Engineers show no mercy against Lakers on homecoming weekend
The Rensselaer Engineers beat the Mercyhurst Lakers 6‒3 in their home opener after netting a goal 33 seconds in and converting on both of their first two power plays. Jakob Lee finished the night with five points on two goals and three assists, Jake Gagnon with three points on a goal and two assists, and Ryan Mahshie with two goals. In the game the following night, RPI’s Jack Brackett buried an overtime winner to take the contest 3‒2.
The Engineers started off their season by scoring an opener just 33 seconds in. Jakob Lee wrapped the puck around the net, goaltender Tyler Harmon hugging the post to block. Instead, Lee opened up his stick to find teammate Ryan Mahshie, who easily buried the puck into the net before Harmon could react to put RPI ahead. The Engineers piled on with another goal in the first three minutes. After a scrum along the boards, John Beaton expertly slid the puck out to Jake Gagnon at the blue line. Gagnon drifted forward and wound up, firing a missile over Harmon’s right shoulder to put RPI up by two.
Mercyhurst responded with a little less than 13 minutes left to play in the period. On the rush, Carson Briere fed a cross-crease pass to Rylee St. Onge. The Lakers’ captain redirected the puck with his skates, not a deliberate kicking motion according to the officials, past RPI goaltender Jack Watson, to cut the deficit in half.
With 5:27 left in the period, the Engineers went on their first power play of the year after Mercyhurst’s Jake Beaune was sent to the box for tripping. The aggressive RPI offense only needed 12 seconds to light the lamp. Jack Agnew scanned his options from the point, ultimately sending a shot toward goal. Lee, set up in front of Harmon to screen, held out his stick like a matador’s cape, redirecting the puck past Harmon for the Engineers’ third goal. The period finished with the Engineers up 3‒1.
After converting their first penalty of the season, RPI went back on the power play and netted another goal in just 18 seconds of the power play. Agnew, to the side of the net, patiently surveyed the offensive zone. Seeing the opportunity with Lee positioned in front of goal, Agnew hurled the puck against his teammate’s angled blade and into the net. After a combined 30 seconds with an extra skater, Lee netted two power play goals. Matt Lenz replaced Harmon in the Mercyhurst crease.
The unsatiated Engineer offense scored their fifth goal with less than six minutes remaining in the second period. Lee cleared the puck out of the defensive zone to TJ Walsh along the boards in the neutral zone. Walsh threaded a between-the-legs pass to James McIsaac, setting up a one-on-one with a Lakers’ defenseman. McIsaac sped around the outside and slipped a shot five-hole on the fresh Laker goaltender. The Engineers headed into the final period with a four-goal lead over Mercyhurst.
RPI peppered Lenz with shots, but it was the Lakers that would score. Watson came out to play the puck directly next to his net. After Watson kept the puck for several seconds, Mercyhurst’s Kyler Head poked the puck off him for an easy goal to bring the score to 5‒2. The Lakers diminished the Engineers’ lead to two with just under seven minutes left to play when a quick shot from the point by Philip Waugh whizzed past Watson.
In the dying minutes of the game, Watson produced several clutch saves to keep the Engineers in the game. With 40.7 seconds remaining, Mahshie buried an empty netter to finish off Mercyhurst.
The Engineers took on Mercyhurst again the following night, with Altti Nykanen and Nick Strom netting RPI’s goals in regulation before heading into overtime. Forty seconds into the extra frame, the Engineers forced Lenz to make two quick saves, the final rebound falling into the path of Jack Brackett. The RPI forward buried the puck into the empty right side of the net for the Engineers’ overtime winner, taking the contest 3‒2. In the second game, Watson saved 37 of the 39 shots he faced for a save percentage of 0.949.
The victories bring the Engineers’ record to 2‒0‒0 for an undefeated start to the season. Click here for the box score for the first game and here for the box score for the second. Tune in to ESPN+ for all ECAC home games this season.