TROY, N.Y. — The Rensselaer Engineers raced out to a 3-0 lead in the first period and never looked back as they kept the Vermont Catamounts winless on the season with a 7-1 victory in the first annual Black Friday game at Rensselaer.
The Engineers wore special black uniforms that were descendants of the 1985 NCAA Championship sweaters, auctioning them off during the game. Afterward, winning bidders were given their sweaters right off the players’ backs.
“We might have to put in another order,” joked Engineer coach Dan Fridgen. “I thought we played real well tonight from start to finish. With Black Friday, the third jerseys certainly added some excitement to the game.”
The Engineers scored their first two goals on five-on-three power plays as the Cats took 18 minutes worth of penalties in a 2:48 span of the first period.
Kevin Croxton scored his second goal of the year with a shot that sneaked by Travis Russell on the power play, and then Alexander Valentin’s centering pass went past Russell off the skate of Vermont’s Scott Mifsud to give the Engineers the 2-0 lead.
Ben Barr got a great feed from Nick Economakos to break in alone on Russell and roofed one over his left shoulder to give the Engineers the 3-0 lead after one.
An odd-man rush saw Chris Myers score his first collegiate goal for the Cats, but that was all they could muster as the Engineers answered with two more goals to end the second with a 5-1 lead.
Tommy Green scored his third of the season falling down. As he was being roughed up in front of the net, he took a backhanded swipe with the stick and put it past a surprised Russell.
Less than three minutes later Croxton scored his second of the game on a give-and-go with Economakos from behind the net. Croxton gave the puck to Economakos, who fed it back to him in front, and Russell was caught going the wrong way.
That would end Russell’s night as Scott Sortal took over.
The Engineers scored two more times in the third. After a major to Conrad Barnes of Rensselaer, Nick Economakos scored on a shorthanded breakaway and C.J. Hanafin scored the seventh Rensselaer goal with a tic-tac-toe effort down low on the power play.
“I’m not going to talk about our team right now; they don’t deserve it,” said Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon. “I’m going to give credit where credit is due and that’s to RPI. We should be talking about RPI. We don’t deserve to be talked about right now.
“RPI was a ten times better hockey team than we were in every facet of the game. From the net out, they wanted it more tonight and that’s tough for me to swallow.”
“We did a good job from the drop of the puck to the final buzzer,” said Fridgen. “We did a good job of generating offense and really sticking with the game plan. We concentrated on playing solid defense and that led to a lot of our scoring opportunities.”
Nathan Marsters made 27 saves in goal for Rensselaer, while Russell and Sortal each stopped 12.
The Engineers (4-3-1, 2-1-0 ECAC) will host Dartmouth on Saturday while Vermont (0-6-2, 0-3-0 ECAC) travels to Union, where Sneddon will play his former team for the first time.