The Engineers had a tough weekend against their rival, the Union College Dutchmen. This double header weekend is a benchmark for students of Rensselaer and is usually an enjoyable break, but this year the games resulted in two losses for the Engineers.
The first game was hosted by RPI at 7 pm on Friday, October 28. Although the Engineers were unable to beat Union, the game did not lack excitement. There were a total of 19 penalties throughout the game, eight of which were in the third period, demonstrating the heat of the rivalry and the frustration of the Engineers. Despite a few gorgeous plays by the Engineers, generally involving a quick drop pass to beat the speed that Union brought to the ice, Rensselaer was dominated. Union was able to score on one of their own penalty kills and one of their 11 power play opportunities. The Engineers only won a third of the total face-offs during the game. And, perhaps most importantly, Union’s four goals were unanswered until over than halfway through the third period. The final score was 4–1, Union.
Needless to say, the Engineers brought a much more competitive game to Union at Schenectady the following night. I have personally never seen a game where the Engineers played such a solid power play, scoring on half of their opportunities.
The first period was scoreless, but Union had triple the shots on net that the Engineers had. Union scored a minute and a half into the second but the Engineers quickly followed suit, scoring a power play goal off of an interference call. Senior Riley Bourbonnais scored both of the Engineers’ goals for the night. Union scored again at the end of the second, giving them a one-goal lead heading into the third period.
The Engineers again responded to Union’s lead with the heat. Bourbonnais put up his second goal of the night on a power play assisted by junior Viktor Liljegren and freshman Will Reilly a few minutes into the third period. No more goals were scored for the remainder of the period but the last five minutes of play were a barrage on freshman Chase Perry in net. Union had nine shots in that time. With that momentum, Union was able to score after a minute of overtime play.
Although the record for the Engineers is a tad bleak at the moment, the competition at Union on Saturday was promising. The Engineers kept a much closer ratio in both face-off wins and shots blocked in their second contest against Union. The performance by Bourbonnais on the power play is also a great step in the right direction; there have been very few times when the Engineers truly took advantage of their man up opportunities. This coming weekend holds two home games: one against Brown and the other against Yale.