Posted at: 01/26/2013 11:49 PM
By: WNYT Sports
ALBANY, NY – Freshman forward Matt Wilkins scored the game-winning power play goal at 19:23 of the third period to lift No. 19 men’s hockey (13-8-4, 6-4-3 ECAC Hockey) to a 3-2 win over RPI (8-11-5, 3-6-3 ECAC Hockey) in the inaugural Mayor’s Cup in front of 5,959 fans at the Times Union Center.
Senior defenseman Greg Coburn scored earlier in the third period to give Union the lead, and sophomore forward Daniel Ciampini added a first period goal for the Dutchmen, who won their eighth straight game over the Engineers.
With Union leading 2-1 late in the third period, RPI’s Mark McGowan scored on a rebound, crashing the net on a long shot from CJ Lee and beating Union goaltender Troy Grosenick (36 saves) at 15:36 to tie the game.
RPI’s Nick Bailen was called for interference at 18:37, giving the Dutchmen a late power play to close out regulation. On the game-winning goal, junior defenseman Mat Bodie fed junior forward Josh Jooris on the right wing. Jooris skated into the offensive zone and found Wilkins, who snuck behind the RPI defense for a tap-in goal in front of the net.
Union finished the night 2-for-4 on the man advantage while holding the Engineers scoreless on five power play chances.
RPI goaltender Jason Kasdorf made 17 saves in net, as the Engineers outshot Union 38-20 for the night.
Special teams and Grosenick’s stellar play were key in the first period, as Union scored on its first power play opportunity of the game, and held the Engineers scoreless on two power play chances in the frame.
Just two minutes into the game, RPI’s Guy Leboeuf was sent to the penalty box for cross-checking, giving Union’s nation-leading power play an early chance.
On the ensuing man advantage, senior defenseman Greg Coburn fired a shot from the left point that Kasdorf stopped, but Ciampini put in the rebound for his eighth goal of the season at 3:34 to give the Dutchmen a 1-0 lead.
RPI regained momentum in the contest with its own power play opportunities later in the period. Grosenick made a series of spectacular glove saves to help Union maintain a one goal lead. His first great stop came on a Bo Dolan drive at the 8:00 mark with Ciampini in the box for tripping.
Grosenick’s best save of the frame came on Ryan Haggerty’s chance from the slot at 11:19. A puck battle behind the net led to a centering feed in front. Haggerty fired on net from between the hash marks, and Grosenick made another sprawling glove save.
With freshman defenseman Tim Boyle in the penalty box late in the period for hooking, Grosenick stopped Haggerty once again on a drive form the point to keep the game scoreless after one period of play
RPI needed just 16 seconds to even the game in the second period, scoring on their first rush into the Union zone. RPI’s CJ Lee started the play with a shot from the left point on net. Grosenick made a right pad save, and Jacob Laliberte fanned on a rebound opportunity, but Haggerty found the loose puck and scored to tie the game at 1-1.
Early in the third period, Coburn took a pass from senior forward Wayne Simpson and beat Kasdorf from straightaway at 1:51 to help Union regain the lead, setting up a frantic finish to the contest.
Union will host Dartmouth at 7:30 p.m. next Friday night at Messa Rink in a contest that will be nationally-televised on the NBC Sports Network.