RPI Bounced from ECAC Playoffs by Dartmouth

Posted at: 03/09/2014 11:11 PM
By: RPI Athletics & WNYT Sports

TROY, N.Y. – Brad Scheirhorn scored the go-ahead goal with 2:14 to play to give Dartmouth a 5-4 comeback win over Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in ECAC Hockey First Round action on Sunday evening at Houston Field House. With the victory, the Big Green come away with the best-of-three series win, and advance to the second round of the ECAC Hockey playoffs. RPI finishes out the season at 15-16-8, while Dartmouth improves to 10-18-4. The Big Green will take on Union in a best-of-three series next weekend.

RPI got on the board first, as Ryan Haggerty (Stamford, CT / US National Dev. Team) scored his 28th goal of the season at 3:39. Brock Higgs (Kingston, ON / Kingston Voyageurs) and Mike Zalewski (New Hartford, NY / Vernon Vipers) picked up assists on the tally. The Big Green tied the game at 1-1 three minutes later, as Tim O'Brien (Winnetka, IL / Sioux City Muketeers) picked up the puck on a breakaway. Scott Diebold (Buffalo, NY / Tri-City Storm) stopped the initial shot, but O'Brien collected his own rebound to put it away.

Haggerty and Zalewski connected later in the period to give RPI a 2-1 lead. Haggerty carried the puck up the ice and passed it off to Zalewski, who took a hard one-timer past Dartmouth goalkeeper Charles Grant (Berwick, NS / Yarmouth Mariners) at 16:00.

An early RPI penalty in the second gave Dartmouth its first power play opportunity of the game, but they were unable to capitalize, with the Engineers getting several good looks on shots while being shorthanded.  Sophomore Chris Bradley (Williamsville, NY / Youngstown Phantoms) gave Rensselaer a two-goal lead at 15:43, taking a hard shot from the far point. Assists were credited to Mark McGowan (Toronto, ON / Oakville Blades) and Curtis Leonard (Napanee, ON / Wellington Dukes).

Eric Neiley (Warminster, PA / Exeter) took assists from Brandon McNally (Saugus, MA / Belmont Hill) and Grant Opperman (Wayzata, MN / Tri-City Storm) just 2:10 into the third period to pull Dartmouth back within a goal. Neiley, who scored twice in Dartmouth's win on Saturday, went five-hole on Diebold for the score.

Neiley returned the favor at 8:48, assisting McNally on the game-tying goal, as he one-timed the puck past Diebold for the equalizer. Dartmouth took the lead after power play opportunities by both teams, as Scheirhorn (Anchorage, AK / Tri-City Storm) took an assist from O'Brien with 2:14 to play to put the Big Green up, 5-4.

Both teams recorded 39 shots, while RPI came away with 35 faceoff wins. Diebold finished with 34 saves between the pipes for the Engineers, while Grant stopped 35 opposing shots for the Big Green.