Starting off the season with a bang, the men’s hockey team defeated Acadia University in exhibition action on Saturday night with a seven-goal blowout. Junior Nick Bailen and freshman Ryan Haggerty each scored a pair of power play goals, while freshman Scott Diebold stopped all 19 shots he faced in the 7-0 victory.
The Engineers nearly placed on the board in the opening minute of play following a breakaway from freshman Jacob Laliberte that was ultimately stopped by the Acadia defense. That offensive fervor continued throughout the match as Rensselaer scored two goals in the first frame, one in the second period, and a whopping four goals in the final stanza of play.
Nearly six minutes into the contest, Haggerty scored his first of two on the night off passes from senior Josh Rabbani and freshman Zach Schroeder. With 20 seconds left before the first intermission, Bailen notched his first of the night after finding himself alone on the side of the Acadia net. Sophomore defenseman Pat Koudys dished the puck over to senior Patrick Cullen on the point, who then sent the puck down low to Bailen. An ECAC All-Preseason Team selection and ranked among the top-10 defenders in the NCAA by USCHO.com, Bailen roofed the puck just under the crossbar to give the Engineers a 2-0 advantage.
Play evened out in the second period, with the Acadia Axemen posting nine shots to RPI’s 15. Despite many chances throughout the frame, Bailen would notch Rensselaer’s only goal of the second period. At 5:16, Bailen corralled a pass from Koudys on the point and blasted a shot on net that deflected off an Acadia defender and into the net for the Engineers’ third-straight power play goal. In addition to Koudys, sophomore Brock Higgs also earned an assist on the play.
Rensselaer’s superior conditioning shined in the third period as the defense limited the Axemen to only three shots on net, while the Engineer offense managed to slip the puck past Acadia goaltender Evan Mosher four times.
After earning an assist earlier in the match, Schroeder made it a 4-0 game with a wrist shot from the right circle. Haggerty scored off his own rebound at 7:38 to increase the Engineers’ lead to five, while sophomore Bo Dolan made it a 6-0 advantage with a power play goal at 11:35. Junior CJ Lee closed out scoring in the game with an even-strength goal at 17:26, bringing the final score to 7-0, RPI.
Diebold blocked all 19 shots faced, while Mosher posted 27 saves on the evening. Several Engineers posted multi-point nights, including Cullen, Higgs, Koudys, Bailen, Haggerty, and Lee, who all had two, and Schroeder, who posted three points off two assists and a goal.
The Engineers open the regular season at home this weekend with a two-game tilt against Minnesota State University at Mankato in the first ever meeting of the two programs. The first game is set for Friday night at 7 pm, while Saturday’s match against the Mavericks also begins at 7 pm.