BOSTON — Northeastern and Rensselaer tied 2-2 in an overly physical, gritty stalemate in front of a crowd of nearly 2,500 at Matthews Arena Friday night.
“There were too many penalties for both teams,” RPI coach Seth Appert said. “That was lack of discipline on both sides. It was borderline nasty for two teams that don’t really know each other that well.”
Over the course of the game, both teams collectively picked up 26 penalties for a total of 74 minutes, including two five-minute major checking-from-behind penalties paired with game misconduct calls.
Each team was awarded eight power plays; the Engineers went 2-for-8 and grabbed both of their goals with an extra man.
“I thought we did really well on the power play tonight,” said Appert. “But you can’t take those penalties and negate really major advantages like a five-on-three or a five-minute major penalty.”
The power play helped the Engingeers strike first, 13 minutes into the first period. After NU’s Garrett Vermeersch and Randy Guzior were both sent off the ice for slashing within five seconds of each other, RPI capitalized on its five-on-three advantage.
Bryan Brutlag, who was posted in front of the NU net, sent a quick shot past netminder Chris Rawlings 30 seconds into the power play to put the Engineers up 1-0 off a pass from Tyler Helfrich.
Three minutes after the Engineers took the lead, NU tied it up as freshman forward Rob Dongara notched his first collegiate goal. When Luke Eibler shot on RPI goalie Allen York and missed, Dongara caught the rebound and quickly fired back to even the score.
Minutes into the second period, another Northeastern newbie scored his first goal of the season. Jamie Oleksiak, a 17-year-old defender for the Huskies, sent a sharp slap shot past York to make the score 2-1.
“Jaime is the kind of player that has NHL written all over him,” Northeastern coach Greg Cronin said. “We are thrilled he chose to come to Northeastern.”
The Engineers evened the score on another man advantage in the latter half of the second period. Senior forward Chase Polacek shot the puck from the top of the left circle and even though the puck made contact with Rawlings’ legs, it still managed to slip through.
On the opposite bench, however, the power play was a different story.
“Our power play was pathetic at 0-for-8,” Cronin said. “Your power play is your offensive catalyst and our power play didn’t generate any chances all night. We have to figure it out and put the right people together.”
Both five-minute majors and game misconducts came from Northeastern. The first one came in the second period as freshman Zak Stone was sent off the ice for a hit from behind in the corner against Alex Angers-Goulet. The second Huskies player to leave the game was Randy Guzior, who picked up his penalty and misconduct in the third period when he nailed Patrick Cullen in front of the Rensselaer bench.
“Anytime you take two five-minute majors and three five-on-threes and you don’t lose, you’re lucky,” said Cronin. “You can’t play hockey like that. It destroys the game from a personnel standpoint when two of your players get kicked out of the game and also from a fatigue standpoint when you’re playing with five defenders and 10 or 11 forwards.”
Both teams showcased solid goaltending as Rawlings and York made 29 and 26 saves, respectively.