TROY, N.Y. — Goalies Mathias Lange and Kris Mayotte put on a performance that made it very difficult for Rensselaer and Union to score goals Saturday.
Mayotte made 30 saves, while Lange stopped 27 shots as the Capital Region rivals played to a 1-1 ECACHL tie before 4,296 fans at Houston Field House.
“That was a real battle,” RPI coach Dan Fridgen said. “Both guys played extremely well.”
The Dutchmen (6-6-4 ECACHL, 13-11-6 overall) won the season series from the Engineers (5-7-4, 11-14-4) for the second straight year. Union beat RPI, 3-2, Friday at Messa Rink.
“That was a great, great college hockey game,” Union coach Nate Leaman said. “I’ve only been in this rivalry for three years, but that’s by far the best game. Big players on both teams were making plays. That’s what I was most happy about.”
Lange and Mayotte, by far, were the best players on the ice due to some of the incredible save they were making. That kept the game scoreless through two periods.
Mayotte had 21 saves through the first 40 minutes. He stopped Kevin Croxton on a slot shot with 6:36 left in the first period after Croxton made a nice move around Dutchmen defenseman Lane Caffaro.
Just over a minute into the second, Mayotte made a stop on a Jonathan Ornelas shot, and then stoned Matt Angers-Goulet on the rebound.
Oren Eizenman was left shaking his head a couple of times in the third, both during RPI power plays. Eizenman had Mayotte down and out early in the period when he fired a shot from close range. Somehow, Mayotte stopped it.
“I felt good tonight,” Mayotte said. “In my head, I couldn’t picture them scoring.”
Midway through the period, Mayotte quickly slid over to make a left pad save on an Eizenman one-timer from the right circle.
“I can’t believe I didn’t put those in,” Eizenman said.
Even when Mayotte didn’t get his body on the puck, RPI couldn’t score. Kurt Colling was all alone at the top of the goal crease, and fired the puck through the pads of a scrambling Mayotte. But the shot went wide.
“They had more of the luck than we did, based on the saves,” Fridgen said. “We missed a couple of [wide-open nets] with the puck bouncing. That’s something that happens in here a lot.”
Lange had 17 saves after two periods. With 7:05 left in the second, Lange made a save on Chris Potts on a right-wing blast, the same area that Potts scored Friday’s game-winner.
But Lange’s best save came with just over a minute to go in the second. Jonathan Poirier made a perfect pass to Olivier Bouchard, who got past the RPI defense. Lange got his right pad on Bouchard’s shot.
“He made a pretty good move,” Lange said. “He pretty much had me down on my knees already. I just extended my leg back to the post. I was just glad he didn’t lift the puck over me.”
RPI broke the scoreless tie just over five minutes into the third. Andrew Lord picked up a loose puck in front of the Union bench, skated down the right wing on a two-on-one and fired a shot over Mayotte’s right shoulder.
But the Dutchmen got that one back at 7:47. Augie DiMarzo fired a cross-ice pass from the left-wing boards in the RPI zone to Caffaro in the right circle. Caffaro, who was being defended by Ornelas, ripped a one-timer past Lange.
“[Ornelas] had his back toward the puck, so he was watching me,” Caffaro said. “I was hoping he wouldn’t turn around. He didn’t, and I ended up getting a shot on net. It went through the legs.”
But nothing else went in the rest of the game.
“‘Mayo’ played outstanding, and so did their guy,” Caffaro said. “It was a great game all around.”
Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.