Post game Interviews Video - Whittet & Volpatti begin at the 10:08 mark
TROY, NY - The Brown men's hockey team (10-18-4, 6-12-4) battled to a 3-2 victory over Rensselaer (18-17-4, 10-9-3), clinching its first-round playoff series for the second straight season. The Bears scored one goal in each of the three periods, building a 3-0 lead, and then held on for the 3-2 win after an intense third period comeback attempt by RPI and a pair of Engineers' goals in the third period. The Bears now travel to New Haven, CT to face top-seeded Yale in the best-of-three Quarterfinal series, Friday, March 12th, Saturday, March 13th, and Sunday, March 14th, if necessary. The Bulldogs, who are coming off a First Round bye, defeated Brown in two games during the 2009 Quarterfinals.
Senior Aaron Volpatti (Revelstoke, BC) led Brown with a goal and an assist, while freshman Chris Zaires' (Aberdeen, NJ) ninth goal of the year 18 seconds into the third period would stand as the game-winner.
The two teams were even for the first few minutes of the game, matching each other shift-for-shift, while taking one shot each. Brown's second line of Volpatti, senior Devin Timberlake (Port Alberni, BC) and sophomore Bobby Farnham (North Andover, MA) had an extended shift towards the seven minute mark, which resulted in the period's only goal. Timberlake worked in the corner and fired the puck through traffic and across the crease. Farnham picked the lose puck up and attempted a wrap-around from the right side, which was denied by Allen York. However, the puck came right to the stick of Volpatti at the top of the crease and the Bears' leading goal scorer back-handed the puck to the right corner of the net, beating York glove-side low.
The Bears continued to build a shot advantage, but RPI steadily turned on the pressure and didn't allow another Brown shot after about the 12 minute mark, finishing the period with an 11-6 advantage in shots.
Brown opened the second period with 1:28 left on its second power play of the night. Though the Bears failed to take a shot, the power play gave them a slight edge in momentum, as they took the first four shots of the period. RPI's best chance of the early going came on a break away by the Engineers Bryan Brutlag at the 2:26 mark. With just sophomore Mike Clemente (Great Falls, VA) to beat, Brutlag chased after a lose puck, forcing Clemente to come out of the net. Clemente had a great read on the play, poke checking the puck away and out of the zone to end the threat.
Midway through the period, the Bears continued their relentless forchecking and long shifts in the RPI zone. Timberlake appeared to give Brown a 2-0 lead with 9:31 left in the second period when he redirected a centering feed from Volpatti past York and into the back of the net. However, the official immediately waved the goal off, reasoning that Timberlake had kicked the puck into the goal.
With just under eight minutes left in the second, the Bears earned a 46-second five-on-three advantage. Timberlake won the ensuing faceoff to York's left, and Brown settled into the zone. Just 20 seconds into the two-man advantage, sophomore Jack Maclellan (Calgary, ALB) gave Brown a 2-0 lead, beating York with a wrist shot from high in the slot. Sophomore Jeff Buvinow (Turnersville, NJ) and Volpatti each assisted on the goal.
The Bears earned another power play opportunity with 1:43 left and maintained possession in the zone for the remainder of the period. Brown had several chances on the advantage, but York saved one, the Engineers blocked one, and two blasts from Volpatti both went wide, as the score remained 2-0.
Brown opened the final stanza with 17 seconds left on that power play. After winning the initial faceoff, the Bears had one last chance. Just one second after the man-advantage expired, Zaires increased Brown's lead to 3-0. With RPI attempting to break the puck out of the zone, junior Harry Zolnierczyk (Toronto, ONT) stripped the puck away from an Engineer, just outside the goal line and to York's left. He got the puck up to Zaires in the slot and the Bears' rookie spun and fired a wrist-shot that beat York five-hole for the three-goal lead.
Paul Kerins, who scored RPI's first goal in each of the first two games of the series, got the Engineers on the board 5:49 into the third with his third goal of the weekend. Skating in along the left wing and with RPI on a three-on-two rush, Kerins took a centering feed from Patrick Cullen and buried his shot to the right side of the net, beating Clemente glove-side low.
The score remained 3-1 in favor of the Bears until the 16:55 mark when Jeff Foss scored an extra attacker goal on a blast from the center of the blueline. The goal came just two seconds after a penalty on junior Jesse Fratkin (Burnaby, BC) had expired, as the Engineers had a two-man advantage just prior to the goal after pulling York in favor of the extra attacker with 4:14 remaining in the period.
RPI pulled York for a second time with 1:42 left for a one-player advantage again. After an offensive zone hand pass sent York back to the net briefly, he headed for the bench for a third time with 1:08 left to play. The Engineers maintained possession for most of the next 56 seconds, until Volpatti, skating towards the vacated net with the puck, drew a slashing call with 12.3 seconds remaining, essentially icing the victory for Brown.
Clemente finished with 28 saves, including 12 in the third period, while York made 22 for the Engineers. By virtue of St. Lawrence's victory over Clarkson in their series, the Bears move on to face Yale in the quarterfinals for the second straight year.
RENSSELAER 0 0 2 x - 2
First Period - B, Volpatti (Farnham,
Timberlake), 7:05. Penalties -B, 1-2; R, 2-4.
Second Period - B, Maclellan (Buvinow, Volpatti), 5x3, 7:36. Penalties - B, 1-2; R, 3-6.
Third Period - B, Zaires (Zolnierczyk), 0:18; R, Kerins (Cullen), 5:49; R, Foss (E. Burgdoerfer, Cullen), EX, 16:55. Penalties - B, 2-4; R, 1-2.
B, Mike Clemente (60:00) - 11-5-12-x - 28; R, Allen York (57:31) - 5-13-4-x - 22.
Pictured: Devin Timberlake ’10. Photo by DSPics.net.