PROVIDENCE, RI – For the fourth time this season, the Brown men's hockey team (3-5-4, 0-3-4) played to an overtime draw in ECAC Hockey action, coming back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to earn a 2-2 tie with Rensselaer (4-6-4, 1-5-2) on Saturday afternoon at Meehan Auditorium. All four of the ties have come in games played at Meehan, as the Bears are undefeated at 0-0-4 in home ECAC Hockey contests.
After tying the game at 1-1 early in the third period and then falling behind, 2-1, just two minutes later, Brown's top line of senior Chris Zaires (Aberdeen, NJ), junior Mike Juola (Lake Forest, CA) and Matt Lorito (Oakville, Ontario) combined for the game-tying goal with 7:30 left in regulation.
Freshman Brandon Pfeil (West Vancouver, British Columbia) started the play with a rush up the right side, passing to Lorito on the left wing. Lorito drove the net and had his attempt from the left side of the crease saved by Jason Kasdorf. The rebound bounced right to Juola, who back-handed the puck over to Zaires on his right and Zaires tapped the puck into the partially open net for his fourth goal of the year and third in as many games.
Zaires' goal would stand as the tying goal, but sophomore Massimo Lamacchia (Maple, Ontario) came within inches of helping lift the Bears to their first ECAC win of the year with about 3:45 left in overtime. After an initial shot by senior Richie Crowley (Canton, MA) went wide of the net, right, the puck came off the end boards to Lamacchia backdoor. He attempted a one-timer from the doorstep, but was denied by Kasdorf, who got over just in time.
"This afternoon's game was an interesting one because I didn't think we were very good at all for two periods," said head coach Brendan Whittet '94. "In the third, we were able to turn the switch on and somehow find the reserves to play a great third and a great overtime. This team has huge hearts. The biggest hearts of any team I have ever been involved with or coached. They just refuse to cave. Today would have been easy because we just didn't' have the energy, but we found a way to get a point."
The two teams played a relatively quick and scoreless first period with RPI edging Brown in shots, 9-7 and just one penalty between the two teams. The Engineers had perhaps the best chance of the frame when CJ Lee skated in on a short-handed breakaway just after the six-minute mark, but his attempt from the left side of the crease went wide left.
Thanks in part to a pair of power play chances, RPI largely controlled the second period, outshooting Brown, 14-5, and finally snapping the 0-0 deadlock with 6:46 left before the intermission on a goal by Ryan Haggerty. In a long defensive shift for the Bears, the Engineers had a flurry of chances from point blank range. After senior Anthony Borelli (Grand Island, NY) made a save on Jacob Laliberte, Haggerty collected the puck on the right side and one-timed it over Borelli's glove for his fifth goal of the year.
Borelli's play was crucial in the second period in helping to limit the Engineers to just the single goal and keeping Brown in the game heading into the final 20 minutes.
The Bears came out for the third period and needed just 45 seconds to tie the game at 1-1. Juola picked up a lose puck in the slot and sent it up to junior Dennis Robertson (Fort St. John, BC) at the center of the blueline. He wound up and fired a slap shot on goal that Jason Kasdorf saved. Junior Garnet Hathaway (Kennebunkport, ME) picked up the rebound and passed down low to Lorito on the right and the Bears' leading scorer lifted the puck into the partially open net for his ninth goal of the year.
The tie was short-lived however, as just 2:09 later, RPI's Matt Neal picked up the rebound of a shot by Travis Fulton and tucked it behind Borelli to give the Engineers a 2-1 lead at 2:54.
Brown continued to fight, generating several quality changes until ultimately forcing overtime with Zaires' goal late in the period.
For the game, Borelli stopped a career-high 34 shots, while Kasdorf finished with 24 for the Engineers. The Bears were 0-2 on the power play, while RPI was 0-3.
With several players nursing injuries, Brown is now off for three weeks for exams and the holidays and will not return to action until December 29th.
"What we have to do is get healthy," said Whittet. "Hopefully guys have a chance to heal and go into exams and do well on the academic side and then come back ready to attack the second half."
Playing in the UConn Hockey Classic, the Bears face Minnesota State in the opening round on the 29th and will play either AIC or the host Huskies on December 30th.
RPI 0 1 1 0 - 2
BROWN 0 0 2 0 - 2
First period – No Scoring. Penalties – R, 1-2; B, 0-0.
Second period – R, Haggerty (Laliberte, Higgs), 13:14. Penalties – R, 1-2; B, 3-6.
Third Period – B, Lorito (Hathaway, Robertson), 0:45; R, Neal (Fulton, Rogic), 2:54; B, Zaires (Juola, Lorito), 12:30. Penalties – R, 0-0; B, 0-0.
R, Jason Kasdorf (65:00), 7-5-8-4 – 24; B, Anthony Borelli (65:00), 9-13-10-2 – 34.
Pictured: Anthony Borelli '13. Photo by DSPics.net.