Union, RPI square off in rescheduled Mayor’s Cup

Games at the Times Union Center were postponed Jan. 19 because of snowstorm
Albany County executive Dan McCoy speaks during a Jan. 8 Mayor's Cup press conference.
Albany County executive Dan McCoy speaks during a Jan. 8 Mayor's Cup press conference.

ALBANY — If it seems like it was three weeks ago that they held a press conference to promote the Mayor’s Cup games between Union and RPI … that’s because it was.

The game was postponed when the Capital Region was hit by a severe snowstorm on Saturday, Jan. 19, so the games between the respective women’s and men’s teams were moved to this Tuesday.

Since the postponement, Union (5-6-1 ECAC Hockey, 12-7-4 overall) split two games with Yale and Brown last weekend, and RPI (4-9-0, 7-17-0) has played three times, beating Connecticut 5-2 on Wednesday, Jan. 16, and losing two to Brown and Yale last weekend.

The Dutchmen lead the Mayor’s Cup series 4-2, but were swept by the Engineers in two ECAC Hockey games in late October and have been waiting for the chance to get some payback, even though the Mayor’s Cup won’t count toward the conference standings.

That, and a sour performance for the first two periods in a 3-2 loss to Brown at Messa Rink Saturday, leave the Dutchmen eager to quickly get back out there for a game.

“I think it’s the best thing for us,” senior goalie Jake Kupsky said. “Those guys gave us a tough time this year, and that’s our biggest rival. I think everyone’s just fighting for it this week.

“We wanted that game and were a little upset it got canceled. We really wanted to give it to them Saturday [Jan. 19]. We just want to go in that game and win it. We’ve got to send a message with that game for the rest of the year.”

Head coach Rick Bennett has been trying all season to communicate the concept of consistency and effort, and it hasn’t always gotten through.

That was evident last weekend, when Union pulled out an inspired 4-3 win over Yale in overtime, only to bring a lackluster approach to the first two periods against Brown.

Bennett was exasperated after that one, reiterating that although the team has some talent, it doesn’t have enough to be able to get away with taking periods off.

“I’m just trying to find a fine line here, and I haven’t found it yet,” he said after the Brown loss. “We won, and we lost, but sometimes the way you lose, that’s what gets a little disheartening.

“We’re giving guys plenty of opportunities here. Some guys are making the most of it, and some aren’t. And those that aren’t just aren’t going to play. It’s really going to be that simple. I don’t think you have to be a genius and put the computer on and just look at our stats. From the net out, it’s really that simple. Is anybody jumping off the charts to you? No. Not even close.”

He said that, for the Dutchmen who aspire to play pro hockey after college, Tuesday’s game presents a useful opportunity to experience what kind of schedule they’ll face if they reach that point.

“So now we’re going to find out from some of these guys who talk about wanting to play pro, who put their hands up, who just talks and who shows some action,” Bennett said. 

“One of our biggest problems this year is we talk a good game, and a lot of times we go out and play our game.” Kupsky said. “When we do that, we’re a tough team to handle. But there are certain periods in the game when we have little mental lapses, and it keeps building and it’s contagious. We’ve to find a way to stop that.”

After the Mayor’s Cup, Union has 10 more ECACH games to improve on its eight-place standing, and RPI (11th place) has nine games.

The Dutchmen are in this predicament partially because the Engineers beat them 5-3 at Houston Field House and 4-2 at Messa.

“They had our number earlier in the year, similar to Brown, I guess you could say,” Union sophomore Liam Morgan said. “It’s going to be a good test for us to put together three good periods and start off on the right foot for the rest of the year.”

“They beat us twice; if we have any pride whatsoever … and I don’t care about the score, mind you … I care about the effort, for three periods,” Bennett said.


The women’s Mayor’s Cup game will count toward the ECACH standings.

In a 4-1 win on Jan. 18 at Houston Field House, Blake Orosz had a hat trick and an assist, and Jaimie Grigsby assisted on all four RPI goals.

“The Orosz kid had a really good game,” Union head coach Josh Sciba said. “They drove the net well, and took advantage of some opportunities in our defensive zone. And, really, I thought we gave them a couple opportunities when they converted, just on lack of coverage and defensive zone awareness, which is something we’ve been trying to work on. If we can clean those up, we would’ve been right back in that game.”

The Dutchwomen (1-11-1, 3-20-2) will also have to contend with goalie Lovisa Selander, who leads NCAA Division I in save percentage, at .948 for RPI (7-5-1, 10-10-5).

She was named ECACH goalie of the week after stopping a combined 89 of 90 shots in a 1-0 win over Brown, her 10th career shutout, and a 1-1 tie with Yale.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Mike MacAdam at 518-395-3146 or [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @Mike_MacAdam.

Categories: College Sports, Sports

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