Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Men's Hockey - Yale & Brown (13/14 Nov)

The Engineers are continuing to find ways to pick up league points even without some of their most important players. Sometimes, as with their 3-2 overtime win over nationally-ranked Yale on Friday, it came down to grit, determination, and some superb individual efforts. Others, as with their 3-3 draw with Brown on Saturday, it could be chalked up to refusing to quit and a bit of just plain old dumb luck.

Yale
Liljegren-Bourbonnais-Wood
Melanson-Miller-Nanne
Fulton-Schroeder-Gillespie
Ohrvall, Clary

Bradley-Prapavessis
Wilson-Reno
Moore-Hampton
Grant

Hackett

With Milos Bubela and Evan Tironese still out, RPI rolled with the same 11x7 lineup they had put out against St. Lawrence. Jason Kasdorf remained sidelined with the injury he picked up against Clarkson the previous weekend, but he did dress and was available in an emergency capacity, suggesting that his injury should not have him on the shelf for much longer.

RPI had to be the ones setting the tone if they were to have any hope of ending their four-game losing streak against the Bulldogs, and they did that with a goal on their second shift of the game. Mark Miller, fresh off the OT winner against St. Lawrence, notched his third of the year on a shot from the top of the slot to give RPI the early 1-0 advantage as the "M-N-M" line showed flashes of the efficiency that they would show throughout the contest as the top line for the Engineers on the evening.

Yale tied things up five and a half minutes later on a goal by Ryan Hitchcock during a delayed penalty to Meirs Moore as Hitchcock pulled the puck free off the trip by Moore and just worked it straight toward the net and hammered it to Cam Hackett's right.

The Engineers regained the lead in the second period, seconds after a penalty to Jake Wood expired. Riley Bourbonnais picked the puck out of the corner of the Yale zone and zipped it up to Parker Reno, who had plenty of space at the point. Reno ripped a shot that was deflected by Lou Nanne in front, beating Alex Lyon top shelf, giving RPI a 2-1 lead.

That lead held up well into the third period, when Yale evened things once again, this time on the power play. With just under 10 minutes left in regulation, freshman Andrew Gaus netted his first collegiate goal by picking up a rebound behind Hackett from a shot by Stu Wilson, knotting the game at two. Both teams had power play opportunities late, but neither were able to capitalize, and it was off to overtime once again for RPI.

Yale put together a fairly dominating performance early in overtime, forcing Hackett to make one quality save to keep the Engineers in the game, and keeping the RPI defense on its toes for much of the extra period. But a strong counter-attack started by a diving stab by Reno to not only clear the puck but get it to Viktor Liljegren allowed the Swedish sophomore to make a rush up the boards, finishing it with a cut to the net and a lofted shot up over Lyon's shoulder, securing a 3-2 victory for the Engineers.

Hackett finished with 41 saves for the Engineers, giving him 78 across his first two games, both wins, combined - certainly a phenomenal start to his collegiate career.

Brown
Liljegren-Bourbonnais-Wood
Melanson-Miller-Nanne
Fulton-Schroeder-Gillespie
Ohrvall, Clary

Bradley-Prapavessis
Wilson-Reno
Moore-Hampton
Grant

Hackett

For the third straight outing, RPI fielded the same 11x7 lineup with Hackett between the pipes. Brown was coming off their first positive result of the season, a 3-2 come-from-behind overtime victory at Union the previous night.

As has frequently been the case for the Engineers across the last couple of decades, a bit of a letdown was in order off a big win as RPI again seemed to play to the level of their competition, especially in the first period which has frequently been a strong period for them. Outside of a single power play opportunity against which the Engineers unleashed 7 shots in two minutes against a hapless (this is actually a correct usage of the word hapless) Brown penalty kill which was dead last in the nation coming into the game, RPI mustered just five shots in the opening period.

Brown cashed in on their own power play opportunity late in the first, as freshman Tommy Marchin scored with 36 seconds left to make it 1-0 Brown at the first intermission.

The Engineers got two more power play chances in the second period, and again, they produced plenty of scoring opportunities but no goals throughout their second and most of their third power play chances, but Bourbonnais finally broke through late in the third power play to put RPI on the board 12:06 into the second period. RPI looked close to scoring again late in the second, but couldn't put one home.

Any thoughts that the Engineers could take their late-period momentum and turn it into an advantage in the third went out the window almost immediately. Nick Lappin scored just 27 seconds into the third to put Brown up 2-1, and then Lappin scored again on the power play just 2:02 later to put the Bears up 3-1 and put RPI into a serious hole.

But RPI did not back down, digging in for a second straight Saturday and finding a way to pull back into things. A shot by Jared Wilson three minutes later was redirected in by Kenny Gillespie, halving the Brown lead, and RPI was all the way back four minutes after that with a goal by Zach Schroeder while Bears netminder Tim Ernst was being screened by his own man, tying the game at three.

A lackluster finish led into RPI's fourth consecutive overtime game - the first time that's happened since five in a row in February 1992. That period featured some good end-to-end action until a fairly weak elbowing call against Bourbonnais - possibly called as a make-up call after a strong hit at the end of regulation went (reasonably) uncalled - put Brown on an overtime power play that with 2:21 left.

In the final minute of the game, a Brown shot from the slot was saved by Hackett, but the rebound trickled behind him into the crease. Schroeder rushed over to try and clear it, but his poke-check sent the puck caroming off Hackett and toward the net, which Schroeder was crashing into. Waved off on the ice, the puck was found under Schroeder and in the net once play was stopped. The referees went to have it reviewed, but the replay system malfunctioned, and the initial call on the ice of no goal was upheld despite RPI TV replays fairly clearly showing what should have been a good goal.

Let off the hook by crook, RPI killed the remaining power play time and even had a good possession in the Brown end to conclude the game, but they were unable to pull off the ultimate robbery by putting one in on the other end, and the contest ended in a 3-3 tie. Regardless of the controversial ending, it was the sixth straight game without a loss for the Engineers, representing the team's best unbeaten streak to start the ECAC schedule since the early 1970s, and it leaves them in first place three weeks into the season - although most teams will play their games in hand this coming weekend while RPI heads back into non-conference mode.

Cam Hackett picked up ECAC Rookie of the Week honors for his heroics in leading RPI to their second-straight three point weekend.

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

By winning percentage
1. Quinnipiac (1.000)
2. RPI (.833)
3. Cornell (.750)
4. Harvard (.750)
5. St. Lawrence (.667)
6. Yale (.625)
7. Brown (.375)
8. Dartmouth (.333)
9. Colgate (.250)
10. Clarkson (.167)
11. Union (.167)
12. Princeton (.000)


#10 Yale at RPI
ECAC Game - Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
11/13/15 - 7:00pm

RESULT: RPI 3, Yale 2 (OT)


RECORD: 5-4-1 (4-0-1 ECAC, 9 pts)

Brown at RPI
ECAC Game - Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
11/14/15 - 7:00pm

RESULT: RPI 3, Brown 3 (OT)

BOX SCORES
College Hockey Stats
USCHO

RECAPS
RECORD: 5-4-2 (4-0-2 ECAC, 10 pts)

Upcoming games
20 Nov - at Bentley
24 Nov - New Hampshire
27 Nov - vs. Western Michigan (South Bend, IN)
28 Nov - at #16 Notre Dame/vs. #8 Harvard (South Bend, IN)
04 Dec - Dartmouth

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