RPI Men’s Hockey suffered a crushing 3-8 loss at the hands of the Union College Dutchmen on Saturday, January 24 during the annual Mayor’s Cup. While the struggling Dutchmen came into the game with a three-game losing streak, the Engineers entered the game with a three-game winning streak and two wins against Union this season under their belt. Despite a final score that suggests the contest was completely one-sided, the score remained close until the last period of the game, with the Engineers entering the third period up 3-2.
The puck dropped at 7:30 pm in the Times Union Center with Union winning the first faceoff of the game. Union got off two quick shots from forwards Max Novak and Ryan Scarfo, both saved by RPI junior goalie Jason Kasdorf. At 2:07, freshman forward Drew Melanson, assisted by sophomore forward Riley Bourbonnais and freshman forward Kenny Gillespie, lifted the puck over Union goaltender Colin Stevens to give RPI a 1-0 lead. 27 seconds later, Daniel Ciampini snuck the puck past Kasdorf to tie the game at 1-1. Union players Jeff Taylor and Mike Vecchione assisted the goal. An RPI goal at 16:13 by senior forward Matt Neal, assisted by senior forward Jacob Laliberte and junior forward Milos Bubela, put the Engineers back in the lead at 2-1 going into the second period.
The second period remained close, with each team only allowing one goal. A shot early in the period by RPI freshman forward Viktor Liljegren was followed by 10 unanswered shots by Union, but all failed to find the net. Melanson’s second goal of the game came at 13:04 to give the Engineers a 3-1 lead. The goal was assisted by Gillespie and senior defenseman Luke Curadi. The Dutchmen pulled out another goal against Kasdorf at 17:14 during a Union power play to bring the score to 3-2 going into the third period.
Despite being outshot during the first two periods, the Engineers managed to stay competitive until the third period, during which the defense crumbled and the offense failed to challenge Union’s defense. A dejected RPI defense provided RPI goaltenders little assistance during the third period, allowing six goals in the final period of play. After a series of disheartening goals by Union, Kasdorf made what appeared to be an impressive save to enthusiastic cheers from RPI fans, catching the puck behind him just at the goal line. The goal attempt was reviewed and determined to be a goal, further increasing the Dutchmen’s lead. Senior goaltender Scott Diebold relieved Kasdorf with just less than five minutes left in the third period. Unfortunately, Diebold didn’t fair any better than Kasdorf, saving the first shot he faced but letting the second shot in to give Union an 8-3 lead.
After Stevens saved a shot from the stick of freshman defenseman Jared Wilson, the game got heated with a short fight breaking out deep in Union territory and fans encouraging the fight. The confrontation ended with RPI sophomore forward Jake Wood receiving a major for hitting from behind and a game misconduct penalty and Curadi receiving a minor for roughing. Charlie Vasaturo of Union, who was left battered after the confrontation, was escorted off of the ice. Stevens was relieved by Union goalie Dillon Pieri with less than a minute left in the game.
To the credit of the players and coaches, they maintained composure during the end-of-game handshake and presentation of the Mayor’s Cup. With this loss, the Engineers’ season record falls to 9-17-1. The Engineers look to improve their record in Hanover, N.H. as they take on Dartmouth College this Friday.