Last Saturday, a crowd of over 4,700 Rensselaer faithful packed into the Houston Field House clad in RPI red for Men’s Hockey’s Big Red Freakout! game against the Yale Bulldogs. Besides the Blackout drubbing of Union last October, this was the biggest game of the season and excitement abounded prior to the opening puck drop. The Engineers fell hard early, though. In the first period, Yale went on a power play with just two minutes and 53 seconds gone by. Twenty seconds later, Yale center Carson Cooper scored with assists from forward Mike Doherty and defender Nate Repensky. This resulted in a collective sinking feeling in the just recently eager RPI crowd. Then, a little more than two minutes later, forward John Baiocco took the puck from defenseman Dan O’ Keefe, beat his defender, and flicked the puck over junior goalie Jason Kasdorf’s outstretched glove to give the Bulldogs an early 2-0 lead from which the Engineers could not recover.
The lone highlight of the night for the Engineers came late in the first period when freshman forward Viktor Liljegren scooped up the rebound off a freshman defender Drew Melanson miss and fired the puck past Yale goalie Mark Lyon.
A reinvigorated Rensselaer crowd watched their team take the ice for the second period, down a goal and in possession of the momentum. But just a minute and a half into the second period Doherty quelled RPI’s hopes, scoring a shot through the legs of Kasdorf to give the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead. Five minutes later, defenseman Rob O’Gara crossed the puck to left wing Frankie DiChiara for a one-timer past Kasdorf to put Yale up 4-1. The Engineers couldn’t score following this Yale goal, ending the game with Yale on top, 4-1.
Kasdorf saved 24 of 28 shots that came his way but was bested by Lyon who saved 25 of 26 to earn the victory.
In defeat, the Engineers fall to a record of 9-22-1 while the Bulldogs improve to an overall record of 15-7-3. Next up for the Engineers is a road trip this weekend to western New York to take on Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference rivals Cornell University and Colgate University.