9.26.14 - RPI Drops Season-Opener to Rider

LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ – The Engineers traveled to New Jersey to open the 2014-2015 season at Loucks Ice Arena against the Broncs of Rider University. Having given up five powerplay goals during the previous season-opener at Rider, RPI looked to stay out of the box and overpower Rider during even-strength play. However, 2 minutes and 17 seconds into the first period the Engineers would take a tripping call. Under a minute and a half later, a pass from below the goal line bounced around in the slot and found its way to a Rider forward’s stick and consequently to the back of the net. Play heated up and both teams took their share of penalties while the remainder of the first remained scoreless.

The second continued with much of the same, culminating with an illegal elbow to the head of RPI Junior Sam Mannion. Fellow linemate Senior Kevin Sheridan rushed to the alternate captain’s defense, removing the Rider player from the equation and drawing in another. The play resulted in two Rider ejections coinciding with five-minute major penalties for head contact and third-man-in, respectively. Sheridan received a minor and misconduct for roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct. Overall, the Engineers were left with a man-up opportunity for two minutes followed by a 5-on-3 opportunity for the remaining three minutes of the Rider major penalties. Unfortunately, RPI could not capitalize despite putting well over 10 shots on the Broncs’ netminder. RPI would go on to take two more penalties before Rider would take a two-goal lead on a point blank one-timer from the Engineers’ slot; another powerplay goal.

The Engineers dominated the remainder of the second stanza, controlling the even-strength and man-up play, yet they could not get on the scoreboard until six and a half minutes into the third period. Sheridan fed the puck behind the net to fellow Senior Connor Blake who beat a Rider defenseman in order to feed Mannion creeping into the Broncs’ slot. He received the pass with ease before sending it screaming just inside the left post; the lone 5-on-5 tally of the game for either team. Despite the third period effort, the Engineers would take multiple penalties before the final buzzer, two on which Rider would convert. Sophomore goaltender Pat Engelsman rejected 24 of 28 Rider attempts on goal, yet the Engineers again fell victim to an excess of man-down situations, dropping the first game of the season, 4 – 1.

JH 19