Saturday night at the Houston Field House was tough for the Engineers and the RPI fans in attendance, as the Harvard Crimson came ready to play.
After a strong first shift from the Engineers, the red and white drew a penalty that led to two minutes of passing, which would be about the only time the Rensselaer players could find each other’s sticks all night. The power play yielded no opportunities, and Rensselaer’s long night began from there. Harvard began to start dominating every aspect of the game as the Engineers looked flat on their feet and sloppy with their passing. A combination of poor choices with the puck and bad playmaking led to turnovers in the RPI zone, including a turnover right into the slot from which the Engineers were bailed out by a great save from junior RPI net minder Jason Kasdorf. The Engineers found themselves with a one man advantage again shortly after, but again, the power play was a fruitless effort, with much of it spent retrieving the puck from the corners behind Kasdorf. Sensing the lack of energy from the team, the crowd at the Field House tried to energize the building by starting a “Go Red! Go White!” chant. This would be a short lived chant as RPI took their first of six penalties for the night. The Engineers were able to fend off Harvard’s attack, but late in the period, sloppy play led to a turnover and a two on one for Harvard forcing the Engineers to take an interference penalty on the back check with 2:07 left to play in the period. This opportunity was seized by the Crimson as a tic-tac-toe passing play beat the Kasdorf and the entire penalty kill unit to put Harvard’s first goal on the board. Down 10-5 in shots on goal, down 1-0 in the game, and coming off an unsuccessful penalty kill, the Engineer’s went back into the locker room without any momentum.
The second period began similarly to the first, with the game looking pretty balanced. The Engineers earned a good chance against the Harvard goalie about two minutes into the period. At 3:07 into the period, Harvard took a too many men penalty giving RPI a power play, but again the Engineers were unable to generate offense. Play continued without much happening from either team until Harvard netted its second tally at about the halfway point in the period. Harvard beat a man one on one into the zone and found himself alone behind Kasdorf. The Harvard forward and Rensselaer played a game of cat and mouse, Harvard behind the net, RPI at the top of the crease, which would be won by Harvard as the puck was tucked between Kasdorf’s skate and the left goal post after the defensemen picked the wrong direction to chase, making the game 2-0 for the Crimson. The Engineer’s only other real scoring chance came just after as senior forward Jacob Laliberte beat the Harvard goalie but hit the crossbar off of a Harvard turn over that left him all alone in the slot. With just over six minutes to play, Rensselaer took another interference penalty leading to a defensive zone face off. A face-off win for the Engineers led to a clear and a subsequent breakout from Harvard. They streaked up the ice and scored on the first rush making the game 3-0, in favor of the visitors. The Engineers would take one more penalty before the period came to a close with the game clearly in Harvard’s hands.
Harvard opened the period with a good scoring chance that they followed up with a goal just 1:07 into the period leaving RPI with a four-goal deficit. A bad pinch by the Engineers in the offensive zone shortly after led to a Harvard 3-0 lead. This forced Rensselaer to take its fifth penalty of the night for tripping. RPI would take its sixth penalty just past the half-way point in the period for holding. At this point, the seats began to empty as fans had seen enough and began to try to beat the traffic out of the Houston Field House. Those that did leave didn’t miss any action as the remainder of the game yielded no real source of excitement from either team. In a game in which 12 minutes were spent shorthanded and the offense only generated 14 shots, the Engineers weren’t able to find a winning effort and fell to Harvard 4-0.
After a disappointing return to the Houston Field House from previously sweeping formerly number two ranked Union last weekend, the Engineers were able to right the ship on Saturday against Dartmouth University coming up with a 2-1 win. After dropping a goal in the first period, Rensselaer stymied the Dartmouth attack in the second and third period, coming up with two goals in the final period from junior forward Milos Bubela and senior forward Zach Schroeder. Freshman forward Viktor Liljegren and junior defensemen Craig Bokenfohr were credited with assists on the Bubela goal and freshman forward Lou Nanne and junior forward Mark Miller for the goal by Schroeder. This past weekend brings RPI’s record this season to 4-6-0 and 3-1-0 in Eastern College Athletic Conference play. The Engineers remain at home next weekend, facing Princeton University on Friday November 14, and face off against 20th ranked Quinnipiac on Saturday November 15.