the Griffs. “The reason we brought him in, and the number one quality he has, is the maturity, work ethic and the sincere leadership he has in the locker room. He has meant a world to our leadership group and locker room. The icing on the cake is how well he’s playing on the ice. We’re really happy that he chose to be a part of our group.”

Big, big win

For Canisius the game does not only have big implications within Atlantic Hockey, but in the Atlantic Hockey rivalry between RIT. Canisius, with a sweep of the home-and-home series this weekend, also swept the other home-and-home in November, sweeping the regular season series. The wins on Friday and Saturday helped give the Griffs five wins in the last six meetings against the Tigers.

The four-game sweep of the Tigers is the first time the Griffs have gone undefeated against the I-90 rivals in a full season since 2012-13. Canisius beat RIT in all three scheduled regular season meetings that year.

“It’s tough, obviously being a freshman I’m getting used to it now,” Hutchison said. “The hardest thing is to win two games in a weekend. Obviously to do it against RIT, who has been a good team in the past couple of years, I think we’re starting to show our strength as a team.”

Around Atlantic Hockey

Canisius (10-10-5, 9-4-4) with their win over RIT now has 22 points in the conference, good enough to be tied for third with Robert Morris. Canisius trails first place Air Force by two points and Army West Point by only one for second. RIT (10-14-1, 10-9-0) is now in fifth place with 20 points.

Hello again, friend (I mean rival)

Canisius returns to KeyBank Rink at HARBORCENTER for a Tuesday night tilt with longtime rival Niagara for a 7:35 p.m. puck drop. This is the first of four meetings between the Griffs and Purple Eagles. The Griffs will host the Purple Eagles again on Feb. 15, while Canisius travels to Dwyer Arena at Niagara on Jan. 31 and Feb. 17.

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