Heading into the final weekend of regular season play, the Engineers needed to win both of their games in order to secure a first round bye for the ECAC Hockey playoffs. Given the opportunity to head into the post season with momentum, RPI instead limped out of the regular season, failing to beat either opponent they faced.
The Engineers kicked off their weekend by heading to Hamilton, N.Y. to take on Colgate University, who had only eight wins going into the game. RPI failed to score a single goal as they were embarrassingly shut out 2-0. The Engineers were not vastly out-shot in the game, with both teams managing a rather meager 25 shots on goal. Senior goalie Jason Kasdorf, who usually plays like a brick wall in net, was clearly off his game as he gave up two goals early in the first period. Colgate forward Tylor Spink scored just one minute and 42 seconds into the game, and then found the back of the net again less than eight minutes later. The Engineers’ consistently lackluster offense couldn’t manage to make up the deficit, so, when the final buzzer sounded, the team found themselves out of contention for a first round bye.
Following a disappointing start to the weekend, RPI headed to Ithaca, N.Y. on Saturday to face Cornell University. While the Engineers failed to pull out a win, they did manage to tie the Big Red in what proved to be an exciting game. Cornell got off to a fast start, as Anthony Angello put the puck past Kasdorf just 28 seconds into the game. The Engineers pulled even when sophomore forward Viktor Liljegren found the back of the net with 8:28 gone in the second period. Unfortunately, Cornell took the lead back just 32 seconds later with yet another goal from Angello. RPI entered the third period trailing by one.
The Engineers have a penchant for disappearing in the third period of games this season, but this time they came to play. Senior defenseman Chris Bradley got the puck past Cornell netminder Mitch Gillam with just 3:56 gone from the third. The good times didn’t last, as Cornell defenseman Alec McCrea broke the tie just six minutes later. The Engineers once again found themselves down a goal, with less than 10 minutes left in regulation. They pulled Kasdorf with 2:04 left in the game in order to gain an extra attacker. The gamble paid off, as senior forward Milos Bubela scored his 10th goal of the season to tie the game with just 24 seconds left. He was assisted by Liljegren and defenseman Mike Prapavessis. That line has been hot for the Engineers during the last few weeks of the season and should be one to watch during the playoffs. Bubela’s goal sent the game into overtime, where neither team was able to secure a victory.
The Engineers now head into the first round of ECAC Hockey playoffs as the sixth seed. They will be playing a best-of-three series at home against 11th seed Brown University. The games will take place on March 4, 5 and 6 in the Houston Field House, with a 7 pm start time each night. The matchup on March 6 will not be played if either team manages to sweep the first two games. Let’s go Red!