Unranked RPI (Troy, NY) upset #3 Union (Schenectady, NY) in the 2nd Annual Capital District Mayor’s Cup at the Times Union Center on Saturday night. The two schools are separated by a twenty minute drive through New York’s Capital District and they have a recently one-sided rivalry where Union had won 10 straight. The game was heated and ended with a thrilling 2-1 win for RPI behind the 28 saves of goalie Scott Diebold. When the final horn sounded, the benches cleared and fights broke out – including one between coaches Rick Bennett and Seth Appert. In the video, that is Union coach Bennett throwing punches and getting held back by referees.
I was there with friends (one Union grad, one RPI grad) and we sat in the Union section in front of some really annoying students that had me ready to donate money to the RPI Alumni Association by the end of the first period. I know there are version of these jokes on every college campus about rivals – “They’re RPI students, of course they’re having trouble finding their seats” – but adding “Get real!” whenever an opposing player took a shot or didn’t completely land a check was insufferable. The best line came when RPI tied the game at 1-1 and he asked a friend, “Are we still ranked number three?” Ask that question again on Monday, bud.
Union’s Eli Lichtenwald and Mat Bodie along with RPI’s Mike Zalewski and Luke Curadi were given game misconduct penalties and thrown out with the game already over. Those four will each miss their next game and the coaches probably have punishment coming their way as well. The two teams lined up to shake hands, but thought better of it. Meanwhile, the Union kids stood petulantly with their arms crossed and tears in their eyes. Seriously. Who knew college hockey was such a big deal in upstate New York?