TROY, N.Y. — The host Rensselaer Engineers took out some of the frustration of not making the finals of their own Rensselaer/HSBC Holiday Hockey Tournament, defeating Notre Dame, 6-2. The Engineers scored four times in the second period to put the Irish away.
“Coming off last night’s loss we were able to put it out of our minds and park it,” said Engineer coach Dan Fridgen. “Playing four periods of hockey last night versus what they had and I thought we were sluggish in the first. But in the second we picked it up and did a good job.”
The game was touch and go in the first period until the Engineers’ Hamish Cunning let out a long lead pass that found Jim Henkel. Henkel broke in alone and as he was being converged upon, he put a wrist shot in on Tony Zasowski. The shot caught him in the arm and went past him for the 1-0 lead.
As the second period started, the Engineers scored on the power play just 16 seconds in. Matt Murley got hit with a pass, broke past Brett Lebda and deked Zasowski for the 2-0 lead.
The Irish then put one on the board on the power play as Dan Carlson found a streaking Lebda and he beat Kevin Kurk.
Then the Engineers scored 51 seconds later as an initial Andrew McPherson shot was shoveled home by Ben Barr for his first collegiate goal.
The Engineers added two more in the second period when Carson Butterwick scored on the power play, and, just 33 seconds, later McPherson added a goal off of a faceoff play, giving the Engineers a 5-1 lead after two periods.
“That was the difference, no question,” said Irish head coach Dave Poulin about the second period. “At 0-0, we talked before the game about them trying to pop someone behind our defense and it was a total defensive breakdown that let Henkel in. They’re a different team when they’re up 1-0. And then they got rolling in the second period and we couldn’t match them.”
Ryan Dolder added a goal for the Irish in the third, but that was matched by a Scott Basiuk goal to give the final of 6-2.
The Irish (4-14-3) will host Ferris State next weekend and hope to put this
weekend behind them.
“We’re a team that’s really searching for some things right now,” said Poulin. “The good news is that it’s 2001 the next time we play and we can put it all behind us.
“We haven’t gotten a bounce all year and we haven’t created a bounce all year either. We’re a struggling hockey team, we’ve been struggling since two minutes into the season, but we’ll find a way to come out of it. We’ve got 18 league games left so there is enough time left for us.”
Meanwhile the Engineers (9-4-1) will head to Brown and Providence in ECAC action next week.
“A consolation is a very difficult game to play and the way we lost last night was a very difficult way to lose, but we did a real good job of coming out and putting it behind us and getting the victory,” said Fridgen. “You can’t be shy about it, you have to come out, you have an out of league opponent and it’s RPI versus Notre Dame and we have to do what’s best for our team.”