RPI Hockey remains undefeated with win over Army

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TROY – After just four games into the season, the sample size is still small for the RPI hockey team, but you are who your record says you are.

A night after winning a defensive battle in their 1-0 win over Long Island University, the Engineers power play took advantage of plenty of opportunities as RPI made good use of the open space, scoring three goals extra in a 7-4 non-conference. win against Army Saturday at Houston Field House.

The Engineers capitalized on their chances against the Black Knights and when it wasn’t on the power play, RPI rolled four lines to create and maintain offensive pressure taking their record to 4-0, the first time the Engineers have won the first four games in a season since going 6-0 in 1999.

“The most important element of the power play was the response,” Smith said. “Our first goal was a power play goal, they come back with one. We end up having a 4-1 lead and they come back (in the third period) and we go to power-play goal, power-play goal. When you get them and take advantage of them, I thought that was really important.

TJ Walsh opened the scoring with RPI on the power play, rebounding Max Smolinski’s shot 4 minutes and 15 seconds into the first period.

The eldest finished the evening with three goals, two on the power play and an assist.

“I felt like I was in the right place a lot, our power play was working,” Walsh said. “We had some really good looks. Max Smolinski had a lot of good shots from the point, we were creating traffic and wearing them down. I was lucky to be in the right places. »

Jake Gagnon’s goal at 7:07 of the first period gave the Engineers a 2-1 lead and RPI collected goals from John Evans and Walsh in the second to take a 4-1 lead after two periods.

After Army (0-3-1) struck twice in the opening minutes to reduce the RPI lead to 4-3, the engineers’ response was swift and decisive.

Smolinski scored his first goal of the season. The freshman defenseman fired a wrist shot from the left circle with the Engineers on the power play at 4:49 of the third and Walsh completed the hat trick with another power-play goal just over a minute later. late to push the lead to 6-3.

Junior defenseman Jack Agnew had three assists in the game, the main one on the two power-play goals in the third period.

“My assists tonight were all shots from the point, just trying to get traffic. Two guys went to the net,” Agnew said. “I’m just happy that TJ was tough at net. I’m just trying to be more involved in attack this year.

RPI made a concerted effort to keep pushing forward on the power play offense and the results were positive in the win.

“On the power play, we try not to stay with the puck and kill time,” Agnew said. “Coach (Chuck) Weber said get the pucks in net early and we see a lane, we’ve got Jake Lee going to net, TJ Walsh going to net. That’s how you score goals. »

Austin Heidemann scored an empty-netter with 70 seconds left in the game to cap the scoring as the junior transfer joined Evans and Smolinski to score their first goals in an Engineers uniform.

Smith said the team will have Sunday off before returning to practice Monday ahead of its first road game of the season at Canisius on Tuesday. Then the Engineers will return home for an exhibition game on Friday against the United States National Development Team.

Sean Martin, a local freelance writer, is a frequent contributor to The Times Union.

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