Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Men's Hockey - at St. Lawrence & Clarkson (6/7 Feb)

The struggle continues for the Engineers, as a poor showing in the North Country produced the team's third losing streak of four games or more on the season. The Friday game at St. Lawrence seems to have been the better of the two outings, as a strong second period positioned RPI with a striking-distance shot at one of the best teams in the league, but spot mistakes killed in a 3-1 loss. The next night, the Engineers struck first but coughed up the lead after just nine seconds on the way to a 5-2 loss at Clarkson.

St. Lawrence



With Jake Wood still out on suspension, the Engineers got some good news in the return of Mark Miller for the first time in over a month. Despite having the strong-early trio of Miller, Lou Nanne, and Drew Melanson all in the same lineup for the first time in nearly three months, they were featured on three separate lines.

The home team struck twice in the first period to get the edge they would need to pick up the victory, although the Engineers would do their part later to make things close. Goals by Alexander Dahl and Christian Horn at 5:54 and 11:17 of the first gave SLU a 2-0 lead, with the second goal being a direct result of a turnover in the RPI end.

Matt Neal scored his 5th goal of the season early in the second to make it 2-1 and add some intrigue to a game that up to that point had been dominated by the Saints. The Engineers turned the game around in that second period and had arguably their best 20 minutes of hockey since the Mayor's Cup, but they were unable to get any closer during the period despite a 13-5 shot edge as SLU's Kyle Hayton preserved the lead well.

The RPI penalty kill managed to go 5-for-5 on the evening, but St. Lawrence's power play looked very strong all night. On at least four of the five power play opportunities, the Saints were fairly unlucky not to score, missing open nets and hitting iron instead of finding the cage.

A goal by Mike Marnell at 10:47 of the third period basically ended any real hopes that the Engineers had of catching up to St. Lawrence, although the tide of the game had started turning well before that one returned SLU's lead to two. RPI played most of the last two minutes of the game with the extra attacker, but could not improve on Neal's tally, falling for the second consecutive league game and firmly dropping the Engineers into 9th place in the league standings.




Despite his eligibility to return to the lineup, Jake Wood sat out a third-consecutive game, almost certainly because he wasn't on the trip to begin with given RPI's injury status with both Mark Miller and Travis Fulton questionable for the weekend's games. However, Fulton returned to the lineup on Saturday night as part of a line jumble that saw Lou Nanne removed from the lineup completely for reasons unknown.

Quick goals for Clarkson were the theme of the evening, with the timing on each of the Golden Knights' first four goals producing a serious blow for the visitors' morale.

The Engineers did manage to strike first against Clarkson, going ahead 1-0 on a goal by Jacob Laliberte at 8:21 of the first period, but it didn't take long for things to deteriorate. Four seconds later, Matt Neal was called for hooking on the ensuing center-ice faceoff. Then, on the next faceoff in the RPI end, Clarkson won the draw and converted for a tying goal only nine seconds after the Engineers had taken the lead.

Another quick goal early in the second period basically took the wind completely out of RPI's sails, as the Golden Knights went ahead 2-1 just 25 seconds into the middle frame. Five minutes later, a Jimmy DeVito penalty ended after only five seconds - exactly the way the Neal penalty ended, on a power play goal off a faceoff win for Clarkson in the RPI end, making it 3-1 Clarkson.

Mark McGowan got one back for his fourth goal of the season with 4:30 remaining in the second period to give RPI some hope, but just over two minutes later Clarkson got another one to regain their two goal lead, then picked up a fifth goal - and fourth of the second period - just under two minutes after that. McGowan then whipped the puck out of the net and up out of the rink, earning himself a misconduct penalty at the same time Jason Kasdorf was finishing his night up early.

There was no scoring in the third period, but the game was certainly a fait accompli by that time.

RPI has in the past used Freakout! weekend to turn around difficult seasons. If they can't do that this year, it's all over. The last time the Engineers were at home, they played well enough to run with any team in the league. They start off with one of the teams they should still be able to beat - except that they didn't last time out.

Current ECAC Standings
1. Quinnipiac - 27 points (13-2-1)
2. St. Lawrence - 24 points (12-4-0)
3. Yale - 18 points (8-6-2)
4. Harvard - 18 points (8-6-2)
5. Clarkson - 18 points (8-6-2)
6. Dartmouth - 18 points (8-6-2)
7. Cornell - 17 points (8-7-1)
8. Colgate - 17 points (7-6-3)
9. RPI - 14 points (7-9-0)
10. Union - 13 points (6-9-1)
11. Brown - 5 points (2-13-1)
12. Princeton - 3 points (1-14-1)

RPI at St. Lawrence
ECAC Game - Appleton Arena (Canton, NY)
2/6/15 - 7:00pm

RESULT: St. Lawrence 3, RPI 1

College Hockey Stats

RECORD: 9-19-1 (7-8-0, 14pts)

RPI at Clarkson
ECAC Game - Cheel Arena (Potsdam, NY)
2/7/15 - 7:00pm

RESULT: Clarkson 5, RPI 2

RECORD: 9-20-1 (7-9-0, 14pts)

Upcoming games
13 Feb - Brown
14 Feb - #15 Yale (Big Red Freakout!)
20 Feb - at Cornell
21 Feb - at Colgate
27 Feb - Clarkson

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