Sunday, November 24, 2013

Engineers rebound with big victory

ERIE, Pa. -- Sometimes in college hockey, a victory isn't as big as a loss would have been had the team not won.
Well, being as shorthanded as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was on Saturday night, its 5-2 non-conference victory Mercyhurst was a big one. Oh, if they Engineers would have been swept by the Lakers, it could have been a devastating defeat to be sure. Yet, with the offense struggling, with consistency waning, with several regulars benched and with Matt Neal, who had been on a hot streak, severely weakened by foot poisoning, it was a dig-down-deep triumph for the 14th-ranked Engineers. Having top scorer Ryan Haggerty back in the lineup certainly helped, as he assisted on RPI's first goal and scored the second and third.
Veteran defensemen Guy Leboeuf and Curtis Leonard chipped in with goals and Jacob Laliberte assisted twice, then put the game away with a steal-and-breakaway goal 6:10 remaining.
After Friday night's dismal 5-2 lead in which the Engineers lacked passion and tenacity and were dominated in the third period, Saturday's performance was a nice bounce-back win, RPI's superior talent notwithstanding.
"Yeah, and I thought they did a good a good job in that (locker)room," Rensselaer coach Seth Appert said. "As I said all week, it (better, more consistent play) has to come from that room. I can be hard, and I can be demanding and I can take ice time away if necessary. I don't prefer to do that but if necessary ...
"But at the end of the day, those older guys in that room know what I want and know what we need to be about and I thought our three captains (Matt Tinordi, Brock Higgs and Johnny Rogic), and all of our seniors (defensemen Guy Leboeuf and Bo Dolan) did a good job of taking charge in that room today and on the bench tonight."
Leboeuf and Haggerty scored in the first period -- freshman Jake Wood with a nifty pass to set up Haggerty in front -- for a 2-0 lead and after the Engineers gave up the tying goal -- on a horrible giveaway -- with 17 seconds remaining in the second period, they came out and totally controlled the final stanza.
Leonard scored amidst a goalmouth scrum eight minutes into the third period and Laliberte made his big play less than six minutes later.
Scott Diebold was solid in net with 23 saves and the Engineers showed more hunger and passion than in recent games.
"It still not an acceptable weekend," Appert said, "because it's not acceptable to not play as hard as we needed to (and didn't) last night (Friday.)"
At least the Engineers won't have to go into their next game (Dec. 6) against ECAC Hockey-leading Quinnipiac on a four-game losing streak.


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