TROY — The Union College men’s hockey team couldn’t get a puck past RPI graduate goalie Linden Marshall Saturday night at Houston Field House.
The Engineers made life easy for Marshall, limiting the Dutchmen to 15 shots on goal in a 3-0 ECAC Hockey victory over the Dutchmen before a small, but raucous crowd of 693 fans.
The victory gave the Engineers (2-0 ECACH, 6 points; 4-2-1 overall) a sweep of the weekend series. RPI beat Union 4-2 on Friday at Messa Rink. The Engineers retain the Capital Skates Trophy, emblematic of the two-game ECACH series between the two schools. They will meet again in the Mayor’s Cup, a non-league contest, Jan. 29 in Albany.
“Winning is hard,” RPI head coach Dave Smith said. “Tonight was a hard game. I thought we stayed to our mission, played to our identity from start to finish. I thought Union pushed, but I thought we responded very well.”
The 15 shots was Union’s second-lowest total this season. It’s the fourth time the Dutchmen have been held to fewer than 20 shots on goal in a game.
“We’ve got to create lanes,” Union sophomore forward Liam Robertson said. “They block shots incredibly well. We’ve just got to make space for ourselves and get to the puck to the net and get bodies to the net.”
Both teams struggled offensively in Saturday’s first period, combining for five shots on goal. RPI had four of those shots.
Despite not seeing much action, Marshall kept his focus during that opening 20 minutes.
“It can definitely be tricky when there’s not much action at your end,” said Marshall, who earned his second career shutout. “I thought the game was still a little bit back-and-forth, so I still felt like I was in it, even though only having one shot. It is a little tricky at times, but I felt I was in the right space for it.”
Union’s offensive chances were few and far between. The Dutchmen had two good chances in the second period. First, freshman forward Andrew Seaman had an open net with 12:40 left. His shot missed.
With 10:31 to go and during a Dutchmen power play, Robertson was coming down the slot when he fired a wrist shot. Marshall got his glove on it.
“I thought RPI played an excellent defensive game,” Union head coach Rick Bennett said. “Very extremely structured. We were just trying to fight our way through it, I thought at times, in the second, we did. We didn’t capitalize on it. That was a key for us in not being able to put it together.”
RPI got its first goal in the second when graduate student forward Shane Sellar took a pass from Jakub Lacka and fired a shot from the low slot past goalie Connor Murphy, who lost his stick behind the net, with 8:13 left.
“Our ‘D’ made a great job pinching down the wall, and ‘Lax’ made a great play finding me in the slot,” Sellar said. “I know we always talk about getting pucks on net, and bounces happen.”
Murphy was upset that he lost his stick.
“I was trying to get a puck with my blocker off to the side, and two guys came skating around and swiped it out of my hands,” the junior from Hudson Falls said. “It was stuck behind the net for the entire shift.”
Junior forward Zach Dubinsky made it 2-0 with 11:41 left in the third period. He was positioned in front of Murphy when he put in the rebound of a Jack Agnew right-point shot.
“We were stepping on the gas at that point of the game,” Dubinsky said. “… I was lucky enough to get that in.”
Ture Linden sealed it with an empty-net goal with 48 seconds left.
Union 0 0 0 — 0
RPI 0 1 2 — 3
First Period — None. Penalties — Addamo, RPI (boarding), 13:00; Brackett, RPI (holding), 18:30.
Second Period — 1, RPI, Sellar 2 (Lacka), 11:47. Penalties — Kjellberg, RPI (interference), 8:39; Kosack, Uni (charging), 12:46.
Third Period — 2, RPI, Dubinsky 2 (Agnew), 8:19. 3, RPI, Linden 3 (Leppanen, Kjellberg), 19:12 (en). Penalties — None.
Shots on Goal — Union 1-7-7 — 15. RPI 4-10-10 — 24.
Power-play opportunities — Union 0 of 3; RPI 0 of 1.
Goalies — Union, Murphy 1-5-1 (23 shots-21 saves). RPI, Marshall 4-1-1 (15-15).
A — 693. T — 2:03.
Referees — Matt Wyld, Anthony Kenney. Linesmen — Rick Lembo, Jordan Patarino.