Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Men's Hockey - at Princeton (7 Jan)

An odd Thursday night game with school out of session was RPI's only game last weekend, and the Engineers tied it into their split with Miami by adding it to their road trip. After spending some time in Pittsburgh practicing and seeing the Penguins play, RPI crossed Pennsylvania and played an ECAC road game against the Princeton Tigers, a team that is much improved over last season but still among the lower-tier of the conference. In a game the Engineers would have probably liked to have come away with a pair of points, they settled for a tie, fighting back twice in the third period to knot the score, eventually skating away with a 3-3 score.

Princeton
Melanson-Bubela-Wood
Bourbonnais-Schroeder-Nanne
Miller-DeVito-Liljegren
Fulton, Ohrvall

Bradley-Prapavessis
Wilson-Reno
Moore-Hampton
Grant

Kasdorf

Princeton netminder Colton Phinney is one of the sneaky good goaltenders in the ECAC. His stats don't give that away, but he certainly doesn't have much help when it comes to defense. He was busy during the first period, facing 11 shots from an RPI team that had fired only 17 and 19 shots in their previous two games during the opening 20 minutes alone. The Engineers did strike first, with Jesper Ohrvall scoring his fifth goal in as many games with just under two minutes to play in the opening frame.

A far more even second period saw the Tigers tie things up on the power play, as Mike Ambrosia's second goal of the season made it 1-1 with about four minutes left in the period. The Tigers then took the lead early in the third period after Ohrvall and Princeton's Matt Nelson were sent off for roughing after the whistle as Max VĂ©ronneau scored on the ensuing four-on-four.

That lead was short-lived. 1:01 later, Jared Wilson scored his third of the season, from Jimmy DeVito (notching his second assist in his second game back) and Riley Bourbonnais to make it 2-2. That goal didn't swing momentum in the Engineers' favor, however, and minutes later RPI had to call a timeout after icing the puck. Seconds later, VĂ©ronneau's  second of the night made it 3-2 Princeton and the game began to have all the hallmarks of a bad loss for the Engineers.

It took some time, but RPI managed to find the equalizer once again. Just under six minutes after falling behind for a second time, with a little over three minutes left in regulation, Riley Bourbonnais hit the back of the cage for his 13th goal of the year, giving some hope for a total turnaround. Princeton complained that Zach Schroeder was offsides on the play, but the goal stood.

That was as far as they'd be able to get, thanks in part to some strong play from Phinney in the overtime period, otherwise dominated by the Engineers. Ohrvall could have given RPI their third OT victory of the season late in the extra session, but fanned on a shot that would have had a wide open net to greet it. Ultimately, it was a bittersweet tie. Usually, coming from behind twice is considered a "good" tie, but this was certainly a missed opportunity to gain another point against a team that has the most losses in league play so far this year.

RPI's next weekend is back at home as they host a once-again strong Cornell team that's scoring goals at a rate we haven't seen from them in quite some time, combined with their usual strong defensive showing. That's followed by the annual autism awareness game against a Colgate team that have easily been the league's biggest negative shock of the year to date.

Parker Reno suffered a shoulder injury, possibly during the Princeton game, and will be on the shelf for 6-8 weeks. That's not a good turn of events at all, especially considering that he leads the ECAC outside of Quinnipiac in plus/minus.

Bourbonnais' 13 goals this year is the third most for an Engineer over the last five years, trailing only Ryan Haggerty (28) and Brock Higgs (14), both in 2013-14. And there's still plenty of season left.

Current ECAC Standings
1. Quinnipiac - 22 pts (10-0-2)
2. Cornell - 13 pts (6-1-1)
3. RPI - 12 pts (4-1-4)
4. Harvard - 11 pts (4-2-3)
5. St. Lawrence - 9 pts (4-2-1)
6. Yale - 8 pts (3-3-2)
7. Princeton - 8 pts (3-7-2)
8. Dartmouth - 6 pts (3-5-0)
9. Brown - 6 pts (2-5-2)
10. Union - 6 pts (2-6-2)
11. Colgate - 5 pts (2-6-1)
12. Clarkson - 2 pts (0-5-2)

By winning percentage
1. Quinnipiac (.917)
2. Cornell (.812)
3. RPI (.667)
4. St. Lawrence (.643)
5. Harvard (.611)
6. Yale (.500)
7. Dartmouth (.375)
8. Brown (.333)
9. Princeton (.333)
10. Union (.300)
11. Colgate (.278)
12. Clarkson (.143)

#20 RPI at Princeton
ECAC Game - Goggin Ice Center (Oxford, OH)
1/7/16 - 7:00pm

RESULT: RPI 3, Princeton 3 (OT)

RECORD: 11-7-4 (4-1-4 ECAC, 12 pts)

Upcoming games
15 Jan - #8 Cornell
16 Jan - Colgate
21 Jan - at #2 Quinnipiac
23 Jan - vs. Union (Albany, NY)
29 Jan - at Brown

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