BOSTON — You couldn’t blame No. 17 Rensselaer if they had come into Friday night’s game rather deflated.
On their last road trip to Boston just six days ago, they endured a 7-2 pounding at the hands of Boston College. On top of that, their top goaltender, Jason Kasdorf, suffered a dislocated shoulder during practice this week. He’s out for several weeks and perhaps, indefinitely.
Despite the adversity, the Engineers came out and knocked around No. 15 Boston University for much of the third period.
After scoring twice, it was time for junior goaltender Scott Diebald to hold the fort for much of the game and he responded with 31 saves to lead Rensselaer to a satisfying 3-1 road win over BU.
Junior right wing Ryan Haggerty scored twice for the visitors, while BU freshman Kevin Duane scored his first collegiate goal in a losing effort.
“Obviously, every win is a good win, especially on the road against a quality opponent in Boston University,” Engineers’ coach Seth Appert said. “We didn’t like the way we played in the second half of the game last week against BC and we believe we have a good team this year. Good teams respond to poor performances with strong performances the next night.”
That included a very strong effort from a goalie who had just a 4-9-1 record in his first two years of college hockey.
“We recruited Scotty Diebold to be a No. 1 goalie and at this time last year, I think he was,” Appert said. “He ended up getting beaten out by Jason last year and really, Jason put such a stranglehold on it that this was one of Scotty’s first chances to get back in there. He’s a battler, he’s a competitor and he’s gotten better in the last 12 months even though he hasn’t gotten to play a lot.”
On the other bench, BU coach David Quinn suffered his first loss as head coach after two wins.
“I liked our effort,” Quinn said. “The part I’m disappointed with was our puck movement. I thought we were trying to make too many home run passes. I think we took five or six icings because we were looking for that long pass and it just isn’t there. You’ve got to pass the puck when you should, not when you have to.”
The Engineers took the lead at 3:25 of the first period when Brock Higgs took the puck behind the BU net and threw it into the slot, where Matt Tinordi buried it in traffic. Less than two minutes later, it was 2-0. With freshman T.J. Ryan in the penalty box, Haggerty blasted a one-time slap shot past Terriers’ goalie Sean Maguire from a good 40 feet.
The Terriers gradually gained momentum, looking their best by far in the second period when they mustered a good half-dozen scoring chances. With just a minute left in the period, BU was finally rewarded with a pretty goal.
Ahti Oksanen fired a 75-foot pass that sprung the big freshman Kevin Duane right as he broke over the blue line. He shot early and the puck ticked off of Diebold’s glove before going in. Oksanen has now assisted on five of BU’s seven goals this season.
Just when it looked like BU was poised to break out thanks to that late-period goal, Rensselaer countered with a goal just 48 seconds into the third period. Once again it was Haggerty scoring, this time on a faceoff after yet another icing. It went through Maguire’s five-hole and the goaltender was visibly frustrated.
“I think the guys were anxious to get the third period going because of the way the second period went,” Quinn said. “We established our forecheck, hounding the puck and spending a lot of time in their end and it was nice to get rewarded at the end of the period, but that third goal really deflated us.”
That was basically the game, as BU didn’t get much offense going after that until pulling Maguire in the last couple of minutes.
BU (2-1-0) hosts No. 2 Wisconsin on Saturday night, while Rensselaer (2-1-0) hosts Sacred Heart at home.