Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Men's Hockey - at Quinnipiac & Princeton (9/10 Jan)

In desperate need to find some way to turn the season around with the ECAC schedule now back in full swing, RPI made at least some process in throwing the brakes on a very rough set of play. Their myriad dismal streaks continued on Friday night against the ECAC team they've now gone the longest without beating, falling 4-2 against Quinnipiac, but the streaks came to a screeching halt the next night as the Engineers took care of business against the worst team in the league by blitzing Princeton, 5-2.




A major shot in the arm for the Engineers came from the return of Lou Nanne to the lineup from injury - he'd been more or less since the last time RPI played the Bobcats in Troy back in November, save the first period of the BU game. The other big return came in the four senior captains who'd been kept out against Miami, allowing the Engineers to return to a more or less optimal lineup (though they still await the return of Mark Miller from an ankle injury).

At even strength on Friday night in Hamden, the Engineers did a fairly decent job of hanging in there with one of the best teams in the league, but they certainly got themselves into trouble on the penalty kill enough times to get burned. Quinnpiac got themselves on the board first not with a power play goal, but with a terrific individual effort by Matthew Peca just 1:10 into the second period. The coast to coast score by the QU senior broke a scoreless tie that had persisted through the game's first 20 minutes after some sloppy early play from both teams.

The remainder of the Bobcats' goals would be generated more or less by their power play. Devon Toews made it 2-0 twelve minutes later while Curtis Leonard was serving a high-sticking penalty. That goal was mitigated almost immediately by the Engineers, who got a team-leading 5th goal of the year from Milos Bubela just 27 seconds later to make the score 2-1.

A pair of penalties to Zach Schroeder in the third period, however, would make the hole too deep to climb back from. A boarding call 48 seconds into the third culminated in a Travis St. Denis goal, then a tripping call at 8:08 produced a power play that RPI killed off, but led to a goal by Tim Clifton just seven seconds after the game had returned to full strength, effectively a power play goal if not officially one.

Mark McGowan would net his second of the year on a fluky play on the power play in the game's final minute, but it was little more than a consolation effort. The loss was RPI's ninth in a row, and the 12th straight game in which they'd failed to produce at least three goals, tying a 99-year school record.




A road game against the bottom of the barrel was what ultimately brought those regrettable streaks to an end. In addition to being the first non-nationally ranked opponent in over a month, it came with an almost back to full-strength Engineers team. One injury from Friday was to Travis Fulton, but it was easy enough for Seth Appert to slot Luke Curadi, whose play up front had steadily improved, onto the fourth line, and add a much improved Parker Reno back to the lineup on the blue line.

RPI emphatically ended their 3 goal game streak by scoring three goals in the game's first 13:30. Curtis Leonard ended another streak - 11 straight games of RPI not scoring the game's first goal - by collecting his second goal of the season at 5:36 to give the Engineers only their 4th 1-0 lead of the entire season. Freshman Drew Melanson followed up six and a half minutes later with his fourth goal of the season to make it 2-0, and Chris Bradley followed on two and a half minutes after that with his third of the year to give the Engineers a 3-0 lead. Oddly enough, despite RPI's struggles to score the first goal, it was the Engineers' third 3-0 lead of the campaign.

Matt Neal made it 4-0 on the power play midway through the second period with his long awaited first goal of the season. From there, the final result was never truly in doubt, but Princeton did make it interesting. Defenseman Tom Kroshus scored a fluke goal in the last minute of the second period, the puck bouncing off the end wall, hitting Jason Kasdorf in the leg and trickling just over the line to make it 4-1. Kroshus scored again seven minutes into the third to make it 4-2, but RPI's hold on the game was rarely tenuous.

Viktor Liljegren collected an empty netter for his fourth goal of the year in the final minute of play to ice the game. Kasdorf, looking to return to his usual form, made 35 saves on 37 shots for the victory, a big step forward for the junior goaltender.

Jacob Laliberte had a very fruitful weekend, collecting 4 assists in the two games, giving him a team leading 9 and tying Melanson for the team's scoring lead at 11.

The ECAC schedule continues this weekend as the Field House plays host to league contests for the first time in two months. Streaky Colgate, winners of four straight, come to Troy on Friday, followed by a Cornell team that's had an even harder time scoring than RPI of late with 4 goals in their last 5 games.

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

By winning percentage
1. Quinnipiac (.833)
2. Harvard (.778)
3. Colgate (.688)
4. Yale (.562)
5. St. Lawrence (.556)
6. Clarkson (.556)
7. Cornell (.500)
8. RPI (.455)
9. Union (.450)
10. Dartmouth (.438)
11. Brown (.125)
12. Princeton (.083)

RPI at #15 Quinnipiac
ECAC Game - High Point Solutions Arena (Hamden, CT)
1/9/15 - 7:00pm

RESULT: Quinnipiac 4, RPI 2

College Hockey Stats

RECORD: 6-16-1 (4-6-0, 8pts)

RPI at Princeton
ECAC Game - Hobey Baker Memorial Rink (Princeton, NJ)
1/10/15 - 7:00pm

RESULT: RPI 5, Princeton 2

College Hockey Stats

RECORD: 7-16-1 (5-6-0, 10pts)

Upcoming games
16 Jan - #15 Colgate
17 Jan - Cornell
24 Jan - vs. Union (Albany, NY)
30 Jan - at Dartmouth
06 Feb - at St. Lawrence

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