After defeating Clarkson University in three games in the opening round of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament, Rensselaer set its sights on the St. Lawrence University Saints. Just two weeks prior, RPI defeated St. Lawrence 4-3 behind the great goaltending of senior Scott Diebold. This time was different, though. The games were on St. Lawrence’s home ice and both teams needed to win in order to keep their hopes alive for an NCAA tournament berth.
In the first game of the best-of-three series, both teams defended their own nets tenaciously. St. Lawrence’s Kyle Hayton made six saves in the first five minutes of the game. Then, during the next two minutes, the Saints moved the puck down onto RPI’s end and fired four shots on the Engineer net, all of which were saved by junior goalie Jason Kasdorf.
Late in the first period, St. Lawrence went on a power play after RPI freshman forward Lou Nanne was penalized two minutes for elbowing. The Saints fired off three shots with a man advantage but were stymied by an impassioned Engineer defense. Two were saved by Kasdorf and the other was blocked by senior forward Mark McGowan. After one period, the game remained scoreless.
Three more power plays, two in favor of RPI, occurred during the next 38 minutes, but all three were killed and neither team broke the scoreless tie. Then, with 52 seconds to play in the final period, St. Lawrence defender Chris Martin scored, assisted by forwards Alex Hagen and Woody Hudson.
The Engineers urgently tried to tie the score, but there simply wasn’t enough time to create a good scoring chance. The Saints took advantage of a momentary lapse by the RPI defense to win game one, 1-0.
Kasdorf played magnificently in defeat, stopping 33 of 34 shots on the RPI goal. On the other side of the net, Hayton saved all 27 shots on the Saints’ goal.
In game two, the Saints scored twice in a span of 65 seconds to take an early 2-0 lead. Then, two minutes into the second period, Engineer junior forward Mark Miller lit the lamp to bring the score to 2-1. The goal was assisted by Nanne and junior defender Chris Bradley.
St. Lawrence wouldn’t be outdone, though, scoring one goal late in the second and two more in the third to knock the Engineers out of ECAC contention in convincing fashion, 5-1.
The Engineers finished the season with a record of 12-26-3 and a conference record of 8-12-1. They did, however, advance to the quarterfinal round of the ECAC tournament for the first time since the 2012 season. In addition, Kasdorf finished fourth in the ECAC in total saves with 831 in 33 games played.