Monday, November 11, 2013

Men's Hockey - Cornell and Colgate (8/9 Nov)

With the first full league home weekend on deck, the Engineers basically got done what they needed to get done by picking up three points to keep pace in the league table, but they got there in bizarre fashion against the Central New York travel pairing. Jumping out to a 3-1 lead against Cornell before giving back a point in the final minutes of regulation and settling for a 3-3 tie on Friday, the Engineers then had to kill not one, not two, but three major penalties in the first two periods on Saturday against Colgate but still won comfortably, 6-2.




RPI's main plan of attack has been to get out of the gate quickly, but that was not in the cards against the Big Red. The Engineers were shut out in the first period for only the second time all season, failing to find the back of the net on 7 shots in the first 20 minutes. Instead, it was Cornell opening the scoring eight minutes into the contest on a screened shot from the blueline that made it 1-0 heading into the 1st intermission.

As the waning seconds ticked away in the first period, the Engineers had six men on the ice for at least 15 to 20 seconds before the referees noticed and blew the whistle, giving Cornell 1:54 of power play time to start the second period. However, despite the fresh ice, it was the Engineers who would get the goal during the penalty, as Guy Leboeuf rocketed a shot from the blueline 1:11 into the second to tie the score.

Gradually during the second period, the Engineers began taking the momentum, and on a roughing call with just over five minutes left in the period, they took the lead on Ryan Haggerty's 11th goal of the season, making it 2-1.

Matt Neal scored an insurance goal eight minutes into the third period to make it 3-1, and as time ticked down, it looked like the Engineers had things well in hand, especially after Johnny Rogic was checked from behind into the boards with about seven-and-a-half minutes left to play. The Big Red, fortunate not to be called for a major penalty on the play, killed the penalty and began looking for a goal to cut the RPI lead.

They would not get it until pulling their goaltender with just over 90 seconds left in regulation, as another blueline blast that was screened got past Diebold, making it 3-2. The killer for RPI, however, was that Haggerty was called for a foolish charging penalty just after the goal was scored, immediately putting Cornell on the power play. With the goaltender pulled and an effective two-man advantage on the ice, the Big Red scored the equalizer with 30 seconds left in regulation, and just like that, the Engineer lead had evaporated.

RPI got the lion's share of the opportunities in the extra session, but could not salvage the win despite 5 shots on goal in overtime. It was a tie that most certainly felt like a loss, given how close the Engineers were to finishing up an otherwise solid game with a two-goal edge.




The only changes to the lineup from the previous night were Jake Wood coming in to replace Riley Bourbonnais, and Phil Hampton coming into the lineup for the second time on the season in place of Bo Dolan.

Brock Higgs broke the Engineers out in their more usual style with a quick goal, scoring seven minutes into the game on a wraparound to give RPI the early 1-0 lead on his 7th goal of the year. But shortly thereafter, a five-minute boarding call on Luke Curadi put the Engineers on a long penalty kill. His offense did not result in a game misconduct, which would prove crucial for RPI down the road.

It was the Engineers who got the offense out of the long power play, but it came in a strange play. Shortly after a two-on-one shorthanded opportunity was broken up in the Colgate zone, the Engineers sent the puck back down to their own zone to kill more time. Guy Leboeuf scooped up the puck behind his own blueline and powered it down in a clearance attempt as RPI went to change lines. However, the puck bounced a couple of times on its way down the ice, and after being misplayed by the Colgate goalkeeper, found the back of the net instead of the end boards, a bizarre goal giving RPI a 2-0 lead.

After killing the Curadi penalty and taking a 2-0 lead into the first intermission, things looked pretty good for the home team. It got even better with Mark McGowan's first goal of the year just 1:46 into the second period to make it 3-0, but from there things started getting even more bizarre. A kneeing call against Mark Miller five minutes later went down as another major penalty, this time bringing with it a game misconduct as well, forcing the RPI penalty kill back on another long effort. This time, Colgate broke through a little over three minutes into the major, cutting the RPI lead to 3-1. That was as far as they would get by the time Miller's penalty expired, but they would soon have another big opportunity with the man advantage.

Less than a minute after the Miller major ended, Zach Schroeder was called for boarding next to the Colgate bench and wouldn't you know it, his penalty was a major as well, and it too carried a game misconduct. By the time the second period was over, the Engineers had spent 15 of the game's 40 minutes killing off major penalties, with no intervening Colgate penalties to lighten the burden. However, the goal on the Miller penalty was the only one Colgate would manage on the three.

Ryan Haggerty atoned for his penalty on Friday with a goal 4:21 into the third period that gave RPI its three-goal edge back, and Jacob Laliberte scored his 2nd of the year just over a minute later to make it 5-1 RPI, and despite the strange nature of the penalties in the first two periods, the Engineers were cruising. Haggerty would later add a second goal on the power play to give him 3 for the weekend and 13 for the year. Colgate got a consolation tally just over a minute after Haggerty's second goal, and the junior winger just missed a couple of opportunities late to complete his second hat trick of the season as RPI rolled to a 6-2 victory.

Other junk - For the third week running, the Engineers are the #10 team in the country. This week, they accrued a total of 535 votes as one of six ranked teams from the ECAC, which is more than any other conference in the nation. The other five are #6 Quinnipiac (beat Brown and tied Yale, down 1 with 2 first place votes), #9 Yale (beat Princeton and tied Quinnipiac, no change), #11 Clarkson (swept Dartmouth/Harvard, up five), #17 St. Lawrence (swept Harvard/Dartmouth, previously unranked), and #19 Cornell (tied RPI and lost to Union, down four). Union (24 votes), Brown (2), and Harvard (2) all received votes as well. Others on the RPI schedule this season ranked this week are #1 Minnesota (no change, but only 38 first place votes after all 50 last week), #7 Boston College (up one), and #14 Ferris State (up five). Boston University (39) and New Hampshire (1) also received votes.

Ryan Haggerty's 13 goals are still tops in the nation, his closest competition right now comes from Robert Morris' Cody Wydo and Northern Michigan's Stephan Vigier who each have 10. His 1.3 goals per game is also tops in the nation. He is tied with Vigier on the national lead in power play goals with 6.

Brock Higgs is tied for 15th in the nation in goals per game at 0.70. He's also one of 20 finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.

Guy Leboeuf is one of six players in the nation that has netted two shorthanded goals so far this year, and the only defenseman.

Scott Diebold's 1.78 GAA is good enough for 8th in the nation, down from 5th last weekend. At .933 his save percentage is now only 12th.

With 4.10 goals per game, the RPI offense is currently 4th best in the nation, trailing Boston College (5.00), Minnesota (4.38), and Northeastern (4.33). The defense is tied for 10th best in the country (2.20). RPI and Providence are the only schools in the Top 10 in both offense and defense.

The penalty-fest on Saturday pushed the Engineers from 58th in the nation in penalties per game to 46th.

The Route 7 Rivalry is renewed this coming weekend, with the first half on Friday in Schenectady and the second on Saturday in Troy. Both teams are sitting on 6 points just a point out of first in a log-jam at the top of the ECAC, so this weekend certainly sets the tone going forward for chasing the league lead.

ECAC Standings
1. Quinnipiac - 7 points (3-0-1)
2. Union - 6 points (3-1-0, +8 GD)
3. Clarkson - 6 points (3-1-0, 0 GD)
4. Yale - 6 points (2-0-2, +6 GD)
5. St. Lawrence - 6 points (2-0-2, +5 GD)
6. RPI - 6 points (2-1-2, +4 GD)
7. Colgate - 4 points (2-2-0)
8. Brown - 3 points (1-2-1, -1 GD)
9. Cornell - 3 points (1-2-1, -4 GD)
10. Harvard - 3 points (1-3-1)
11. Princeton - 0 points (0-4-0, -10 GD)
12. Dartmouth - 0 points (0-4-0, -15 GD)

#15 Cornell at #10 RPI
ECAC Game - Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
11/8/13 - 7:00pm

RESULT: RPI 3, Cornell 3

College Hockey Stats

RECORD: 5-2-2 (1-1-2 ECAC, 4 pts)

Colgate at #10 RPI
ECAC Game - Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
11/9/13 - 7:00pm

RESULT: RPI 6, Colgate 2

College Hockey Stats

RECORD: 6-2-2 (2-1-2 ECAC, 6 pts)

Upcoming games
15 Nov - at Union
16 Nov - Union
22 Nov - at Mercyhurst
23 Nov - at Mercyhurst
06 Dec - #6 Quinnipiac

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