Union-RPI postgame report
I am at a loss for words (OK, stop applauding!)
I hope the college hockey fans in the Capital Region realize what kind of rivalry they have with RPI and Union. This rivalry is growing and growing, thanks to some unbelievable fantastic, and in the last two nights, controversial finishes.
The last two nights in the latest installment in the Route 7 rivalry will be talked about for years. Friday night, RPI coach Seth Appert thought his team got a raw deal when referee Bryan Hicks negated a potential game-tying goal with 7.6 seconds left in regulation when CJ Lee was called for making contact with goalie Keith Kinkaid. An upset RPI coach Seth Appert brought his laptop to the postgame press conference and showed the video of the play, claiming Hicks made the wrong call in Union's 2-1 win.
Saturday night, it was Union coach Nate Leaman's turn to be upset. Although he didn't bring a laptop, he had to believe that Marty O'Grady's game-tying goal came after time expired in the third period. But when I asked the first question about that, all Leaman would say was, "No comment."
That said it all. I believe he thinks his team got the raw end of it.
I honestly couldn't tell. When I saw the puck go in, referees Robert St. Lawrence and Eric Ernst both signaled goal. Then I looked at the clock and saw 0:00. But after a quick conference with linesmen Glen Cooke and Gary Whittier, the call stood, and two-tenths of a second was put back on the clock.
Even though the game was televised on RPI TV, there was no video review of the goal.
That reminded me of last year's Rensselaer Holiday Tournament championship game, when RPI's Paul Kerins scored with two-tenths of a second left in regulation against the Dutchmen to tie the score, 4-4. Union went on to win in overtime on a Jason Walters goal.
This time, thanks to a five-on-three power play, Nick Bailen gave RPI the win with 2:04 left in overtime.
It just add to the lore of this rivalry. The four games last year had dramatic endings. The three games this season had that, as well.
"It really is exhausting playing them," RPI coach Seth Appert said. "You guys [the media] say it every week leading up to playing each other that there's no way we can top it, and then, we find ways [to top it]. Some by good ways, and some through bad things."
Maybe these teams should play more than twice a season. Would 10 times suffice?
Leaman wasn't happy with the media's coverage of Friday's game, which was strange.
"I think Union got taken to the woodshed a little bit last night in the press," Leaman said. "I would ask you guys to print a fair story tonight."
I can't speak for the Times Union or the Troy Record, but I thought my game story was balanced. If anything, I took Appert to the woodshed for showing the video of Friday's controversial call.
However, I can speak for my fellow media members that we aren't happy that the Union players were not made available to us. RPI provided Bailen and John Kennedy after Friday's game. Union should have done the same on Saturday.
To view Saturday's postgame comments, click here.
Union lost senior forward Adam Presizniuk when he suffered a dislocated thumb. With Union off until Dec. 3 at Brown, Presizniuk will have time to heal.
Presizniuk is still tied with Walters as the team's all-time scorer in the Division I era.
Great effort from Hatch
Union freshman forward Matt Hatch had a strong game. He set up the Dutchmen's first goal when he forced a turnover behind the RPI net. He sent the puck in front to Justin Pallos, who fired it past goalie Allen York at 5:07 of the second period.
Later in the second, he redirected a Kyle Bodie pass over York's left shoulder.
"A great game by 'Hatchie,'" Leaman said. "He provided us energy. It's the first time he's played back-to-back games this year. I think it was a bit of a challenge for him, and he showed up. That was big."
Here are my three stars of the game.
1) Nick Bailen, RPI — Scored game-winner, added two assists.
2) Marty O'Grady, RPI — Got the goal that sent the game into overtime.
3) Matt Hatch, Union — Had a goal and an assist in the second period.
That is all from Houston Field House. Even though I am taking next week off, I will have my College Hockey Slap Schotts blog on Monday. Union is off until Dec. 3 at Brown, and RPI doesn't play again until its tournament Nov. 26. So, it's a good time to take vacation.
Good Night! Good Hockey!