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Post Game Press Conference Video
TROY, NY - Trailing, 1-0, to start the third period, sophomores Jarred Smith (Pepper Pike, OH) and Bobby Farnham (North Andover, MA) scored a pair of goals 1:13 apart during the first three minutes of the period and the Brown men's hockey team (9-17-4, 6-12-4) hung on for a 3-1 win over Rensselaer (17-16-4, 10-9-3) in game one of the best-of-three first round series of the ECAC Hockey Tournament.
The two teams played a relatively even first period, both taking seven shots. However, RPI made one count to grab a 1-0 lead after the first period. With the Engineers on their first power play of the game, Chase Polacek took a shot from the right side that sophomore Mike Clemente (Great Falls, VA) saved. However, the rebound popped out to Paul Kerins at the right side of the crease, and with Clemente still on the near post, he shot it to the far side for the 1-0 lead at 7:57.
RPI nearly extended its lead to 2-0 with just about two minutes remaining in the period when Marty O'Grady had Clemente beat with a shot from the slot. However, Clemente slid across the crease and was just able to get his right skate on the puck before it could cross the line to hold the score at 1-0.
The Bears came out with a sense of urgency in the second period and had two quality chances right off the bat. Just three minutes in, Brown's second line of seniors Aaron Volpatti (Revelstoke, BC) and Devin Timberlake (Port Alberni, BC), and Farnham had an extended shift in the zone, hitting Allen York with three shots.
Then just 40 seconds later on another long shift, freshman Chris Zaires (Aberdeen, NJ) had a partially open net to shoot at, but his shot from the right side sailed just wide of the net, as Brown was kept off the board. Following the near-miss, RPI head coach Seth Appert called a timeout, attempting to halt the Bears' momentum.
The Engineers, however, took a penalty on the ensuing face-off, but Brown was unable to generate much on the power play. Junior Harry Zolnierczyk (Toronto, ONT) had a third great chance for the Bears at 7:08, but York made the save on Zolnierczyk's semi-breakaway to hold the score at 1-0.
The Bears came out in the third just as they did the second and this time found the back of net, solving RPI's Allen York on their 23rd shot of the game. With juniors Jesse Fratkin (Burnaby, BC) and David Brownschidle (Lawrenceville, NJ) attempting to dig the puck out of the right corner, the puck squirted out into the slot. Smith was crashing the net and got just enough of his stick on the puck to push it behind York from the right side just 1:40 into the period.
Just 1:13 later, Farnham gave Brown a 2-1 lead when he knocked in the rebound of a shot by Timberlake. After Timberlake's initial shot from the right side was saved, York got caught lying on the ice attempting to cover the puck. However, Volpatti got to it first and tapped it over to Farnham, who tucked it behind York and into the net for his second goal of the year.
Following the goal, the Bears played smart short shifts, minimizing risks and taking care of the puck. With 1:30 remaining, RPI pulled York in favor of the extra attacker, and just 25 seconds later, Volpatti took the puck in the neutral zone from Timberlake, skated over the blueline and fired it into the vacated net for a 3-1 lead with 1:05 left.
The Engineers went up on a power play with 33 seconds left and kept York on the bench. After taking three quick shots following the faceoff, an RPI pass just inside the blueline was tipped out of the zone by Timberlake, essentially ending the Engineers chances to get any closer.
Both Clemente and York finished with 24 saves. The Bears and Engineers will face off tomorrow night in game two of the series. The puck drops at 7:00 p.m.
RENSSELAER 1 0 0 x - 1
First Period - R, Kerins (Polacek, Bergin) PP,
7:57. Penalties -B, 4-8; R, 4-8.
Second Period - No Scoring. Penalties - B, 3-6; R, 2-4.
Third Period - B, Smith (Brownschidle, Fratkin), 1:40; B, Farnham (Timberlake, Volpatti), 2:53; B, Volpatti (Timberlake, Farnham), 18:55. Penalties - B, 1-2; R, 0-0.
B, Mike Clemente (60:00) - 6-11-7-x - 24; R, Allen York (58:11) - 7-14-3-x - 24.
Pictured: Bobby Farnham ’12. Photo by Tom Maguire.