Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Men's Hockey - at Cornell & Colgate (20/21 Feb)

With an opportunity to make up points on teams ahead of them in the standings on both nights, the Engineers did manage to narrow the gap between 8th and 9th on their annual road trip to Central New York, but not by much. RPI struck twice in under a minute against Cornell to go up 2-0, but had to settle for a 2-2 tie after giving up an extra attacker goal just over 30 seconds away from their first season sweep of the Big Red since 1998. The next night, the Engineers fought back twice after Colgate took 1-0 and 2-1 leads, but couldn't come back a third time in a 4-2 loss.

Cornell
Liljegren-Schroeder-Bubela
Melanson-Miller-Nanne
Wood-Bourbonnais-DeVito
Laliberte-McGowan-Gillespie

Leonard-Bradley
Curadi-Bell
Prapavessis-Wilson

Kasdorf

Kenny Gillespie returned to the lineup after a week's absence, replacing Matt Neal, who missed the weekend for reasons unknown. Bradley Bell also got back into the lineup in place of Craig Bokenfohr. Bell has been battling an injury for much of the last month.

The first period looked like a lot more of the same for the Engineers, who despite having the period's only power play opportunity, managed just four shots on goal. Fortunately, on the other end, Jason Kasdorf was getting himself back in the right state after a couple of shaky weekends in net for the Engineers. He kept all eight Cornell shots out of the net.

The 0-0 scoreline held until midway through the second period, when the Engineers pounced on a pair of spot mistakes by the home team. Lou Nanne scored his fifth goal of the season after Drew Melanson stripped a defender on the forecheck, then just 33 seconds later Viktor Liljegren scored his sixth of the year. Just like that, RPI had a 2-0 lead.

Cornell's offense has struggled mightily at times this season, but their power play has been decent. Zach Schroeder's holding penalty early in the third period allowed the Big Red back into the game as John McCarron scored 20 seconds into the man advantage to cut RPI's lead in half. The defense held strong for the rest of the period until Cornell pulled goaltender Mitch Gillam for the extra skater. They had done that down three goals in Troy and held the zone for nearly four full minutes without scoring. This time, the Big Red again held the zone for the entirety of the extra attacker period, but found paydirt after 51 seconds, with RPI just 33 seconds away from securing the win.

The two sides traded efforts in the overtime period, with RPI controlling the first half and Cornell the second, but neither could find the game winner. The Engineers could at least settle for the fact that their losing streak was halted at six in a row, and that their unbeaten streak against Cornell was extended to four in a row.

Colgate
Liljegren-Schroeder-Bubela
Melanson-Miller-Nanne
Wood-Bourbonnais-DeVito
Laliberte-McGowan-Gillespie

Leonard-Bradley
Curadi-Bell
Prapavessis-Wilson

Kasdorf

No changes were made at all to RPI's lineup from Friday to Saturday as they moved to Hamilton to take on Colgate, shutout winners over Union the previous night.

Unlike the previous night, the scoring got underway pretty quickly at Starr Rink as Colgate's Spink twins, Tyson and Tylor, linked up just 60 seconds in to put the Raiders up 1-0. 

RPI took 10 minutes to answer, but they did get the next goal on a blast from the point by Chris Bradley in a four-on-four situation to tie the game up, with Drew Melanson providing the key feed.

The Spink twins responded on the power play in the second period. With Jake Wood off on an interference call, the twins reversed the script - Tylor had scored from Tyson on the first goal, this time Tyson scored on a pass from Tylor, putting Colgate up 2-1. This lead did not last long, however, as Mark McGowan grabbed his fifth goal of the year, again on a shot from the point, to tie the score.

That tie was quickly erased as the home team attacked immediately. 33 seconds later, after a sweet drop pass by Joe Wilson, Darcy Murphy had put the puck in the back of the net to make it 3-2 Colgate.

With the Raiders leading in the third period, their typical slow-down defense went into play, especially after Kyle Baun scored from BOTH Spink twins with just over five minutes left in the game for an insurance tally. RPI was unable to get any closer despite some good chances late, and they had to return to Troy with just one point on the weekend. Jason Kasdorf did look much improved in net over his previous two weekends, but it's tough to be able to pick up only one point in seven straight league games at the end of the season.

The Engineers are hoping to be behind the eight-ball by the end of next weekend, as 8th is the best they can now finish within the league, the final home-ice position. Clarkson was swept by Dartmouth and Harvard, leaving the Golden Knights three points ahead in 8th. Union was swept by Colgate and Cornell, dropping them two points behind in 10th.

With only four more games guaranteed this season, the Engineers' streak of giving up three goals remains firm. Allowing less than three goals, RPI is now 9-0-2. Allowing three or more, they're 0-23-0.

Current ECAC Standings
1. Quinnipiac - 33 points (15-2-3)
2. St. Lawrence - 29 points (14-5-1)
3. Yale - 25 points (11-6-3)
4. Harvard - 23 points (10-7-3)
5. Colgate - 23 points (10-7-3)
6. Dartmouth - 22 points (10-8-2)
7. Cornell - 21 points (9-8-3)
8. Clarkson - 18 points (8-10-2)
9. RPI - 15 points (7-12-1)
10. Union - 13 points (6-13-1)
11. Brown - 12 points (5-13-2)
12. Princeton - 6 points (2-16-2)

RPI at Cornell
ECAC Game - Lynah (Ithaca, NY)
2/20/15 - 7:00pm

RESULT: RPI 2, Cornell 2 (OT)

BOX SCORES
College Hockey Stats
USCHO

RECAPS
RECORD: 9-22-2 (7-11-1, 15pts)

RPI at Colgate
ECAC Game - Starr Rink (Hamilton, NY)
2/21/15 - 7:00pm

RESULT: Colgate 4, RPI 2


RECORD: 9-23-2 (7-12-1, 15pts)

Upcoming games
27 Feb - Clarkson
28 Feb - #19 St. Lawrence (Senior Night)
06 Mar - ECAC First Round (Site TBA)
07 Mar - ECAC First Round (Site TBA)
08 Mar - ECAC First Round (Site TBA, if necessary)

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