Sunday, March 4, 2012

Hero #2: Patrick Cullen

Like Friday night's hero, Patrick Cullen had a rough go for much of the year - in fact, he's had a rough go largely since his sensational freshman year. But he's turned it on here toward the end of his final season in the Cherry and White - he seems to have found his hockey soulmates in Brock Higgs and Matt Tinordi, as they've helped him boost his offensive production significantly.

Saturday night, he was the spark for the Engineers' scoring, taking part in all three RPI goals with two of them on his own, and setting up C.J. Lee's power play goal in the first period. He also led the team with seven shots on goal in the marathon session.

The longest game in RPI history and the 6th longest in NCAA history ended the way the previous two longest games in team history did - with a tough coinflip goal. Fortunately, unlike last year's marathon, there is a tomorrow - or, rather, today.

RPI fans can be forgiven for expecting to know how this story ends.
Game 3, 2004 Quarterfinals: Dartmouth 1, RPI 0
Game 3, 2009 Quarterfinals: Cornell 4, RPI 3
Game 3, 2010 First Round: Brown 3, RPI 2
Game 3, 2011 First Round: Colgate 2, RPI 1

The Engineers haven't won a Game 3 since upending Harvard 4-2 in Troy in 1999. They've never done it on the road. Now, they have to do it with a team that's almost entirely fatigued from the longest game any of them have likely ever played before with a couple of exceptions - Lee's game misconduct early in the third period simultaneously helped create the extra-long game (Clarkson's power play goal) and kept him comparatively fresh for tonight, plus Zach Schroeder, who was injured, will likely be replaced with someone who hasn't played yet this weekend. Don't be surprised to see Alex Angers-Goulet tonight (if he's healthy, we don't know why he's been out the last three games), Pat Koudys, Josh Rabbani, or even Greg Burgdorfer or Justin Smith if they're needed.

But what we really need tonight, to keep the season alive, is another hero. Who's wants the belt, boys?

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