RPI Beats Cornell and Scares Colgate in Final Regular Season Weekend
It would have been a good weekend to be in Troy, as the Rensselaer men's hockey team split with Cornell and Colgate on the last week of the ECAC Hockey League regular season.
- Friday, February 25, RPI 2 - Cornell 0: Mattias Lange got his first ECACHL regular season shutout in a significant upset. Matt Graves said that there was a "playoff feel in Engineers' upset" in his article in the Times Union. Oren Eizenman and Kevin Croxton scored the goals for RPI about a minute and a half apart in the first period.
Saturday, February 26, Colgate 2 - RPI 1: The USCHO headline says what you need to know about this game: Lucky Bounces Lift Colgate to Victory. Rensselaer dominated, outshooting Colgate 36 to 18. Colgate benefitted from a rule change that occurred this year, because the game winning goal at 6:19 of the third period deflected off their own player's skate into the Engineer net. The NCAA changed the rule this year so that a shot deflecting off an offensive player's skate counts as a goal as long as the puck is not intentionally kicked.
Rensselaer lost the potential tying goal about a minute and a half later. With about 12 minutes left in regulation, Keith MCWilliams long shot appeared to enter the goal and bounce straight back out. Referee Alex Dell didn't see the puck enter the goal, and neither did the Goal Judge, so play was allowed to continue. Video replay is not used during the regular season of ECACHL Division I games.
Comments on the Colgate Game: From the descriptions I've read of this game, Colgate was extremely lucky to come away with the win. However, I can't blame the officials for RPI's loss in this case.
- The ruling on the Colgate winning goal was correct according to the NCAA rules. (Rule 6-18a on page 60 of the 2006 NCAA rules.)
- Any hockey referee will tell you that you can't call what you don't see. If Alex Dell didn't see the puck enter the goal and the goal judge and the linesmen didn't either, it shouldn't be called a goal.
Rensselaer's tying goal in the Princeton game last Friday night is an excellent example of how hard the officials try to get into position to see the puck enter the goal. Assistant Referee Dave Brown was in perfect position on the goal line to call Kevin Croxton's shot a goal after it trickled over the goal line.
The Assistant Referee's normal position is at the blue line, not the goal line. Dave Brown was on the goal line in that case because he was covering for the Referee who had been caught behind the play due to a Princeton turnover in the neutral zone. If the Assistant Referee didn't get to the goal line in that case to see the puck cross the line, RPI probably would have lost that game by one goal instead of tying.
That's why I think that luck still plays a factor in hockey, even at the Division I level.
Playoffs against Quinnipiac next week: The Engineers will take on the Quinnipiac Bobcats in ECACHL playoff action this weekend at Houston Field House. Quinnipiac finished tenth in the ECACHL this season, lost to Rensselaer on Black Friday in Troy back in November, and tied us in Connecticut last weekend. This is a best-of-three game series. Games games begin on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (if necessary) at 7:00pm.