TROY, N.Y. — If there ever was a dominating performance in college hockey, it was there for all of the Houston Fieldhouse to see on Saturday evening as the Rensselaer Engineers raced out to a 3-0 lead in the first period and downed the Princeton Tigers, 6-0, to advance to the ECAC Final Five in Lake Placid.
The Engineers got six goals from six different players and limited Princeton to 21 shots on goal, 11 in the first two periods. Rensselaer took 25 shots and held Princeton scoreless on seven power-play opportunities while capitalizing twice and scoring once shorthanded.
“We played a complete game and we have been concentrating on taking care of things,” said Engineer head coach Dan Fridgen. “I have to give all the credit to the guys in the locker room. At this point in the season as a coach you can only remind them of certain things and they’re going out and executing.”
“They were sprinting and we just skated,” said Princeton head coach Len Quesnelle. “I think RPI came out hungrier and capitalized on turnovers and out mistakes.”
The Engineers got off to an early 3-0 lead in the first period as a result of Princeton turnovers. Jim Vickers found an open net when a turnover behind the cage saw the puck come straight out to Chris Migliore who fed him for the one-timer.
Marc Cavosie got a feed from Matt Murley to shock Dave Stathos with a shot and a goal, and then Murley got a quick pass from Nolan Graham to rock Stathos again.
The first period ended with a 3-0 Engineer lead and ended Stathos’ evening — and eventually his career — as the senior allowed three goals on eight shots in the first period.
The Engineers made it 5-0 after two periods as Danny Eberly scored on the power play and then Conrad Barnes deflected a shot past Nate Nomeland, on another Rensselaer power play.
The Engineers added to the score as Chris Migliore broke in alone shorthanded and put one through Nomeland’s legs for the final score of 6-0.
“Both nights we had an excellent team effort,” said Fridgen. “Last night we had guys step up and that’s been the foundation of our success. Everybody has taken the bull by the horn and everyone has stepped up and that’s what you need at this time of year.”
The Tigers end the season at 11-18-2 after a great run to make the playoffs and gaining the number six seed.
“We put together a pretty good run heading into the playoffs but we couldn’t sustain it,” said Quesnelle. “We didn’t bring our best this weekend and RPI did.”
The Engineers (18-12-4), who are arguably the hottest team in the ECAC at the moment, will advance to Lake Placid to take on Dartmouth in the play-in game on Thursday evening. Just eight weeks ago, no one imagined that the Engineers would be headed to Lake Placid as they stood in last place in the conference.
“I don’t think people realize how difficult it is to get to Lake Placid,” said Fridgen. “It’s a long season and there’s a lot of elements that are out of your control and here we are going. It certainly has been a long road for us.”
Len Bardsley contributed to this article.