Men’s hockey dealt two more league losses

Engineers fall in last second effort by Quinnipiac University Bobcats, defeated by Tigers

JUNIOR DEFENSEMAN NICK BAILEN RIPS a shot on net during RPI’s last home game at the Houston Field House. Bailen and the rest of the Engineers will travel to Lake Placid this weekend for a special matchup against local rival Union College.

It was another rough weekend for the men’s hockey team as the Engineers dropped their final two ECAC contests of 2011. The Princeton University Tigers upended RPI by a 5-3 margin on Friday evening, while the Quinnipiac University Bobcats broke a 2-2 tie with two seconds left on the board to earn the victory. Rensselaer drops to 3-12-0 overall with a 1-6-0 league record following the two losses. Princeton improved to 4-7-2 overall with a 3-5-1 conference record, while the Bobcats jump to 9-6-3 on the season with a 2-4-3 ECAC mark.

Friday’s game was a back-and-forth affair between the Tigers and the Engineers, with both teams answering each other’s scores throughout the contest. RPI’s Freshman Jacob Laliberte opened the match with his first collegiate goal at 6:44 of the opening frame. It was quickly countered by sophomore Jack Berger’s sixth goal of the season at 11:15, with the assists going to freshman Kevin Mills and sophomore Kevin Ross. Two minutes later at 13:36, the Tigers took their first lead of the day off a tally from junior Rob Kleebaum. Finally, sophomore Matt Tinordi closed out the first period just over three minutes later with help from senior Josh Rabbani and junior Nick Bailen.

The second frame played out much like the first, with the two schools exchanging goals yet again. Midway through the period sophomore Andrew Calof gave the home standing Tigers a 3-2 advantage with his second goal of the season. With a minute and a half before the second intermission, junior C.J. Lee collected his first goal of the season, knotting the game at three.

Despite putting up 24 shots in the first two periods alone, the Engineers could not keep up with the offensive output, posting only seven attempts on net with none going in. Calof collected his second goal of the match at 7:06 for the eventual game-winner, while Berger sealed the win with an empty netter at 19:01.

Junior Bryce Merriam posted 19 saves for the Engineers, while sophomore goaltender Sean Bonar had 28 stops on the evening for the win.

Rensselaer faced more heartbreak the next night in Hamden, Conn. Just as the game appeared to be headed to an extra frame, Quinnipiac senior Yuri Bouharevich snuck the biscuit past freshman goaltender Scott Diebold to earn the game-winner with 2.4 seconds on the clock.

Quinnipiac freshman Matthew Peca opened the game with his fourth goal of the season at 13:01 of the first. Freshman Danny Federico took the initial shot on net from the point, but Diebold was able to make the save. However, the puck snuck out to senior captain Scott Zuverinski who quickly dished it to Peca as he one-timed the shot into the net.

Laliberte responded with his second goal in as many games at 17:10 to knot the game at one. Bailen’s shot from the blue line was tipped in past junior goalie Eric Hatrzell by Laliberte to even the score. Sophomore Brock Higgs also earned an assist on the play.

Following a scoreless second period, the Engineers netted their second goal off freshman Zach Schroeder’s first collegiate mark at 4:06 of the third. Higgs earned his second helper of the night, while freshman Mark McGowan was also credited with an assist.

That lead would be short lived as Zurevinski tied the game at two with his third goal of the season at 6:29. Junior Zach Davies picked up the puck to the left of Diebold, and passed it up to sophomore Zach Tolkinen on the blue line. Instead of taking the shot, Tolkinen connected with Zurevinski, who was able to bang the puck past Diebold for the equalizer.

After an RPI icing sent the puck back into the Engineers’ zone, the visitors managed to get the puck back into neutral territory. However, the attempt was intercepted by senior Bobcat Spence Heichman, who then dished the biscuit over to Tolkinen. The defenseman connected with junior forward Ben Arnt, who then found Bouharevich on the left side. Bouharevich blasted the shot from the left faceoff circle past Diebold for the game-winner.

Diebold finished with a whopping 35 saves in the loss, while Hartzell only had to make 20 stops for the Bobcats.

The Engineers return to the ice this weekend for a special non-conference matchup against Union College. The game, part of the Festivus Faceoff, will be held at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, N.Y., this Saturday at 4 pm. Also competing will be Clarkson University and St. Lawrence University, who will face off at 7:30 pm.