TROY, N.Y. — The best that Rensselaer had to offer Friday was just not enough against No. 10 Harvard. The Engineers outshot and controlled most facets of the game except for the scoreboard.
The Engineers generated many opportunities, but never put one past Harvard goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris as he made 32 saves and the Crimson defeated RPI, 3-0. The Engineers were shut out for the fourth time this season.
“We let them have the tempo in the first period,” said Harvard coach Ted Donato. “But we kept it together and got a good performance from Dov. We certainly made him look real good tonight.”
“We came out with great energy tonight and put a lot of shots on net,” said RPI captain Nick Economakos. “But unfortunately when you’re playing a team like Harvard and a goaltender like Grumet-Morris, simply getting shots is not enough and you saw that tonight.”
A first period that favored the Engineers didn’t turn out that way on the scoreboard. Brad Farynuk pinched in on a power play, but shot it high and wide with either corner to choose from. Minutes later Economakos and Kevin Croxton both missed open nets on the power play.
The Crimson (15-6-2, 12-4-1 ECACHL) got on the board first with their only opportunity on the power play in the period. A cross-ice pass from Dylan Reese was one-timed by Charlie Johnson past Andrew Martin as Martin couldn’t get from right to left in time to stop the shot.
The second started to turn the Crimson’s way. Both Ryan Maki and Rob Flynn hit posts, but the Crimson were rebuffed as the Engineers put another rush on, with several more chances on the power play. However, again, the Crimson answered the Rensselaer chances with a goal.
Tyler Eaves tried to send the puck up the boards and out of the zone, but did not get enough on it and Jon Pelle took over. He sent a quick pass to Johnson, who was alone in front of Martin, and with a deke, Johnson put it past Martin to make it 2-0, his second of the game.
“Charlie is a dynamic player and it was nice to see him get rewarded for his effort,” said Donato.
In the third period, Tom Cavanagh left the puck behind the net for Dave Watters. Watters was able to muscle his way to come out in front of Martin and just jam it home to make it 3-0.
RPI’s best chance of the third came when Kevin Croxton had Grumet-Morris down, but his shot was blocked by a defender and then was stopped sharply by Grumet-Morris off that deflection.
“RPI’s a good team, they’ve played us tough twice now,” said Donato. “They controlled the tempo, but we got the power-play goal in the first period. I expected them to be tough to beat towards the end of the season and they’re a very dangerous team. For us coming off of a disappointing loss (to Northeastern in the Beanpot), this was a very dangerous game for us.”
RPI (12-17-2, 4-12-1) will host Brown in the annual Big Red Freakout on Saturday.
“Our guys played real hard tonight,” said Croxton. “We can take a lot of positives out of this game, we have to keep our heads up.”
Said Economakos, “We have five games left in the regular season and right now it’s playoff hockey. This is our playoffs right now.”
The Crimson are all alone in second place in the ECACHL after tonight and Harvard will play Boston College in the consolation game of the Beanpot on Monday evening.
“That game is probably the biggest game for us the rest of season,” said Donato. “We have a few games left, but that’s a big game that can affect the PairWise, so it’s huge for a number of reasons.”