TROY — For the second night in a row, a player who is expected to score goals for the Union Dutchmen finally found the back of the net for the first time this season.
What Cole Maier did off the ice may have been more significant.
Union’s captain tied the game 2-2 early in the third period, and the Dutchmen went on to beat RPI 4-2 at Houston Field House to win the Capital Skates Trophy.
Head coach Rick Bennett said it was Maier who spoke up in the locker room after the Engineers scored two goals in the second period for a 2-1 lead, and the energized Dutchmen got back to an aggressive, hard-skating game that put the Engineers on their heels in the third.
With the victory, Union (4-5-0 overall, 2-0-0 ECAC Hockey) won its fourth straight since Bennett switched goalies from junior Jake Kupsky to freshman Darion Hanson, who faced just 15 shots. RPI fell to 1-3-2 overall and 0-2-0 in the ECACH.
“We had a response [in the third period], which was much better than we had in the second,” Bennett said. “It started around our captain. He came to play and rallied the troops between the second and the third.”
Nobody was rolling in the third than Anthony Rinaldi, whose speed created several good scoring chances, including what proved to be the winning goal, at 13:28 of the third. He also scored the fourth goal to give Union a 4-1 lead over RPI on Friday on the way to a 4-3 win.
Rinaldi nearly scored on a breakaway, and Maier scored on Union’s next possession after a quick transition from defense to offense.
He tied it 2-2 at 3:39 of the third with a sharp wrist shot on the break from right faceoff dot, banking it off the far post.
“It was good to help us out there,” Maier said. “It was a really nice pass from Scarf [Ryan Scarfo] through the neutral zone. It think Vas [Kolias] started the breakout, and then I was just throwing something on net and hoping it would kick out to somebody, and it ended up finding its way through there.”
Rinaldi took a penalty at 10:48, then broke out of the box with fresh legs and scored 40 seconds after his penalty expired.
“It was on my mind. I took a penalty at a horrible time, we had an awesome PK and it happened that I did get the puck and was able to do something good,” Rinaldi said.
Union led 1-0 after the first period on Scarfo’s fourth goal of the season, seconds after the Dutchmen had won a faceoff in the circle to the left of goalie Chase Perry.
Jack Adams collected the puck on the endboards and fed Scarfo as he broke toward the right post to slide it under Perry at 11:04.
The Engineers went ahead 2-1 in the second period despite being outshot 20-11 heading into intermission.
Jake Marrello, a former Albany Academy player from Slingerlands, tied it at 11:04 when defenseman Mat Harris fired the puck into traffic in the crease, and Marrello shoved it past Darion Hanson.
RPI went ahead with 15 seconds left in the period while the teams were skating 4-on-4 on a goal by Brady Wiffen, who redirected it with the instep of his right skate while he was camped on the left post with his back to the net.
Todd Burgess fired a diagonal pass through open ice from the top of the right circle, and Wiffen caught it with his skate a few inches off the ice and spiked it down and into the net.
Union 1 0 3 — 4
RPI 0 2 0 — 2
First period — 1, Union, Scarfo 4 (Adams), 11:04. Penalties — Grant, RPI (tripping), 11:38; Hayhurst, RPI (cross-checking), 19:11.
Second period — 2, RPI, Marrello 1 (Harris, Wiffen), 11:04. 3, Wiffen 2 (Burgess, Prapavessis), 19:45. Penalties — Emelifeonwu, Union (interference), 6:34; Foo, Union (tripping), 8:32; Prapavessis, RPI (tripping), 15:54; Scarfo, Union (goaltender interference), 18:15; Reilly, RPI (hooking), 18:49.
Third period — 4, Union, Maier 1 (Scarfo, Kolias), 3:39. 5, Union, Rinaldi 5 (Morgan, Supinski), 13:28. 6, Union, Walker 2 (ua), 19:57 (en). Penalties — Campolieto, Union (holding), 5:34; Manley, RPI (tripping), 6:32; Rinaldi, Union (hooking), 10:48; Grant, RPI (tripping), 13:08.
Shots on goal — Union 10-10-9 — 29; RPI 3-8-4 — 15.
Power play opportunities — Union 1 of 6; RPI 0 of 5.
Goalies — Union, Hanson 4-0-0 (15 shots-13 saves); RPI, Perry 0-3-2 (28-25).
T — 2:26. A — 4,716.
Referees — Bryan Hicks, Tom Steinel. Linesmen — Ryan Knapp, Matt Brady.
Reach Gazette Sportswriter Mike MacAdam at 518-395-3148 or [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @Mike_MacAdam.
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Categories: College Sports, Sports