Monday, October 11, 2010

Men's Hockey - at Colorado College (8/9 Oct)

There are varying levels of success in a given weekend. A team can sometimes escape a really bad weekend with four points, the points being a silver lining in an otherwise poor showing. Other times, a team can play very well and not come out with many points, the lack of points being a downside in an otherwise great weekend. For RPI's first weekend of the regular season, the latter situation applied, in this case occurring largely thanks to a few bad breaks and a few tough bounces. The Engineers went to Colorado for a weekend series with the Tigers of Colorado College, dropping the first game 2-1 before coming back to tie on Saturday, 2-2.

Friday
Angers-Goulet/Malchuk/Brutlag
Helfrich/Polacek/O'Grady
Cullen/Higgs/Lee
Halpern/Rogic/Burgdoerfer

Bergin/Foss
Leboeuf/Kennedy
Bailen/Dolan

York

The tone was set early on Friday as freshman Guy Leboeuf took a checking from behind penalty just 57 seconds into the game, the first of 20 minor penalties that would be called on the evening - that's one every three minutes. RPI escaped the first penalty kill, and had a long 5-on-3 chance shortly thereafter that went nowhere. Practically back-to-back penalty kills after penalties to Johnny Rogic and Joel Malchuk later in the period produced CC's first goal as first-round draft pick Jaden Schwartz notched his first career goal in his first period of college hockey play, beating Allen York to make it 1-0.

A CC penalty late in the first period led to RPI's first goal of the season, but not in the typical power play fashion. Nick Bailen unleashed a laser of a slapshot from just behind the blue line as the Engineers moved to assume the attacking zone, and the shot eluded Tiger goaltender Joe Howe, giving Bailen his first goal as an Engineer, unassisted, and making the score 1-1 heading into the second period.

The second period was marred by penalties - both teams had three power play opportunities while 11 penalties were called over the course of the 20 minutes. Most disappointing for the Engineers, a second long 5-on-3 opportunity arose midway through the period, but they simply could not finish, and the period ended 1-1. The goaltenders put on a show in the period, with Howe stopping 15 shots while York made 12 saves of his own.

The march to the penalty box resulted in a second CC goal midway through the third period. An early penalty to Malchuk and a later penalty to Bailen gave the Tigers the first two power play chances of the third period, and they delivered halfway through the Bailen penalty when Rylan Schwartz, Jaden's older brother, collected his first of a year by scoring on a rebound over York, who was still on the ice from the previous save.

The Engineers didn't quit, and they appeared to have tied the score after a flurry in front of Howe during a late power play opportunity. The goal was disallowed on the ice and the decision held up after a review - the referee ruling that the whistle had been intended to have blown before the puck ended up in the net. RPI wouldn't get another one past Howe, struggling to maintain control of the puck with York pulled late in the game. They wouldn't give up the empty netter, but fell 2-1 regardless.

All in all, it wasn't a bad game for RPI. They outshot the home team 31-27, got a great game out of Allen York, and was pretty tight defensively for the most part, not giving up too many good scoring chances at even strength and successfully taking care of 6 of 8 penalty kills on the night. The high number of penalties was a problem, but it was a problem for both teams. To be fair to the referees, there weren't a great number of questionable calls on Friday night.

Saturday
Angers-Goulet/Malchuk/Brutlag
Helfrich/Polacek/O'Grady
Cullen/Higgs/Lee
Rabbani/Rogic/Burgdoerfer

Koudys/Kennedy
Bergin/Foss
Bailen/Dolan

York

As opposed to Friday night's game, Saturday night started off as an unmitigated disaster for the Engineers, as the first 20 minutes were utterly dominated by Colorado College. While York was peppered with 13 shots in the first period, RPI managed only a single shot on goal against Joe Howe. The defense held for the first half of the period, but the floodgates opened when Rylan Schwartz notched his second goal of the weekend at 11:40, and the Tigers would score again on a good bounce their way just over a minute later to make it 2-0.

RPI, meanwhile, looked helpless. Down two goals, they had three terrible power play showings, two late in the first and one right at the beginning of the second period. After the conclusion of that third power play, the Engineers still had only one shot for the entire game to that point.

The penalties started popping back up after the third power play failure. During the second, RPI would hand Colorado College five consecutive power play chances in the middle stanza, including a long 5-on-3 chance late in the period. Fortunately, the penalty kill stood up to the heavy scrutiny, keeping the Engineers in the game when they needed it most. Offensively, RPI improved to 6 shots in the second period, but it still looked like a tall task to come back, still down 2-0 after two periods. York was the backbone, rebounding from a couple of tough breaks in the first to finish the first 40 minutes with 21 saves.

RPI came out for the sixth period of the weekend on the big ice at high altitude as the more aggressive of the teams, something the Tigers surely aren't used to dealing with, which really displays the Engineers' outstanding conditioning. The aggressiveness paid off early in the period, when RPI, finally given a fourth chance on the power play, converted to get on the board as Tyler Helfrich, who had been a nuisance for the Tigers all weekend long, made the break through to bring the Engineers within a goal with most of the third period left to play.

Then, it was CC's turn to march to the penalty box. The Tigers took three consecutive penalties during the middle part of the third, and the Engineers hungrily searched for the tying goal, putting up good showings on all three advantages, but finding Howe a tough nut to crack, as the CC sophomore stood on his head during the penalty kills to keep his team on top.

It was another long shot that would elude Howe to tie things up late in the period. Very similar to Bailen's blast the previous night, Mike Bergin uncorked a big shot from just outside the blue line that found the back of the net, knotting the game at two despite all of the rough patches the Engineers endured through the first two periods.

Hungry to take the lead, RPI maintained pressure. A few minutes later, C.J. Lee, who had a great night offensively for the Engineers, got a mini breakaway on Howe but could not pull the trigger, and after being hauled down, he picked up a retaliatory roughing call that gave CC the opportunity to have a late power play. The Engineers bent during the ensuing penalty kill, but did not break, and the game went into overtime.

After some dominant play from CC early in the extra period, the Engineers got a two-on-one break the other way that ended with a pass to Chase Polacek. Despite an open net, Polacek couldn't corral the pass, having to switch to his backhand instead of blasting it into the net. He instead moved behind the net and lost the puck, where he was blasted into the boards. Much like Lee's penalty, Polacek swung at the player that had put him on the ice, earning himself a foolish roughing call with two minutes left that had RPI playing for the tie instead of the win. The penalty kill, as it had been all night, held up late, and the game ended in a 2-2 tie. RPI was 7-for-7 on the penalty kill on Saturday, and 13-for-15 on the weekend.

Other junk - The Engineers still managed to earn 13 votes in this week's USCHO.com poll despite the "one-point" weekend in Colorado. The Tigers, for their part, moved up two positions to #18. Among ECAC teams, the idle Ivies had some movement due to the misfortunes of teams around them - St. Cloud State's upset loss to Clarkson saw the Huskies move down considerably, boosting Yale up one to #5. Meanwhile, BU's title win in the Icebreaker had them moving up to #10, dropping Cornell down one to #12. Union's near-total home white-washing of Sacred Heart earned them a three-slot raise to #16. Other teams on the RPI schedule this year earning votes were RIT (37, dropped out after losing to St. Cloud State and Nebraska-Omaha), Colgate (21, beat Army), St. Lawrence (3, tied Minnesota State twice) and Quinnipiac (2, split with Ohio State).

Notably, in three games (one being the UNB exhibition), three of RPI's four goals have been scored by defensemen - two by Mike Bergin and one by Nick Bailen.

Next up for RPI is an away/home weekend, starting off in Boston against Northeastern and finishing up at home against Bentley. The Huskies were 0-2 last weekend, losing to Hockey East cellar-dwellers Providence before dropping a 2-0 decision at home to #1 Boston College. So in that sense, both teams on Friday will be playing easier competition than their last game. Bentley does not begin play until next weekend and will be entering the Field House after a game at Quinnipiac.

RPI at #20 Colorado College
Nonconference Game - World Arena (Colorado Springs, CO)
10/8/10 - 9:30pm

RESULT: Colorado College 2, RPI 1

BOX SCORES
RECAPS

RECORD: 0-1-0 (0-0-0 ECAC)

Reale Deals
1. D Nick Bailen, 1 G
2. G Allen York, 25 saves
3. F Bryan Brutlag, 5 shots


RPI at #20 Colorado College
Nonconference Game - World Arena (Colorado Springs, CO)
10/9/10 - 9:00pm

RESULT: RPI 2, Colorado College 2

BOX SCORES
RECAPS
RECORD: 0-1-1 (0-0-0 ECAC)

Reale Deals
1. G Allen York, 34 saves
2. F Tyler Helfrich, 1 G
3. D Mike Bergin, 1 G

Upcoming games
15 Oct - at Northeastern
16 Oct - Bentley
22 Oct - RIT
23 Oct - Niagara
30 Oct - vs. #16 Union (Lake Placid, NY)

No comments:

Post a Comment