Freshman Scott Diebold played well in goal in his Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute hockey regular-season debut.
Minnesota State senior Austin Lee was just a little bit better.
Lee stopped 36 shots, and Cameron Cooper scored late in the third period to give the Mavericks a 1-0 non-conference victory over the 18th-ranked Engineers in the season opener for both teams at Houston Field House on Friday.
Lee made 17 saves in the third as the Engineers desperately tried to get a puck past him.
“I was feeling good out there,” Lee said. “I was seeing the puck well. The defensemen were clearing guys out, and controlled the rebounds pretty good. It ended up being a good night.”
Lee got a break with eight minutes left in the third when RPI freshman forward Ryan Haggerty hit the post with a shot from the right side.
Lee made an outstanding save on Brock Higgs as he broke in alone late in the first period. Higgs tried to put a backhander past Lee, but the goalie kicked out his left pad.
“I just tried to outwait him,” Lee said. “He picked one side, and I just stuck a leg out there and I got it. It was good.”
Diebold stopped 19 shots. It was the final shot on goal he faced that eluded him. It wasn’t his fault, as Cooper forced a turnover deep in the RPI zone while the teams were skating four-on-four.
After getting the puck in the left circle, Cooper spotted Eriah Hayes to the right of the net. Diebold made a nice save, but the rebound came into the slot. Cooper got it, and lifted the puck over Diebold’s right shoulder with 1:22 to go.
“I’ll have to go look at the film,” Diebold said. “All I know is there was one shot, and then there was another. I just couldn’t come up with that save.”
Diebold, who made 19 saves in last Saturday’s 7-0 exhibition win over Acadia, got the start over junior Bryce Merriam, who is recovering from a slight knee injury. RPI coach Seth Appert was pleased with Diebold, who stopped Michael Dorr on a two-on-one break early in the third period, and Hayes on a breakaway with 9:39 left in the third.
The big reason RPI lost was that its power play had no power.
After going 5-for-7 against Acadia, the Engineers were 0-for-11 against the Mavericks. They had 16 power-play shots on goal.
“We earned a lot of offensive opportunities on the power play, and you need to score. You need to deliver there,” Appert said. “I think we have to get a little more tenacious in front of the net. We had seven, eight pucks laying in the crease that we couldn’t find ways to get into the net. You’ve got to score goals in those dirty areas.
“And a couple of our better guys were forcing some things. Maybe they got a little frustrated and tried to make too much happen instead of taking what the game gave them.”
Minnesota State 001 — 1
RPI 000 — 0
First Period — None. Penalties — Dorr, MS (interference), 7:23; Cullen, RPI (tripping), 11:36; Zuck, MS (holding), 12:01; Hayes, MS (ob.-holding stick), 17:07; Tinordi, RPI (roughing), 17:18; Bailen, RPI (tripping), 18:06; Lehrke, MS (boarding), 19:03.
Second Period — None. Penalties — Jokinen, MS (tripping), 2:47; Leboeuf, RPI (elbowing), 5:53; Cooper, MS (boarding), 12:51; Grant, MS (roughing), 19:22; Lehrke, MS (slashing), 19:22; O’Grady, RPI (roughing), 19:22.
Third Period — 1, Minnesota State, Cooper 1 (Hayes), 18:38. Penalties — Bailen, RPI (interference), 4:00; Nelson, MS (boarding), 8:37; RPI bench, served by Haggerty (too many men), Palmquist, MS (boarding), 10:34; Grant, MS (delay of game), 17:00; Higgs, RPI (boarding), 18:03.
Shots on Goal — Minnesota State 8-5-7 — 20. RPI 11-8-17 — 36.
Power-play opportunities — Minnesota State 0 of 6; RPI 0 of 11.
Goalies — Minnesota State, Lee 1-0-0
(36 shots-36 saves). RPI, Diebold 0-1-0 (20-19).
A — 2,647. T — 2:15.
Referees — Bill Bredin, Scott Whittemore. Linesmen — Brett Read, Joe Testa.
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Categories: College Sports