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Face off on March 8 at Yale's ingalls Rink in New Haven, Conn. between RPI and Yale. 

NEW HAVEN, Conn. − RPI Hockey's season officially has come to a close. No pageantry. No celebrations. A disappointing end to a season that had its moments of excitement, and frustration. 

RPI finished 10-23-3 on the season, improving from the 2017-18 season's 6-27-4 record. 

"I wanted it better for the outgoing guys," said RPI Head Coach Dave Smith following the conclusion of the season. "They were coachable, they got a lot better, and they competed hard. You want a just reward for that and it doesn't feel like we got that just reward."

RPI was shut out in their last game of the year despite numerous chances at the net and several scoring opportunities. It was kind of the epitome of the season. An RPI team that is doing all the right things to get to the net and create opportunities, but can not figure out how to get the puck in the net for the life of them. 

"I'm really proud of our effort. I'm really proud of the way we played, I thought we played well," said Smith following Saturday night's loss. "We played hard, we played well. Unfortunately tonight Yale was a little bit better."

This is not a reflection on the season, that will come soon. Instead, it is a deeper look into the weekend, and how the RPI Engineers faired in New Haven on the March weekend. 

SPEEDY YALE 

I'm not breaking any new ground by saying how fast and talented the Yale Bulldogs are, and were, this weekend. At times, RPI would have several strides on a loose puck, and one of the Smith's, or Joe Snively, or another Bulldog would come out of nowhere to win the foot battle. 

The speed also played a factor into just simple breakouts. The Bulldogs were blowing past Engineers when exiting the defensive zone, spent very little time in transition through the neutral zone, and had a lot of opportunities off odd-man rushes. 

"They're a good team," said Smith. "They skate well and tonight their power play was good."

OFFENSIVE CHANCES  

Ottoville Lepännen scored the lone goal of the series for RPI. Off of a kicked out rebound, Lepännen deposited the puck into the back of the net as the minutes ticked down in game one. 

Other than a goal review in game one on a chance that very clearly didn't go in, RPI's chances were limited to several robberies by the Yale goaltending tandem of Corbin Kaczperski and Sam Tucker. Kaczperski had a sprawling paddle save early in game one, Tucker an acrobatic breakaway save on Todd Burgess in game two, and that was the extent of the RPI chances.

Yale did a strong job of blocking shots from the point, and when that is happening, it makes it really difficult to get those hard nosed goals above the blue paint that the Engineers have needed all season. 

Yale blocked 27 shots over the weekend, 18 alone in game two. 

"We miss an empty net on the power play, they score on the power play," said Smith Friday night. "It felt as though we were creating chances, enough chances to be in the game. A couple mistakes lead to defensive zone time, which leads to a goal. It's a pressure time of the year and those things cost us."

Ile Up

A pile up in front of the Yale goal leads to a no goal decision on March 8 in New Haven, Conn. 

SAVORY VS. A TWO HEADED MONSTER

Owen Savory started played games one and two, and did an admirable job. He made some key breakaway saves on both nights, and showed how good his positioning can be in the blue paint to make the optimal save. 

"In this barn it's always going to be quick hockey," said Savory. "Obviously we realized that throughout the weekend and the whole year -- I think it was good to have the ability to settle in and get some shots and get a feel for the puck."

Savory finished the weekend with 54 saves total. Savory finished with a 4.00 goals against average and a .900 save percentage. 

"I thought the goaltending was really good on both sides," said Smith. "They had two empty netters, three power play goals, and two other goals."

On the other side, Yale chose to split time between Kaczperski and Tucker. Kaczperski played RPI three times total this season and had their number with a 3-0 record, 1.67 goals against average, and a .932 save percentage. 

Despite Kaczperski's success, Tucker was the choice in game two of the tournament and he did no disappoint. Tucker made 25 saves en route to the shut out, including a momentous save in the second period on Todd Burgess. 

Corbin Kaczperski

Corbin Kaczperski on March 8 at Yale's Ingalls Arena

NUMBERS DON'T LIE 

There really isn't much cookie cutting here. Yale outshot RPI 64-50, outperformed on the power play, converting three times on seven chances while RPI did not score on five, and won the face off battle 74-50. 

RPI was outperformed by a better Yale team. 

"They capitalized on some chances," said Smith after Saturday. "You have to credit Yale for getting two goals on the power play and an empty netter."

WIFFEN MISSIN' 

Senior assistant captain Brady Wiffen sat out game two due to a leg injury he sustained earlier in the week and aggravated Friday night on an awkward hit at center ice. 

Wiffen, who has been the top line center at times this season and has played major minutes all season, was a big hole in the lineup Saturday night. 

Wiffen brings size to the lineup. Usually physical, Wiffen was a hard hitting center that RPI could put in front of the net and either create a screen for the point shot, or to out muscle opponents on loose pucks right outside the blue paint. 

"It obviously sucks, I wish I could have been out there," said Wiffen on sitting out the final game of the year. "I wanted to help them out and compete and do everything I possibly could." 

***

What a season it was. RPI went unbeaten against Union, fell hard to Clarkson, and had sparks of sensationalism along the way. It's progress. 

Keep an eye out for the end of the season review and end of season rewards to be released by the ECAC in the coming weeks. 

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Ture Linden throws a hit on March 8 at Yale's Ingalls Rink in New Haven, Conn.

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