Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Men's Hockey - UPEI (4 Oct)

As usual, the Engineers got their season started with an exhibition contest against a Canadian team, and as usual, there were a number of things that can be said about the game. It was physical. It was sloppy. It was full of encouraging signs. It was meaningless in the end. There are no conclusions to be drawn from RPI's 5-2 victory over the University of Prince Edward Island, but there are certainly some highlights worth mentioning.




The only players who didn't suit up for this game were Milos Bubela and Kenny Gillespie. Tough to say if there are any issues there, as you can only fit so many players on a bench - the only real limitation to who dresses for an exhibition. There was also one change in position, as Phil Hampton participated in the game as a center, a departure from his position as a defenseman during his first two seasons in Troy.

After a sloppy opening 10 minutes to the game that featured quite a lot of missed passes and blown opportunities by both teams, PEI was first on the board with a goal scored at point blank range by Tyler Brown, one of two Americans on the Panthers. He capitalized on a pass from behind the RPI net from Darcy Ashley, who had picked an Engineer's pocket in order to create the opportunity.

The Engineers finished the first period with a bang, however, as Lou Nanne scored six minutes later to tie the game, and then a goal by Matt Neal picking up a rebound from a shot by a coast-to-coast moving Riley Bourbonnais with about 40 seconds left in the first to send the teams back to the locker room at 2-1.

RPI continued the momentum early in the second period, as freshman Viktor Liljegren scored just 11 seconds into the game's first power play for either team to make it 3-1, a scoreline that was maintained throughout much of the middle frame.

With about six minutes left to play in the second, an open ice hit by Jake Wood on Spencer Metcalfe set in motion events that would have lasting reprecussions on the rest of the game. Wood's hit completely upended Metcalfe and created a huge cheer from the crowd. Metcalfe then sought out Wood for retribution, and got a minor penalty for charging for his trouble.

The Engineers didn't score on that power play opportunity, but as the period drew to a close, Curtis Leonard scored on a blistering slapshot from the point to make the score 4-1.

PEI's Brock Beukeboom, about a minute later, decided to take his own run at Wood, delivering a vicious elbow that earned him a five minute major with 9 seconds left in the second period. Wood skated back to the locker room, but would return in the third. The major carried over into the final period, and late in RPI's power play is when all hell broke loose.

In the corner behind the PEI net, Panthers defenseman Nelson Armstrong fell down on the puck, and multiple RPI forwards tried to pry it loose. That led to a serious scuffle and some wrestling on the ice that quickly included PEI goaltender Mavric Parks, as the Panthers, down a man, sought to even things up. Parks would be thrown out of the game for facemasking, while Bourbonnais picked up a double minor for slashing and roughing and Jimmy DeVito was given a minor for roughing.

The Parks penalty brought with it another five minute major, and late in that penalty - only one minute of which the Engineers actually had a power play, due to the Bourbonnais penalty - Leonard scored again on a long slapper, this one from a little closer to the net at the top of a faceoff circle, putting RPI ahead 5-1.

A minute and a half later, the Wood/Metcalfe saga came to an end when, after more pushing and shoving between the two, the referees simply awarded both 10-minute misconducts, effectively ending their night.

PEI pulled one back minutes later, beating Scott Diebold (who played the second half of the game) to make it 5-2, but that was as close as they would get. Overall, both goaltenders played well for the Engineers, and after the first 10 minutes were over, RPI's defensive corps produced some strong two-way play, which is expected to be part of their gameplan this season.

Next up for the Engineers is a trip to Notre Dame for the annual Icebreaker tournament. This will be RPI's third time playing in the Icebreaker. They'll face the home team on Friday, then either Minnesota - the top ranked team in the nation - or Minnesota-Duluth on Sunday.

Exhibition Game - Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
10/4/14 - 7:00pm


RECORD: 0-0-0

Upcoming games
10 Oct - at #12 Notre Dame
12 Oct - vs. #1 Minnesota/Minnesota-Duluth (South Bend, IN)
17 Oct - at #18 Denver
18 Oct - at #18 Denver
24 Oct - Bentley

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