Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Men's Hockey - at Colgate/Cornell (14/15 Feb)

Rumors of the Engineers' demise may have been exaggerated. With perhaps the most daunting road weekend of the year in front of them, RPI put up the effort they needed to skate away with more than your average point haul from a road weekend, enjoying their most successful trip of the year by landing 3 points against a pair of nationally ranked opponents, defeating Cornell 3-1 after a hard-fought 1-1 tie the night prior in Hamilton against Colgate.




After a successful Freakout, Seth Appert fielded largely the same lineup as he had against St. Lawrence, making just one substitution by bringing a previously injured Chris Bradley back in, replacing Parker Reno.

Things didn't start off well for the Engineers - just 12 seconds into the game, they were already killing a penalty as Curtis Leonard was called for interference. That penalty, as well as four others over the course of the game, were successfully killed off, which kept RPI in a game where it almost looked like they'd be unable to break onto the scoresheet at all.

The game's first goal would be the only one for quite some time, and it was put in off a Colgate stick about 16 minutes into the contest. It was reviewed to see if it went in off a high stick, but the goal was allowed to stand, giving Colgate the 1-0 lead after one period despite being outshot 12-7.

That lead held up for the next 39 minutes as well as Colgate goaltender Charlie Finn did everything he could to maintain it, finishing his night with an impressive 41 saves against an RPI team that was keen to put the puck on net. Three RPI power plays in the 2nd period did not produce a goal, and the Engineers had to kill two penalties of their own in the 3rd period to have the opportunity to tie things up late.

With one minute left in regulation and a faceoff coming in the Colgate zone, Seth Appert called timeout and kept Scott Diebold out of the RPI net. While the Engineers haven't been terribly successful this season with the extra attacker, it only took six seconds for Mike Zalewski to find Ryan Haggerty with a nice pass that Haggerty put home for his 23rd goal of the season with 54 seconds left on the clock to finally put the Engineers on the board and tie the game at one.

RPI was not done. In fact, they very nearly won the game in regulation with about 19 seconds left to go as Zalewski and Haggerty buzzed the net. Finn got his leg against the puck and the post, and when it came off the puck was across the line, but it was unable to be confirmed that the puck went in before the whistle blew.

The Engineers dominated the overtime period and produced another couple of opportunities to win, but they could not find the game winner and settled instead for a 1-1 tie, one of the better ties RPI has produced this season.




The same personnel hit the ice on Saturday night as had pumped 42 shots on net on Friday night with one minor change - Jimmy DeVito was moved down to Matt Tinordi's previous place on the grind line, with Tinordi moving up to DeVito's previous position on the Engineers' second scoring line.

Brock Higgs got the Engineers on the board first about seven minutes in, scoring on a nice pass by Ryan Haggerty for his 14th goal of the year, making it 1-0. After about 10 minutes of even play, RPI made it 2-0 on a controversial goal coming during a delayed penalty, as Bo Dolan's shot glanced off the skate of Mark McGowan. After review, it was determined that McGowan did not use a kicking motion to put the puck in, and was credited with his 3rd goal of the year.

RPI maintained their 2-0 lead until late in the 2nd period, when Matt Tinordi hit his 7th of the season to make it 3-0 on just the third penalty called in the game. The goal and the power play came generally against the flow of play in the period, as Cornell seemed to dominate possession throughout the middle stanza.

That domination eventually paid off for the Big Red as they put themselves on the scoreboard three and a half minutes into the third period, cutting the RPI lead to 3-1. Despite continuing to control play in the third and outshooting RPI 8-5 in the final frame, Cornell was unable to get another tally, even with the extra skater for the game's final 1:32, an advantage that was amplified with 14 seconds remaining as Guy Leboeuf took a five minute major for kneeing. Scott Diebold made 33 saves to pick up the victory in net for the Engineers, who picked up three big points on the weekend.

RPI did not move up in the standings, but they did edge closer to 6th place and farther away from 8th and 9th places, important this time of year. They now sit just two points out of the final first-round bye position with four games left to play.

Other junk - Ranked ECAC teams this week include #3 Union (beat Cornell and tied Colgate, no change), #5 Quinnipiac (beat Yale and lost to Brown, down one), #13 Cornell (swept by Union/RPI, down two), #14 Yale (lost to Quinnipiac and beat Princeton, down one), and #19 Colgate (tied RPI and Union, no change). Clarkson (95 votes, formerly #14) was the only other ECAC team receiving votes. Other ranked teams on the RPI schedule include #1 Boston College (no change with 49 first place votes), #2 Minnesota (no change with one first place vote), #6 Ferris State (down two), and #18 Denver (no change). New Hampshire (6) and Mercyhurst (1) also received votes.

Ryan Haggerty is in a tie with Nebraska-Omaha junior Josh Archibald for 2nd in the nation in goals with 23. They are both four goals behind Boston College's Johnny Gaudreau who has 27.

Mike Zalewski (8) and Matt Tinordi (7) are both in striking distance to reach double digits in goals for the season. If they reach that point, joining Haggerty, Brock Higgs, and Matt Neal who already have 10 or more goals each, it would mark the first time five Engineers have hit double digits since 1998-99, when six (Danny Riva, Brad Tapper, Pete Gardiner, Matt Murley, Alain St. Hilaire, and Mark Murphy) each racked up at least 11.

Next up for the Engineers is a return meeting with the North Country, this time on home ice. St. Lawrence returned home last weekend after a road sweep at Quinnipiac and Princeton to take just one point from Dartmouth and Harvard, one of the weakest travel pairings in the league. Clarkson fared worse, scoring just once against those teams while being swept at home, including a 6-1 loss to a Dartmouth team that has struggled for much of the season. The Engineers would do well to strike while the iron is hot, especially considering the fact that Clarkson is just two points ahead of them in 4th.

ECAC Standings
1. Union - 29 points (14-3-1)
2. Quinnipiac - 25 points (11-4-3)
3. Colgate - 23 points (10-5-3)
4. Clarkson - 20 points (10-8-0)
5. Cornell - 20 points (8-6-4)
6. Yale - 19 points (8-7-3)
7. RPI - 18 points (7-7-4)
8. Brown - 15 points (7-10-1)
9. St. Lawrence - 14 points (5-9-4)
10. Harvard - 14 points (5-9-4)
11. Dartmouth - 11 points (5-12-1)
12. Princeton - 8 points (4-14-0)

RPI at #19 Colgate
ECAC Game - Starr Rink (Hamilton, NY)
2/14/14 - 7:00pm

RESULT: RPI 1, Colgate 1 (OT)

College Hockey Stats

Troy Record

RECORD: 12-12-5 (6-7-4 ECAC, 16 pts)

RPI at #11 Cornell
ECAC Game - Lynah Rink (Ithaca, NY)
2/15/14 - 7:00pm

RESULT: RPI 3, Cornell 1

RECORD: 13-12-5 (7-7-4 ECAC, 18 pts)

Upcoming games
21 Feb - St. Lawrence
22 Feb - Clarkson
28 Feb - at Brown
01 Mar - at #14 Yale
07 Mar - ECAC First Round Game 1 (if required)

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