Special Teams the Difference as Bears Fall to RPI, 1-0
TROY, NY – The Brown power play was held scoreless in six opportunities, while RPI capitalized on one of four power play chances, as the Engineers (2-9-0, 1-3-0) snapped an eight game losing streak and earned their first ECAC Hockey win of the season with a 1-0 win over the Brown men's hockey team (3-3-0, 2-2-0) on Saturday evening at Houston Fieldhouse.
The two teams were scoreless through the first period, during which Brown outshot RPI, 10-6. The Bears had three power play chances in the period, including a brief two-man advantage, but could not capitalize on three power play shots, as both teams headed into the locker rooms tied at zero.
The Bears seemed disjointed early in the period, failing to connect on several passes, but started to click towards the end of the period.
Brown nearly took a 1-0 lead just 53 seconds into the second period. Senior Jeff Buvinow (Turnersville, NJ) fired a shot from the right point that beat RPI's Bryce Merriam, hitting the near post. No one could find the rebound initially and referee John Murphy whistled the play dead just before senior Jarred Smith (Pepper Pike, OH) poked the puck over the line at the left post.
With the score still knotted at zero, the Engineers nearly scored the game's first goal with 6:25 left in the period. Josh Rabbani, who was alone at the bottom of the left faceoff circle, collected the puck, took a few strides towards the net and fired a laser that appeared headed over senior Mike Clemente's (Great Falls, VA) glove and into the upper left corner. However, the puck missed just wide, as the score remained tied at zero.
With RPI on a power play and 35 seconds left in the first period, senior Bobby Farnham (North Andover, MA) nearly gave Brown the lead, diving to poke the puck into the net on a feed from senior Jack Maclellan (Calgary, ALB). However, the puck went over the net and the Engineers raced the other way, capitalizing on the man-advantage with 21 seconds left in the period. Stationed alone at the edge of the crease, Ryan Haggerty took a feed from Nick Bailed and fired it past Clemente for the Engineers first goal in over three games.
The Engineers opened the third period with back-to-back power play chances 2:11 apart. The Bears were able to kill both, before earning a power play of their own after a too many men on the ice call against RPI at the 4:43 mark, which saw the teams skate four aside for 42 seconds before Brown's power play.
With Brown on its sixth power play midway through the final period, sophomore Dennis Robertson (Fort St. John, BC) nearly got the Bears on the board, but his blast from the top of the left circle clanged off the left post.
With time winding down in the game and RPI still clinging to its 1-0 lead, the Engineers thought they had doubled the lead with 3:15 left, but the referee immediately waved the goal off, due to a high-sticking call against RPI.
After an icing call against the Engineers, Brown pulled Clemente with 1:26 remaining in favor of the extra attacker, but RPI was able to hold on for the win, its first since October 8th.
For the game, Clemente and Merriam both finished with 22 saves, as RPI held a slim, 23-22, advantage in shots.
Having played four straight ECAC Hockey contests, the Bears take a three-game hiatus from League play beginning next Saturday, November 19th, when they travel to West Point, NY for a 7:00 p.m. contest at Army. Games against AIC (at home on November 22nd) and Holy Cross (away on November 26th) follow, before Brown resumes League play at Yale on December 1st.
BROWN 0 0 0 x - 0
RENSSELAER 0 1 0 x - 1
First period – No Scoring. Penalties – B, 0-0; R, 3-6.
Second period – R, Haggerty (Bailen, Laliberte), PP, 19:39. Penalties – B, 2-4; R, 1-2.
Third Period – No Scoring. Penalties – B, 2-4; R, 2-4.
B, Mike Clemente (58:34), 6-10-6-x – 22; R, Bryce Merriam (60:00), 10-7-5-x – 22.
Pictured: Mike Clemente '12. Photo by DSPics.net.