Saturday, December 7, 2013

After another lost two-goal lead and tie, Engineers need to be "ornery"

TROY -- Seth Appert was pleased with the play of his Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute hockey team during Friday night's game. Afterwards, though, he said he hopes his team comes out "ornery and angry" for today's (4 p.m.) ECAC Hockey contest against Princeton.
Friday night's 3-3 tie with Quinnipiac gave RPI a 0-3-4 record in the past seven meetings with the Bobcats and it marked the third time this season -- all at home -- that the Engineers built a 2-0 lead only to finish with a tie. Against Harvard, that lead was 3-0.
Ryan Haggerty scored his 16th and 17th goals for RPI within the first 6:31 of the game but the Engineers could manage just one more over the final 58 and one-half minutes.
It's suggested -- by many -- a disturbing trend has been set by the Engineers.
They've outscored the opposition 24-4 in the first period but have been outscored 18-14 in the second. The Engineers controlled much of the play in the second but put only six shots on the Quinnipiac net and were sloppy in their own end and mistakes led to both Bobcats goals. A number of times this season, RPI has lost control of the game in the second 20 minutes. It was suggested the second stanza was problematic again.
"Completely disagree," Appert said. "I thought the we came out great in the second period. We had about five scoring chances before they even really touched the puck. We had great looks at the front of the net. We were hard, we were aggressive, we created a 2-on-1, their kid (goalie Mike Garteig) made a good save (on Milos Bubela), he made a couple rebound saves. We created a 2-on-0 and the kid made an unbelievable back-door save (on Curtis Leonard). I thought we came out great in the second."
Yet, the aforementioned mistakes were a key to the game's outcome.
Twice the Engineers had a chance but failed to clear the puck before defenseman Zach Tolkinen put the Bobcats on the board with a shot from near the blue line at 2:12 of the period.
Late in the period, a poor pass led to Sam Anas' breakaway goal that tied the game.
"The only thing I'm disappointed in was that we had a few (poor) puck decisions in the second period," Appert said, adding that the Engineers "gave them their first two goals with poor puck decisions that gave them easy opportunities. They (earned) some other ones that Scotty made some good saves on already. But I thought we had two poor puck decisions in the second period that led to their two goals."
So, the second period was problematic in that regard.
"We saw two mistakes that we made cost us," Haggerty said. "That's how easy it is (to lose leads). One mistake, two mistakes and it's in the back of the net. They're (Quinnipiac) a great team and they put pucks in the net."
"I thought the guys were more committed to play physical (Friday night)," said assistant captain Johnny Rogic. "There was definitely more urgency in our game than in the past few weeks but it still wasn't enough. It's going to a real special effort to get us out of the hole we're in. It's not going to be easy, it's not going to be one game, it's going to have to be a couple weeks in a row and we've just got to be totally committed every day."
Thus, the Engineers, at 2-3-3, have won just two of their eight ECACH games -- they won 11 of their final 12 last season -- and that creates a must-win situation today.
Princeton (2-7-0, 3-11-0) has struggled all year and will likely play without two of their top players (they did Friday night at Union) -- center Andrew Calof and right winger Tyler Maugeri, as well as several other injured players.
What does Appert expect of the Engineers today?
"To be ornery," he said. "Ornery and angry. Mean." 


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