The Engineers faced off against the Dutchmen of Union College in a two-game series this past weekend. Friday night’s game was played in Schenectady, a contest that saw RPI battle to a 4-3 loss. Rensselaer was outshot 32-21 on Friday and had five penalties putting them a man down for 10 minutes. Senior Forward Brock Higgs scored the first goal for Rensselaer unassisted and shorthanded early in the first. Union then went on to score the next four goals, tallying one in the first and second periods and two in the first two minutes of the third period. RPI made a strong comeback attempt led by junior forward Matt Neal’s two goals in the third. The first was assisted by junior forward Ryan Haggerty and sophomore forward Mike Zalewski and the second by junior forward Jacob Laliberte and Haggerty. Down one, RPI got a chance to even the game late in the third when Union took a penalty, but the Engineers were unable to find a goal.
Following the 4-3 loss, Rensselaer returned to Troy hoping to have a different outcome in their home rink. In a rather uneventful first period, the Engineers looked sloppy and Union controlled much of the game. RPI had the best scoring chances of the period, trying to jam a few home but came up empty. The Dutchmen and the Engineers traded penalties in the first with each team seeing two opportunities to have a man advantage. Union scored the first two goals of the game in the second period, both on a power play. Senior forward Brock Higgs would answer for the Engineers, finding the back of the net at 14:49 with assists from Neal and senior defender Bo Dolan. The third period was a battle for the first 15 minutes until Union was able to come up with another goal at 15:15 and then again on power play at 16:25.
With 3:13 remaining and down 4-1, a clearly frustrated Haggerty would level Union captain senior defender Mat Bodie behind the Dutchmen’s’ net. After taking a few shoves from the other Union players, Bodie charged after Haggerty, grabbing his head and pulling him to the ice. Union junior forward Coatta and Higgs also got tangled up during the play, and all four players would get roughing minors and ten minute misconducts with subsequent ejections from the game. Haggerty also got called for charging on the play. With 50 seconds left to play, Union’s Matt Krug took a run at a Rensselaer player, making contact to the head. Krug’s hit, in conjuction with the events minutes earlier, caused additional scraps between the two teams. Once it had all been sorted out, Krug was assessed a five minute major for contact to the head and a game misconduct. Union’s Matt Wilkins received two minutes for holding and a misconduct. RPI’s freshman forward Jake Wood got two majors—one for spearing and one for contact to the head-in addition to two game misconducts. Six more penalties were issued during the last eight seconds of play. Union junior defenseman Charlie Vasaturo received a two minute minor for slashing, a misconduct penalty, and a game misconduct. RPI sophomore forwards Milos Bubela and Mike Zalewski would each receive misconducts and Mark Miller of RPI would be issued a two minute cross checking penalty.
The difference between a misconduct and a game misconduct should be noted here. According to the NCAA ice hockey rule book, “A game misconduct penalty involves the suspension of a player, coach, or other non-playing person for the balance of the game […] A player who is assessed a game misconduct penalty is suspended for the remainder of that game only. The player shall be allowed to play in the team’s next scheduled game.” “A misconduct penalty involves the removal of a player, including a goalkeeper, from the game for a period of 10 minutes; however, a substitute is permitted to replace that player immediately. A player whose misconduct penalty has expired shall remain in the penalty bench until the next stoppage of play.”
Both penalties are recorded as 10 minute penalties in the stat line. All players in the Union/RPI game receiving a misconduct penalty were also ejected from the game because there was less than 10 minutes to play when the penalty was issued. When the game finally came to an end, Union had been issued 16 penalties for 83 minutes and the Engineers had 20 penalties for 94 minutes. The Union players raised their sticks and saluted toward the home crowd in a mocking gesture as they left the ice, causing many to question how much class the Dutchmen squad has.
RPI head coach Seth Appert’s comments on the game can be seen online under the men’s hockey section of the RPI athletics website, http:// www.rpiathletics.com/.
After the two losses to the previously unranked Dutchmen, RPI fell to No. 14 in the USCHO rankings.
The Engineers look to rebound next weekend in Erie, PA, as they play a two game road series against Mercyhurst University. RPI returns to the Houston Field House on December 6 when they take on the Quinnipiac Bobcats.