A successful weekend for the RPI Engineers; a sweep against one of the school’s oldest rivals: Union College. The Engineers set the standard for the weekend games on Friday night in the first period of the game. During those first 20 minutes, the Engineers put up four goals: the first by senior Travis Fulton, followed by senior Phil Hampton, sophomore Kenny Gillespie, and junior Riley Bourbonnais. The game went without another goal until early third period when senior Milos Bubela brought home a short-handed goal to make the score a crushing 5-0.
Tensions were already high between the rivaling teams, but the blowout score catalyzed further brutality. Of the 22 penalties in the game, 15 occurred in the third period, including two 10-minute misconducts per team. Union’s Mark Dufour did manage to slip one by the Engineer’s goalie, senior Jason Kasdorf, on one of their power plays near the end of the game with a well-placed slap shot from the blue line. Union dominated faceoffs, winning 39 of the 56 opportunities, but failed to capitalize on the chances that this offered them. RPI’s penalty kill defense was solid, only allowing one goal in the nine power plays that Union had. With a final score of 5-1, the stage was set for a brilliant Saturday night blackout game back at the Houston Field House.
The Engineers donned special gray jerseys for Saturday night’s blackout game, foregoing their normal white and red. The ferocious play from the game only 24 hours before carried over and the game began with aggressive physical play and hard forechecks. Union came out more determined and unified on Saturday, keeping the game tied at zero through one period.
From the middle of the first to well into the third period, the play became even more intense, but less physical. While there were still a few penalties throughout, the checks were solid, and only eight penalties were called during the game. There was a different feel to this competition; less of a battle of rivals and more of a competition of skill between two very driven teams.
RPI scored two goals in the second period, one by sophomore Jared Wilson and the other by Hampton only a few minutes later. The Engineers’ 2-0 lead went unanswered for the rest of the period despite two power plays and 13 shots on net by Union.
Four minutes into the third period, Union responded by taking advantage of their early power play, drawn by an interference call, and Sebastion Gringas scored. The Engineers retaliated with a power play goal of their own halfway through the period put up by senior Mark Miller making the score 3-1. Just two minutes later, Union scored again, bringing the RPI lead down to a single goal once again. The game got rougher for the last few minutes of play, but despite two more penalties, RPI took the win, sweeping Union. The teams will see each other again in the Mayor’s Cup, January 23, 2016. The Engineers are headed to Clarkson on Friday for a 7 pm game, hoping to keep the momentum going.