PRINCETON, N.J. (NEWS10) — A last-minute push that brought the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) men’s hockey team within a goal late in the third period fell just short as the Engineers were edged on the road by the Princeton Tigers by a 6-5 final score at Hobey Baker Rink. With the loss, RPI moves to 7-9-1 and 2-6-0 in ECAC Hockey play, while Princeton improves to 6-7-0 and 5-6-0 in their ECAC Hockey slate.
Nick Marciano got Princeton on the board in the first period, as he finished on a 2-on-2 rush up the ice from the slot to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead at 6:44 in the opening frame. After a puck slipped out front of the RPI net after Princeton killed off a penalty, the Tigers got their second goal courtesy of Brendan Gorman. He finished the goal bringing the puck to his forehand and sliding it by RPI goaltender Jack Watson for a 2-0 lead with just under five minutes to play in the first.
However, the Engineers had the final say of the first period as Austin Heidemann scored his third goal of the season on a toss out front of the net in the final second of the period on the power play. He found an open net courtesy of Sutter Muzzatti – who tallied his fourth and fifth points of the weekend in the game – and John Evans.
Just a few seconds later bridged by the intermission, Ryan Mahshie collected his third goal of the weekend in the opening seconds of the second period as he picked up the puck on a toss across the crease from Mason Klee and moved to his backhand. Mahshie then tossed the puck into the net to tie things up at 2-2, with Muzzatti also earning another assist on the goal.
With 6:58 left in the second period, Princeton earned their go-ahead goal as a scramble in front of the net led to Adam Robbins finding the puck and throwing past Watson from point-blank range. That gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead. Princeton added a short-handed goal just minutes later as Spencer Kersten won a foot race to the puck in a 1-on-1 situation and snapped off a wrist shot to push the Tiger’s lead back to two goals.
After a game misconduct was assessed to RPI just under five minutes into the third period, Princeton scored their fifth goal of the game – this time on the power play. David Jacobs hit a one-timer from the left wing circle into the upper left corner of the net to make it 5-2 Tigers.
Mahshie found the back of the net once again in the third period with 5:33 to play. He took a wrist shot skating backwards into the left wing circle that had eyes and made its way into the net to give the Engineers some life late in the game. Nick Strom and Jake Gagnon were credited with assists on the score.
The Tigers added an empty netter late in the third period from Ian Murphy to send Princeton to a 6-3 lead before RPI’s Jake Gagnon collected a pair of goals in the final minute to make it a 6-5 with 2.2 seconds left. A last-chance effort on the ensuing faceoff went wide of the net, giving the Tigers the victory.
Jack Watson snagged 29 saves – including 14 in the third period – in the loss, while Princeton’s Ethan Pearson made 30 stops on the evening. Gagnon led the Engineers’ offense with a team-high five shots.
RPI returns to the ice after the holidays when they take on Bowling Green for a pair of games starting on Thursday, December 29 at 7 p.m.