TROY, NY – With the game tied, 1-1, and time winding down in the third period, junior Michael Juola (Lake Forest, CA) scored his fourth goal of the year with 1:44 left in regulation, lifting the Brown men's hockey team (14-12-6, 7-9-6) to a 3-1 win over #16 Rensselaer (17-13-5, 12-7-3) in game one of the best-of-three ECAC Quarterfinal series Friday evening at Houston Field House. Senior Anthony Borelli (Grand Island, NY) was also instrumental in leading the seventh-seeded Bears to the win over the second-seeded Engineers, recording 26 saves, including nine over the final period, during which Brown was outshot, 9-5.
I thought it was a great game," said head coach Brendan Whittet '94. "We stuck to what we needed to do defensively and that allowed us that opportunity at the end. It was a great shot. (Juola) buried it and Borelli played tremendous from the get go. They had some good, good chances."
The Bears nearly took a 1-0 lead just 5:14 into the game when senior Chris Zaires (Aberdeen, NJ) put away the rebound of a shot by Juola from the top of the left faceoff circle. The puck trickled in behind Jason Kasdorf, but as Kasdorf slid to make the save, he kicked the net off its moorings. The referees reviewed the play and waived the goal off.
However, less than three minutes later, sophomore leading scorer Matt Lorito (Oakville, Ontario) put the Bears on top, 1-0, scoring his 18th goal of the season. After RPI attempted to clear the puck out of the zone, freshman Brandon Pfeil (West Vancouver, British Columbia) leapt up in the air at the blue line, caught the puck, dropped it on the ice and sent it to freshman Nick Lappin (Geneve, IL) in the slot. Lappin passed over to Lorito on his left and Lorito beat Kasdorf with a wrist shot from the bottom of the circle at 8:09.
The Engineers opened the second period with 1:29 left in their first power play of the night. However, Lorito nearly gave Brown a 2-0 lead just 1:10 in, but his chance on a short-handed two-on-one with junior Garnet Hathaway (Kennebunkport, ME) was denied by Kasdorf.
Both teams had chances throughout the entire period with both Kasdorf and Borelli making several spectacular saves. With 2:28 left before the second intermission, RPI went up on its second power play of the night. Freshman Mark Naclerio (Milford, CT) was denied on another two-on-one, this time with Zaires, just 25 seconds into the Engineers' man-advantage.
However, with time winding down in both the period and the power play, RPI set up in the zone and Jacob Laliberte solved Borelli when he knocked in the rebound of a shot by Ryan Haggerty from the left side of the crease with 57 seconds left in the frame.
With time ticking down in the third period and the teams still tied at 1-1, Juola gave the Bears a 2-1 lead when he beat Kasdorf with a high wrist shot from the inside of the right circle that hit the upper right corner of the net. Junior Jake Goldberg (Langhorne, PA) started the play when he sent the puck out of the zone to Juola in neutral ice, before Juola and Zaires worked a give-and-go up the right side.
RPI called a timeout following the goal and pulled Kasdorf in favor of the extra attacker with 1:25 remaining. Naclerio helped clinch the win with an empty net goal, assisted by Hathaway and senior Jeff Ryan (Media, PA), with 9.2 seconds remaining.
Both Borelli and Kasdorf finished with 26 saves. RPI was 1-2 on the power play, while Brown was 0-1.
Brown and RPI face off against each other in game two of the best-of-three series tomorrow evening at 7:00 p.m.
BROWN 1 0 2 x - 3
RENSSELAER 0 1 0 x - 1
First period – B, Lorito (Lappin, Pfeil), 8:09. Penalties – B, 1-2; R, 0-0.
Second period – R, Laliberte (Haggerty), PP, 19:03. Penalties – B, 1-2; R, 0-0.
Third Period – B, Juola (Zaires, Goldberg), 18:16; B, Naclerio (Hathaway, Ryan), EN, 19:51. Penalties – B, 0-0; R, 1-2.
B, Borelli (60:00), 8-9-9-x – 26; R, Kasdorf (58:40), 9-14-3-x – 26.
Pictured: Michael Juola '14. Photo by DSPics.net.