An injury during a pre-practice warmup drill Tuesday has cost Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute its top goalie for at least this weekend.
The 17th-ranked Engineers will be without sophomore goalie Jason Kasdorf when they visit No. 15 Boston University tonight at 7:30, and then host Sacred Heart in their Houston Field House opener at 7 p.m. Saturday.
“There was no contact,” RPI coach Seth Appert said. “Just a freak situation.”
Appert doesn’t know how serious the upper-body injury is yet.
“We’ll know more in time over the weekend,” Appert said. “We have great doctors . . . and they’ll, with our trainers, evaluate him and take a look at everything. We will know more details early next week.”
Kasdorf, a draft pick of the Winnipeg Jets, was the ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year last season after leading the Engineers to a second-place finish. He was 12-2-2 in ECACH play with a 1.39 goals-against average, a .945 save percentage and three shutouts. Overall, Kasdorf was 14-5-2 with a 1.62 GAA, a .935 save percentage and three shutouts.
He started both games last weekend, posting a shutout against Sacred Heart on Saturday and allowing six goals in a 7-2 loss to Boston College the next day.
Junior Scott Diebold will take over the bulk of the playing time. He appeared in seven games last season, going 2-4-1 with a 3.22 GAA and,873 save percentage. In
2011-12, Diebold was 2-5-1 with a 3.22 GAA, an .897 save percentage and one shutout.
“I don’t think he needs to step up. He just needs to be Scottie and do the things that Scottie does,” Appert said. “He was recruited for a reason. He was recruited to be a No. 1 goalie. At the beginning of last year, he looked like he was our No. 1 goalie, and he’s very capable of that.”
Tonight’s game against BU will be the 2,000th in RPI hockey history. The team has an all-time record of 998-881-119.
Another member of the Novak family will be joining the Union hockey team in a couple of seasons.
Wade Novak, a forward for the New Jersey Colonials U-16 National team, has committed to the Dutchmen for the 2016-17 season.
“Great feeling to be able to announce my commitment to Union College, thanks to all who helped me along the way #Dutchmen,” Novak said on his Twitter account.
Novak’s brother, Max, is a junior forward with the Dutchmen. Max Novak is out with a lower-body injury.
Coming off its first appearance in the NCAA tournament Frozen Four, Hockey East champion UMass-Lowell was picked as the top-ranked team in the preseason USCHO.com/NCAA Hockey and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls.
Meanwhile, Sacred Heart was coming off a 2-30-4 season. And with having to face the River Hawks in Lowell, Mass., in both teams’ season openers, the chances of the Pioneers winning were slim.
But the pesky Pioneers did the unthinkable. They stunned the River Hawks, 2-1.
Drew George scored both goals, and goalie Alex Vazzano made 35 saves in his Sacred Heart debut.
George gave the Pioneers a 1-0 on a power-play goal 3:48 into the game. Joseph Pendenza got UML even 4:24 into the third period, but George got the game-winner 1:25 later.
“I thought we played a pretty structured, disciplined game,”
Sacred Heart coach C.J. Marottolo said after the game. “I liked our energy level throughout the whole game. The turning point in the game was our guys’ response to the Lowell score. You could feel the energy level in the building rise, and we responded with a quick goal.”
If Vazzano’s name looks a bit familiar, it should be to Union fans.
Vazzano had originally committed to the Dutchmen for the 2010-11 season. But with Keith Kinkaid already the Dutchmen’s No. 1 goalie and another excellent goalie in Troy Grosenick coming in 2010-11, Vazzano decommitted and went to Vermont, where his brother, John, was a backup goalie. After playing just 11 games in two seasons, Alex Vazzano left Vermont and landed at Sacred Heart.
On Wednesday, Vazzano made 37 saves as Sacred Heart equaled its win output of last year with a 3-1 victory over Atlantic Hockey-foe Bentley.
After going 1-1 in last weekend’s Ice Breaker tournament at Minnesota, Clarkson is off to a 3-1 start.
Last season, the Golden Knights didn’t win their third game until their 15th contest, a 4-1 win over St. Lawrence that raised their record to 3-7-5.
LIONS ROAR IN OPENER
Penn State opened the Pegula Ice Arena last Friday in grand style, posting a 4-1 win over Army before a standing-room only crowd of 6,370.
The Nittany Lions’ Nate Jensen scored the first goal in the new arena 3:02 into the game. David Goodwin had a goal and an assist during Penn State’s three-goal third period.
Penn State alum and Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula donated $88 million to help the hockey program go from club status to Division I.
“To come away with victory felt great, the atmosphere was tremendous right from walking out on the bench,” Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky told PennLive.com. “It was a pretty phenomenal feeling.”
Here’s a look at how college hockey players from the Capital Region did over the past week.
u Union freshman defenseman Jeff Taylor (Clifton Park) picked up his first collegiate point, an assist, in the Dutchmen’s 5-2 win over Bowling Green last Saturday.
u Boston University sophomore forward Jordan Juron (Latham) had a great return home last weekend.
She had a goal and an assist in the Terriers’ 2-2 tie against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute last Friday at Houston Field House. The next day against Union at Messa Rink, Juron had two assists, including one on Rebecca Russo’s goal in sudden-death overtime, to give BU a 3-2 win over the Dutchwomen.
CBS Sports Network drops the puck on its National Collegiate Hockey Conference package tonight with a double-header. At 7 p.m., its North Dakota at Miami (Ohio), followed by Minnesota Duluth at Colorado College at 9:30.
There are two games on the FOX College Sports channels this weekend. New Hampshire hosts Michigan on FCS Atlantic tonight at 7:30 and Saturday at 7 p.m.. FCS Pacific has Minnesota at Bemidji State at 8:30 tonight and 8 p.m. Saturday.
The Big Ten Network will be streaming the two-game women’s series between Union and Penn State on its subscription-based Big Ten Digital Network page (http://video.btn.com/allaccess/) at 7 tonight and 3 p.m. Saturday.