Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) has a long and storied history when it comes to their hockey program. With a strong emphasis on team unity and a never-give-up mentality, RIT has become a powerhouse in the college hockey world. But it’s not just their on-ice performance that has garnered attention, it’s also their intense rivalries with other teams. From conference foes to cross-town rivals, RIT has had some of the most heated matchups in college hockey. In this article, we take a trip down memory lane to revisit some of the most important matchups in RIT’s history.
The Beginnings of Rivalry: RIT vs. Clarkson
In the early stages of RIT’s hockey program, one of their biggest rivals was Clarkson University, a fellow Division III school located in Potsdam, New York. The two teams first faced off against each other in 1966, but it wasn’t until the late 1970s that their rivalry really started to heat up.
In the 1978-1979 season, RIT and Clarkson both joined the ECAC (Eastern College Athletic Conference) together, adding an extra dose of intensity to their matchups. The two teams traded wins and losses in the regular season, but it was their playoff games that truly solidified this rivalry.
In 1979, RIT and Clarkson met in the ECAC semifinals, where RIT won 8-5 in a memorable game that saw several lead changes. The following year, the two teams met in the ECAC championship game, with Clarkson avenging their previous loss and taking the title. This back-and-forth competition only fueled the fire of the RIT vs. Clarkson rivalry and cemented it as one of the most important matchups for both teams.
A Battle for the RIT vs. Oswego State
As RIT’s hockey program continued to grow and improve, they began to face off against tougher competition, including Oswego State, another Division III school located in New York. The two teams first met in the 1976-1977 season, but it wasn’t until the late 2000s that their rivalry reached its peak.
In the 2006-2007 season, RIT and Oswego State faced off in the SUNYAC (State University of New York Athletic Conference) championship game, with Oswego State taking the title. The following year, RIT returned the favor and defeated Oswego State in the championship game, causing tensions to rise between the two teams.
Their rivalry came to a head in the 2010-2011 season, when RIT and Oswego State met once again in the SUNYAC championship game. In a nail-biting game, RIT came out on top and took the title for the second year in a row, solidifying their dominance over Oswego State and cementing this matchup as one of the most important in RIT’s history.
The Battle of Rochester: RIT vs. University of Rochester
With both schools located in the same city, it was only a matter of time before RIT and the University of Rochester (UR) became rivals in college hockey. The two teams first met in the 1972-1973 season and have faced off against each other in the annual Genesee Cup game since 1978.
While RIT dominated the Genesee Cup in the early years, the tide began to turn in the 2000s as UR’s hockey program improved. The two teams have had several nail-biting games, with each team coming out on top at different times.
One of the most memorable matchups between RIT and UR was in the 2017-2018 season, when the two teams met in the semi-finals of the AHC (Atlantic Hockey Conference) playoffs. In a back-and-forth game, RIT came out on top, advancing to the championship game and eventually winning the AHC title. This victory only added fuel to the fire of the RIT vs. UR rivalry and solidified it as one of the most important matchups for the two schools.
A New Rival Emerges: RIT vs. Niagara University
In 2006, RIT made the jump from Division III to Division I hockey, bringing them face-to-face with tougher competition. One of those new competitors was Niagara University, located just an hour away from RIT in Lewiston, New York.
The rivalry between RIT and Niagara has been an intense one, with both teams trading wins and losses in their regular season matchups. In the 2019-2020 season, the two teams met in the AHC semi-finals, with RIT coming out on top and advancing to the championship game. This rivalry is still in its early stages, but it’s clear that it will continue to be an important matchup for both teams moving forward.
Throughout its history, RIT’s hockey program has developed some intense and historic rivalries with other teams. From fierce conference foes to cross-town rivals, these matchups have showcased the passion and drive of RIT’s players and have brought some of the most memorable moments in the school’s history. As RIT continues to dominate on the ice, fans can look forward to more intense and important matchups in the years to come.