Monday, January 21, 2013

Men's Hockey - Colgate/Cornell (18/19 Jan)

One-goal games can boost your season or they can ruin it - all depending on which side of the margin you're on. For RPI this weekend, a pair of positive one-goal outcomes boosted them from the very basement of the ECAC all the way up to 7th place, with room to grow. That's the good news. The bad news is that they now have to take a week off from league games before getting back into things for the first weekend of February. That's going to be tough to do, but at the very least, a pair of tight wins has the Engineers back into the hunt in league play.

Colgate
Lee-McGowan-Haggerty
Zalewski-Laliberte-Bubela
Neal-Miller-Tinordi
Rogic-O'Grady-Burgdoerfer

Leonard-Bailen
Leboeuf-Bradley
Curadi-Dolan

Kasdorf

Two upperclassmen have been struggling this season with injuries - Brock Higgs and Marty O'Grady. On Friday, Higgs came out of the lineup in favor of O'Grady, and freshman goaltender Jason Kasdorf returned from injury to play in his first game since a game just after Christmas against St. Cloud.

RPI played well in what was a fairly even first period. Kasdorf got himself back into the groove in a hurry, stopping 13 shots in the first period against 9 shots by the Engineers in the first twenty minutes. A penalty to Curtis Leonard for high-sticking was the only notable event of the period, and it was killed by RPI with some ease.

After a quick first, RPI started getting the lion's share of the action in the second, and once Colgate took their first penalty of the game midway through the second, the Engineers' power play appeared to put them ahead 1-0 on a goal by Leonard, but it was immediately disallowed by referee Bryan Hicks, who claimed that C.J. Lee was interfering with the goaltender. It was shades of the game at Union two years ago when a tying goal with 10 seconds left was disallowed because of Lee interfering with the goaltender. This time, goal review was available, but even with video evidence apparently showing a lack of any real interference, it was still disallowed.

After failing to score for the remainder of the power play, RPI had to regroup after the disallowed goal, and they did end up netting the first goal of the game a few minutes later as Johnny Rogic scored his second goal of the season to make it 1-0 Engineers.

Early in the third period, a boarding call against C.J. Lee put Colgate on the power play, but an odd facemasking minor against a Colgate player (and, for some reason, Lee as well even though it was his facemask being yanked) riled the RPI crowd, considering that facemasking is supposed to be an automatic major and game misconduct. The Engineers killed the power play, but a weak slashing call against Bo Dolan on a Colgate breakaway just under a minute later put them back on the penalty kill.

Late in the power play, Colgate scored to tie things up at one, and for much of the third period it looked as though the Raiders would be the team more likely to break that tie. Kasdorf had to have another big period in the third, stopping 12 of 13 shots. Meanwhile, the Engineers were having a hard time putting rubber on net, and were equally frustrated by good goaltending on the other end as well.

With 7:46 left in regulation, it was Matt Tinordi's third goal of the year that elevated the Engineers to a 2-1 lead, and an insurance goal was not forthcoming. Colgate worked hard to find their second equalizer of the game, but even after a flurry of activity with an empty net, they couldn't find it. RPI got the puck out of their zone with 10 seconds left, but they could not convert the empty netter. Instead, Ryan Haggerty took the puck into the corner and got absolutely crushed for his efforts. That gave Colgate's Thomas Larkin a five-minute major at 20:00 of the third period in a game that wasn't tied. Whoopee. Haggerty was very slow to get up, and the teams did eventually shake hands. Haggerty would be OK to go the next night despite what looked like a wrist injury.

Cornell
Lee-Laliberte-Haggerty
Zalewski-McGowan-Bubela
Neal-Miller-Tinordi
Rogic-O'Grady-Burgdoerfer

Leonard-Bailen
Leboeuf-Bradley
Curadi-Dolan

Kasdorf

Only one, minor change from Friday's victory as Jacob Laliberte and Mark McGowan swapped the lines they were centering, but otherwise the same players that dressed against Colgate also dressed against Cornell.

An early holding penalty against Cornell put RPI on the power play, and they did not mess around - Nick Bailen netted his fifth goal of the season just 18 seconds in to put the Engineers up 1-0 for the second straight night. Seconds later, RPI went on the penalty kill and had to be feeling good after getting through it unscathed.

Midway through the period, however, Greg Burgdoerfer was shown the gate with a five-minute major and game misconduct for blowing up returning US junior gold medalist Cole Bardreau against the boards. That penalty turned into a goal for Cornell less than a minute later, but it was the only one the Big Red would pull out of the major power play.

The Engineers responded well in the second period, but solid goaltending and team defense by Cornell kept things 1-1 until late in the period, when Ryan Haggerty scored on the power play to make it 2-1 Engineers with less than five to play in the second.

RPI's discipline was decent against the Big Red if you take out Burgdoerfer's ill-conceived hit. They did have to kill a carryover penalty to Mark McGowan into the third period, but they made it through with their lead intact. McGowan would later provide a key insurance goal, his fourth tally of the season, to put the Engineers up 3-1 with less than eight minutes to play.

The Engineers killed a penalty to Bailen shortly thereafter, but Cornell did not quit down two. The goaltender was pulled with a minute to play, and the Big Red pulled within one with an extra attacker goal coming with 32 seconds left in the game. However, that was as close as they would get as the Engineers held on for the 3-2 victory, picking up their first home sweep of Colgate and Cornell since 1998-99.

Jason Kasdorf's return to the net was... successful to say the least. He made 66 saves on 69 shots faced over the course of the weekend, and none of the three goals he allowed was at even strength, having given up two power play goals and an extra attacker goal. That bodes well for the Engineers moving forward.

Other junk - Ranked teams in the ECAC this week include #2 Quinnipiac (idle, up two with two first place votes), #8 Yale (swept Harvard/Dartmouth, up four), #12 Dartmouth (beat Brown and lost to Yale, down one), #18 Cornell (beat Union and lost to RPI, down two), and #19 Union (lost to Cornell and beat Colgate, down two). Also receiving votes was Colgate (6, formerly #20). Other teams on the RPI schedule ranked this week are #4 New Hampshire (down one), #11 Boston University (down two), #14 Minnesota State (no change), and #16 St. Cloud State (up three). Ferris State (39) also received votes.

Three of Mark McGowan's four goals have been game-winners. That places him in a tie for 11th in the nation.

Kasdorf's return also brought him back to the national stats race, since he again has over 33% of the team's total minutes. His 1.60 GAA and .943 save percentage are both good for fifth in the nation, while his 4-1-2 record and .714 winning percentage has him tied for 7th in the country with Boston College's Parker Milner, who you may remember won a national championship last year.

Next up for RPI, unfortunately, is not more games for ECAC points, as they have the "Mayor's Cup" game against Union coming up this coming Saturday. It's a non-conference game, the last one of the season. Union is closer to the Union of old right now than they are to the Union of last year, but it should still be a close game nonetheless. They're at least more vulnerable, apparently, than they've been in previous games between these schools.

Otherwise, the upcoming schedule for the Engineers is very solid. They have two more games at home against Harvard and Dartmouth, then take to the road for the annual North Country trip, which is a pair of games against teams that have struggled greatly of late. Then there's two more games at home against Brown and Yale. In all, 7 of the remaining 11 games will take place in the Capital District. Not bad at all.

ECAC Standings (by winning percentage in parentheses)
1 (1). Quinnipiac - 23 points (11-0-1)
2 (2). Yale - 15 points (7-3-1)
3 (3). Dartmouth - 13 points (6-4-1)

4 (4). Union - 13 points (5-4-3, +5 GD)

5 (5). Princeton - 13 points (5-4-3, 0 GD)
6 (6). Cornell - 10 points (4-4-2)
7 (8). RPI - 9 points (3-6-3)
8 (7). Clarkson - 8 points (3-5-2)
9 (9). Brown - 8 points (2-5-4)
10 (10). Colgate - 7 points (3-6-1)
11 (11). St. Lawrence - 7 points (2-5-3)
12 (12). Harvard - 6 points (3-8-0)

#20 Colgate at RPI
ECAC Game - Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
1/18/13 - 7:00pm

RESULT: RPI 2, Colgate 1

BOX SCORES
College Hockey Stats
USCHO

RECAPS
RPI
Troy Record
Albany Times Union

RECORD: 7-10-5 (2-6-3 ECAC, 7 points)


#16 Cornell at RPI
ECAC Game - Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
1/19/13 - 7:00pm

RESULT: RPI 3, Cornell 2

BOX SCORES
RECORD: 8-10-5 (3-6-3 ECAC, 9 points)

Upcoming games
26 Jan - vs. #17 Union (Albany, NY)
01 Feb - Harvard
02 Feb - #12 Dartmouth (Big Red Freakout!)
08 Feb - at St. Lawrence
09 Feb - at Clarkson

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