Special Teams the Difference as RPI Defeats Men’s Hockey, 5-1
TROY, NEW YORK – RPI (13-11-5, 8-6-3) went three-for-five on the man-advantage and held the Bears off the board until the game was already decided, skating to a 5-1 victory over the Brown men's hockey team (9-10-5, 5-7-5) on Friday evening at Houston Field House. Special teams proved to be the difference, as the Engineers scored back-to-back goals on two separate power play chances in a span of 2:03 to turn a 3-0 lead into a 5-0 lead early in the third period.
"I thought RPI came out energized and has us on our heels right from the get go," said head coach Brendan Whittet '94. "We gave up a soft one 45 seconds in and that's not a good recipe for success. I thought, in all aspects, that RPI got exactly what they deserved. We didn't have it from the get go. It's hard to turn on. It's not a light switch. We didn't have that tenacity and mental crispness that we have had for large stretches of the last month-and-a-half."
The Engineers grabbed a 1-0 lead just 46 seconds into the opening frame on Mike Zalewski's sixth goal of the year. Senior Anthony Borelli (Grand Island, NY) made the initial save on an attempt by Guy Lebeouf from the right circle. However, the puck trickled behind him and settled in the paint. Zalewski beat a Brown player to the puck and knocked it in behind Borelli for the early lead.
Greg Burgdoerfer nearly increased RPI's lead to 2-0 just shy of the eight-minute mark when he fired a blast from the right halfwall that beat Borelli to the far side, but ricocheted off the post.
The Bears went on their first power play at 12:45 of the first period and sophomore Matt Lorito (Oakville, Ontario) had a one-timer from the slot denied by Jason Kasdorf just 31 seconds into the man-advantage. Brown couldn't get much going offensively after Lorito's shot and with 20 seconds left on the power play, sophomore Matt Harlow (Bridgewater, MA) was whistled for tripping, which ultimately led to RPI's first power play.
The Engineers capitalized on the play at 15:27 to take a 2-0 lead when Nick Bailen, stationed at the left side of the crease, took a centering feed from Jacob Laliberte and knocked it into the partially open net with Borelli still on the other post.
Early in the second period, the Bears took back-to-back penalties, both against defensemen, just 43 seconds apart, giving RPI a two-man advantage for 1:17. Brown utilized two different groups of three on the kill, sending out senior Richie Crowley (Canton, MA), freshman Brandon Pfeil (West Vancouver, British Columbia) and junior Mark Hourihan (Lynnfield, MA) in one group, and junior Matt Wahl (Wellington, FL), sophomore Joey de Concilys (St. Catharine's, Ontario) and junior Garnet Hathaway (Kennebunkport, ME) in the other. They allowed just two shots to reach Borelli during the extended power play, killing both opportunities, despite RPI maintaining possession in the zone for the majority of time.
However, 65 seconds after Brown returned to full strength, the Engineers increased their lead to 3-0 on a fluky goal by Mark Miller. Borelli made a save on an initial attempt by Mark McGowan, but the rebound bounced out to Miller, at the top of the crease, and deflected back into the goal off Miller's chest.
Brown went back on the penalty kill just 38 seconds into the third period after Lorito was called for tripping. Hathaway and Hourihan nearly combined to get the Bears on the board about a minute into the Engineers' fourth power play, but couldn't connect on a two-on-one break and RPI went back to work on the other end of the ice, catching another lucky break to take a 4-0 lead.
Laliberte was credited with the goal when his centering pass from the right side of the net was deflected into the goal by a Brown defenseman, who had attempted to block the pass, at 2:14. The Engineers went back up on the man-advantage less than two minutes later, and just 10 seconds into the power play, CJ Lee gave his team a 5-0 lead.
Following the goal, junior Marco De Filippo (Auronzo Di Cadore, Italy) replaced Borelli in the Brown net, and just 39 seconds later, freshman Joe Prescott (Norwell, MA) got the Bears on the board. After collecting the puck from senior Marc Senecal (North Bay, Ontario), Prescott fired a shot from the bottom of the right faceoff circle, beating Kasdorf glove-side high for his third goal of the year. Senior Francis Drolet (Lachine, Quebec) also assisted.
Prescott's goal would be the final score of the night. For the game, RPI outshot Brown, 39-31. The Engineers were 3-5 on the power play, while Brown was 0-2.
Borelli finished with 28 saves, allowing all five goals, in 44:26, while De Filippo stopped all six shots he faced. Kasdorf made 30 saves for the Engineers.
In the midst of a four-game road trip, the Bears continue action tomorrow evening when they face Union in a 7:00 p.m. contest.
BROWN 0 0 1 x - 1
RENSSELAER 2 1 2 x - 5
First period – R, Zalewski (Leboeuf, Higgs), 0:46; R, Bailen (Laliberte, Neal), PP, 15:27. Penalties – B, 1-2; R, 1-2.
Second period – R, Miller (McGowan, Dolan), 8:19. Penalties – B, 3-6; R, 2-4.
Third Period – R, Laliberte (Neal, Haggerty), PP, 2:14; R, Lee (Bradley, Bubela), PP, 4:17; B, Prescott (Senecal, Drolet), 4:56. Penalties – B, 3-6; R, 1-2.
B, Borelli (44:26), 14-10-4-x – 28; B, De Filippo (15:34), x-x-6-x – 6; R, Kasdorf (60:00), 10-11-9-x – 30.
Pictured: Joe Prescott '16. Photo by DSPics.net.