RPI forces Game 3

The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute men’s hockey team played the right way for coach Seth Appert ag
PHOTOGRAPHER:

The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute men’s hockey team played the right way for coach Seth Appert against Brown on Saturday in Game 2 of its ECAC Hockey tournament first-round series.

It means the Engineers get to live another day.

Patrick Cullen and Brandon Pirri scored 1:15 apart late in the second per­iod, leading sixth-seeded RPI to a 4-1 victory over No. 11 Brown at Houston Field House to even the best-of-three series at a game apiece.

The deciding game will be played tonight at 7.

The Engineers, who won a home playoff game for the first time since beating Princeton, 3-2, on March 6, 2004, drove hard to the net time and time again. That was something they didn’t do in Friday’s 3-1 loss.

“We played hard,” Appert said. “As frustrated as I was with our forwards last night, once again this team proved why we’re a pretty good hockey team. We’re very resilient. We talked about having our backs against the wall, it was more like we were back against a cliff because there was nowhere to go but march forward. This team has been able to do it all year. When people doubted us, when adversity has hit, we’ve been our best.”

The Engineers (18-16-14) needed to be at their best if they wanted to force a Game 3. With the score tied, 1-1, they took control of the game in the second period.

They had a couple of chances to take the lead midway through the second. But shots by Paul Kerins, who scored in the first period, and Pirri hit the post.

“I liked the way we were playing in the second,” Appert said. “I wasn’t worried because we were playing the right way. But we hit a couple of posts, and had pucks bouncing around the crease and you start getting a little concerned that [goalie Mike] Clemente may be starting to feel it a little bit.”

Cullen broke the tie with 5:19 left in the second. Taking a Peter Merth pass, Cullen skated down the left wing and then behind the Brown net. He came around the right side and, with linemates Alex Angers-Goulet and Josh Rabbani providing a screen, fired a shot over Clemente’s right shoulder.

“We were really building off shift after shift,” Cullen said. “I just got the puck on the boards. Alex went hard to the net. ‘Rambo’ [Rabbani] went hard to the net. I just threw it at the net, and I had a good bounce.”

Pirri scored during a four-on-four situation. He came down the left wing on a two-on-one. Using John Kennedy on the right as a decoy, Pirri fired a shot from the left circle off the post and into the net at 15:56.

“We knew it was going to take a lot to beat Clemente,” Pirri said. “We told each other in the room that we were going to get shots. Johnny did a great job of going to the net, and gave me enough room to back the ‘D’ off and I just let it go high glove. If we’re going to beat Clemente, it’s going to need a perfect shot. Fortunately, that happened.”

Chase Polacek put the game away with his 26th goal of the season, a power-play tally midway through the third period.

Brown 1 0 0 — 1

RPI 1 2 1 — 4

First Period — 1, RPI, Kerins 14 (D’Amigo, Pirri), 12:52 (pp). 2, Brown, Volpatti 13 (Zolinerczyk, McMonagle), 15:05. Penalties — Wolff, Bro (hooking), 11:48; McMonagle, Bro (tripping), 12:52.

Second Period — 3, RPI, Cullen 4 (Merth), 14:41. 4, RPI, Pirri 11, 15:56. Penalties — Pirri, RPI (roughing), :13; Pirri, RPI (charging), 3:01; Volpatti, Bro (charging), 3:29; Wolff, Bro (hooking), 8:36; McMonagle, Bro (tripping), 15:01; Polacek, RPI (boarding), 15:07; Brutlag, RPI (interference), 17:29.

Third Period — 5, RPI, Polacek 26 (D’Amigo, Kerins), 10:09 (pp). Penalties — Farnham, Bro (roughing), 2:30; Bergin, RPI (roughing), 2:30; Pirri, RPI (grasping face mask), 2:30; Buvinow, Bro (tripping), 6:23; Volpatti, Bro (tripping), 8:40; Merth, RPI (cross-checking), 10:46; Ryan, Bro (holding), 13:38; Maclellan, Bro (hitting after whistle), 17:55; Malchuk, RPI, minor-misconduct (tripping), 17:55.

Shots on Goal — Brown 10-8-6 — 24. RPI 7-13-14 — 34.

Power-play opportunities — Brown 0 of 6; RPI 2 of 8.

Goalies — Brown, Clemente 9-13-4 (34 shots-30 saves). RPI, York 14-12-4 (24-23).

A — 1,223. T — 2:10.

Referees — Peter Feola, Mike Baker. Linesmen — Steve Shufelt, Justin Prusak.

Categories: College Sports

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