Rensselaer men’s hockey opened its regular season with a trip to the University of Massachusetts Lowell last Friday. The results were disappointing, a 0-3 loss—But, the Engineers came to life on Sunday afternoon at the Houston Fieldhouse and upset top-ranked Boston College in a sensational display of defense and timely scoring.
In Friday’s matchup against the UMass Lowell River Hawks, the home team peppered the RPI net, firing six shots on goal. Senior netminder Jason Kasdorf stopped the first five, but the sixth got by to give UMass Lowell a 1-0 edge. The goal was scored by forward Michael Louria and assisted by forward Evan Campbell. Several minutes later, RPI earned a power play when defenseman Niklas Folin was penalized for offensive interference in the eighth minute of the game. The Engineers failed to mount a legitimate attack on the River Hawks net though, attempting only one shot on goal, which was saved by goalie Kevin Boyle.
The teams went back and forth for the next 10 minutes, with RPI putting five additional shots on net to UMass-Lowell’s three. All eight were saved and the home team retained its one goal edge. Then, with less than a minute remaining in the opening period, sophomore forward Viktor Liljegren was penalized two minutes for elbowing. Fourteen seconds later, Campbell scored on the power play to give the River Hawks a 2-0 lead.
Early in the second period, the River Hawks took advantage of another power play to take a three-goal lead despite an impressive four-save stand by Kasdorf. The third goal of the evening was scored by forward Adam Chapie and assisted by forward Nick Master.
Thirty eight scoreless minutes rounded the 3-0 victory for UMass-Lowell. Boyle recorded a 27-save shutout while Kasdorf stopped 35 of 38 shots he faced in defeat.
On Sunday afternoon, October 11, the puck dropped at the Men’s non-league hockey game between Rensselaer’s Freshman Evan Tironese and Boston College’s Austin Cangelosi at 2 pm. BC won the faceoff back to their defender, Steve Santini. This play set the tone for the beginning of the first period; Boston kept the pressure on and was able to keep the puck in their offensive end for the majority of the first five minutes of the game, and then was given a power play from the Engineers as the tensions rose and play became more physical. Although they failed to capitalize on this opportunity with a goal, they did manage to put four shots on the Rensselaer goalie, Senior Jason Kasdorf, and keep their momentum.
Through the first period, the Engineers were granted two power play opportunities on which they were not able to pull a goal from, but they did pick up the pace with a few good breakaways, they were playing consistently offensively and put 13 shots on net (the same that BC put on theirs), despite their difficulty in completing their breakout. This difficulty is not entirely on the part of the Engineers; BC’s defensive play was solid and would force the Engineers to lose control of the puck to the BC defenders who would then perform a ‘D to D’ pass or two before putting the puck back in play in the opposite direction.
The game stayed tied until near the end of the second period. But just because there was no score until there was less than a minute in the period, does not mean that the tensions were not high or that there was any lack of excitement. The Engineers suffered two penalties, and BC took one as well. Junior Riley Bourbonnais scored with 45 seconds left in the period. The hero of the second may have been Bourbonnais for putting the first goal of the game on the board, but it could just as easily have been Kasdorf for stopping all 29 shots on the Engineers’ net so far.
Rensselaer has only played against BC once in the past few years, and that was two years ago. The game ended with a loss of 7 – 2 for the Engineers.
The Engineers were granted another power play a few minutes into the third. At the end of the power play, Bourbonnais scored again assisted by Tironese and sophomore Jared Wilson after a rush into the zone and a drop pass play to set up the goal.
Despite the fact that they were two points behind, BC continued to pressure hard in the third eventually earning them a power play goal half way into the period, but that was the last goal scored in the game and the Engineers were able to steal a win from the first ranked team in what may well have been one of the most exciting non-league games in quite a long time.
Next up for 1-1 Rensselaer is a trip to Alaska next weekend to face University of Alaska Anchorage and University of Alaska Fairbanks as part of the Brice Alaska Gold Rush Tournament.