One of the most eventful weeks of the year, so far, for men’s hockey also turned out to be one of mixed emotions.
On Saturday, the fourth annual Mayor’s Cup brought both Union and RPI to Albany, as the Dutchmen looked to avenge their earlier two losses to RPI this season.
The Dutchmen were also looking for a bounce-back game after going winless in their last four contests.
Unfortunately for the men’s hockey team, the frustrating game ended with the Dutchmen losing 5-2.
A win against rival RPI would have given the Dutchmen the momentum needed to get back to their early-season form — from the end of November to the start of January, the Dutchmen played seven straight games without a loss.
Saturday’s game started off looking like a shootout, with both teams scoring in the first
two and a half minutes.
Union’s goal was scored by Eli Lichtenwald ’17, and assisted by Cole Maier ’19 and J.C. Brassard ’18.
After the Engineers tacked on another goal later in the period, Union responded with a power-play goal from Ryan Scarfo ’18, assisted by Brassard and Hobey Baker award nominee Spencer Foo ’18, for his second of the game.
From then on, however, it was RPI who controlled the pace of the game. The Engineers took the lead halfway through the second period and didn’t look back.
Union’s best chance to equalize came on a power-play, but unfortunately Vecchione was unable to collect his sixth goal of the season to tie it up. After that, RPI added one more goal from open play and a fifth on an empty net to make the final score 5-2.
The team’s exasperation was epitomized by a moment late in the third period when captain Mike Vecchione ’17 smashed his stick into three pieces following RPI’s last goal of the game.
In spite of this obvious frustration, the Dutchmen only served two minutes total in the penalty box for a single penalty during the game. RPI racked up three penalties.
This is a surprisingly low number, given last year’s tally — four penalties on Union and 10 on RPI, one of which was a five-minute major penalty and one of which was a game misconduct.
And even last year’s numbers seem low in comparison to the number of penalties each team saw at the 2014 Mayor’s Cup game, where Union tallied a whopping 12 penalties, nine of which occurred during the massive brawl on the ice after the third period ended, and RPI racked up 15 penalties, 10 of which occurred during the brawl.
The Dutchmen will look to rebound from Saturday’s loss with a game this weekend at No. 12-ranked Yale and a second game at Brown.
The bright spot of the week for the Dutchmen was when voting for the Hobey Baker Award opened on Friday and Foo received a well-deserved nod.
Foo leads the Dutchmen in points this season with 24, with 11 goals and 13 assists.
The Hobey Baker Award honors the best men’s hockey player in the NCAA for a given year. Last year’s winner was Boston University’s Jack Eichel, who is currently playing for the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL.
Foo’s nomination follows his accomplishments as a first year, when he was voted to the ECAC Hockey All-Rookie Team and ECAC All-Academic Team. He was also honored as Union Hockey’s Rookie of the Year.
Fans can vote for Foo once a day on Facebook at The Hobey Baker Award Facebook page.
Voting closes on March 6, about a week after the conclusion of the regular season.
Erin Wade contributed reporting.