Engineers succumb to setback in Last Frontier

RPI DEFENDS AGAINST the Alaskan Fairbanks Nanooks in stressful Brice Alaska Gold Rush Tournament. (file photo)

RPI traveled to Alaska last weekend to play in the Brice Alaska Gold Rush tournament. In the first game, the Engineers took a lead early in the third period against the University of Alaska Anchorage before faltering down the stretch and losing 4-3. In the second game, senior goaltender Jason Kasdorf recorded 47 saves against the University of Alaska Fairbanks, but still Rensselaer fell 4-2.

In the first game of the weekend, forward Dylan Hubbs scored, assisted by forwards Cam Amantea and Matt Anholt, with five minutes remaining in the first period to put the Seawolves ahead. In response, the Engineers went on the attack, firing five shots on the Anchorage net in the final five minutes of the period. However, after one period, the game remained scoreless.

While the first period belonged to the Seawolves, the momentum shifted to the Engineers in the second. RPI rattled off five more shots in the first five minutes compared to zero for Anchorage. Two were blocked and two were saved. But the fifth one slipped through off the stick of freshman Evan Tironese, assisted by sophomore forward Lou Nanne and sophomore defender Jared Wilson.

Later in the second period, RPI took advantage of a kneeing penalty on Seawolves defenseman Jarrett Brown to score its second goal of the period. Freshman defenseman Meirs Moore took advantage of an open look to score his first collegiate goal and give Rensselaer a 2-1 edge. The power play goal was assisted by sophomore defenseman Mike Prapavessis and freshman forward Jesper Ohrvall with eight minutes left in the second period.

Anchorage struck back less than 90 seconds into the third period with forward Mason Mitchell assisting Austin Azurdia to tie the game at two. Then, four minutes later, Anchorage went on the power play after RPI was penalized for boarding. However, instead of allowing Anchorage to take advantage of the opportunity, Prapavessis stole the puck and passed it ahead to senior forward Zach Schroeder. From there Schroeder found Bubela open in the middle and Bubela finished at the net to give the Engineers a 3-2 lead.

The lead didn’t last long, though, as Anchorage took advantage of a high sticking penalty on RPI that occurred just 36 seconds after Bubela’s goal. With 12:48 remaining in the game, freshman defender Wyatt Ege scored to tie the game at 3. Three minutes later Ege scored his second goal of the game, assisted by Anholt to give Anchorage a 4-3 advantage.

RPI mounted a valiant charge in the final ten minutes of the game, putting seven shots on Seawolves’ goalie Olivier Mantha. But Mantha didn’t blink, turning all seven aside to preserve the win for Anchorage.

The next day, RPI faced the Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks and jumped out to a 2-0 lead nine minutes in. The first goal was scored three and a half minutes in by junior forward Riley Bourbonnais off a combination of passes from Bubela and Tironese. Then, at precisely the nine minute mark in the first period, junior forward Jake Wood stole the puck from the Nanooks and broke away from the pack for his first goal of the season.

Again, the lead did not stick. Nanooks center Tayler Munson grabbed the rebound of a shot by forward Marcus Basura and flicked it past Kasdorf to bring the score to 2-1 RPI. Then, early in the third, forward Colton Sparrow scored the tying goal. Four minutes later, center Peter Krieger gave Fairbanks the lead midway through the final period.

RPI pulled Kasdorf late in the game in hopes of scoring the tying goal but instead Munson scored his second goal of the game on the empty net to give the Nanooks the two-goal cushion they finished with.

RPI fell to 1-3 after its loss to Alaska Fairbanks and will host the University of Michigan this Saturday the 17th at Houston Field House.