Just a few months removed from a berth in the NCAA Tournament in March, RPI’s men’s hockey team is off to its worst start in program history. The Engineers have only posted one win through nine games this season, including this past weekend’s ECAC opener. Rensselaer fell in a 4-1 decision to the Clarkson Golden Knights on Friday and followed with a 2-0 shutout loss to the St. Lawrence University Saints on Saturday. RPI is now 1-8-0 overall with a 0-2-0 ECAC record, while Clarkson improved to 6-2-2 overall and St. Lawrence is 1-5-0 on the year. Those two teams each have a 1-1 conference record.
Things looked promising for the Engineers on Friday as freshman Ryan Haggerty got the visitors on the scoreboard first. Haggerty tipped a shot from senior Mike Bergin to net his first collegiate goal at 18:06 of the first period. Junior Nick Bailen earned the other assist on the play, which would prove to be Rensselaer’s only goal of the weekend.
With nine seconds remaining in the first stanza, Clarkson knotted the game off senior Corey Tamblyn’s first of two goals on the night. Tamblyn collected the loose puck in front of the RPI net and buried the shot past junior goaltender Bryce Merriam. Sophomore Alex Boak and senior Jake Morely assisted on the tally.
Midway though the second period, Clarkson senior Louke Oakley would score the eventual game-winner with his team-leading sixth goal of the year at 8:43. The goal would be the only score of a penalty-filled period, which saw neither squad collect a specials teams tally.
Tamblyn redirected a shot from the point by Oakley to give the Golden Knights an insurance goal at 14:05 of the third period. Senior Nick Tremblay capped off the game with an empty-net goal at 17:02 to give Clarkson the 4-1 victory. Merriam finished with 28 saves for the Engineers, while senior Paul Karpowich made 20 stops for the Golden Knights.
The next night proved to be just as bad for RPI, as St. Lawrence sophomore goaltender Matt Weninger blocked all 18 shots faced to earn the shutout.
Freshman Patrick Doherty netted the game-winner for the Saints at 7:01 of the first period. Sophomore Greg Carey passed the puck to the low slot for Doherty, who buried the one-timer just below the crossbar. Junior Kyle Flanagan also earned an assist on the play.
The Saints made it a 2-0 lead early in the second period off a shot from the point by junior George Hughes. The slap shot rocketed through traffic and into the top right corner of the net for the final score of the game. Sophomore Patrick Raley and Carey assisted on Hughe’s first goal of the season.
Although the Engineers were given a 5-on-3 man advantage early in the third period, they were unable to capitalize and finished 0-for-6 on special teams. Merriam finished with 18 stops for Rensselaer in the loss.
RPI is back at the Houston Field House this weekend for a continuation of league play. Friday marks the annual Black Friday game for the Engineers as they take on Yale University. The next night welcomes the Brown University Bears to town as RPI looks to rack up some tallies in the win column. Opening puck drop for both games is set for 7 pm.