PRINCETON, N.J. — The Rensselaer Engineers were in Princeton, N.J., but for all that anyone could tell, they were still in New Haven, Conn., playing an extension of Friday’s third period.
Friday night, the Engineers scored four times in the third period to defeat Yale, and on Saturday, the Engineers scored four times in the first period — after going down 1-0 in the first 31 seconds — to defeat Princeton, 6-2, sweeping the weekend road games and moving into a tie for sixth place in the ECAC.
“The momentum that we built up against Yale, the comeback win, that carried us into tonight’s game,” Engineer coach Dan Fridgen said. “I thought we were behind the 8-ball because they scored so early in the game, and I thought we recovered well. We got some shots on goal and some of them went in and we didn’t look back from there.”
“We had a pretty good third period last night and we continued to execute tonight and that kept us pretty busy,” Jim Henkel said.
The Engineers went down 31 seconds into the game when Josh Roberts threw the puck towards the slot and George Parros tipped it over Nathan Marsters’ glove.
The Engineers came back at the 4:45 mark of the period when Matt Murley took a centering pass from Nolan Graham and waited for a screen before wristing one between the legs of Dave Stathos.
The lead came when Carson Butterwick scored into an open net. Murley stole the puck from Neil McCann and gave it to Graham. Graham put it between his legs for a drop shot, drawing Stathos with him and that allowed Butterwick to find the empty net.
The barrage continued as Mikael Hammarstrom took a turnover from Princeton and fired one that got between the post and the right skate of Stathos.
The score went to 4-1 when Henkel outraced a Tiger defenseman to the puck and softly pushed a shot towards Stathos that got through his legs and ended Stathos’ night after one period of play.
“There’s no way that you’re at home and you’re playing a good team that you’re not ready to play,” Tigers captain Kirk Lamb said. “There’s no way that happens. It’s unacceptable.”
“No, we weren’t ready to play tonight,” Tigers coach Len Quesnelle said. “If we can learn anything, it’s that you have to play 60 minutes of hockey.”
The Tigers got a power-play goal from Lamb in the second, but that was matched by a Jim Vickers power-play goal. Marc Cavosie added an unassisted goal on another Princeton defensive miscue to make the final score 6-2.
The Engineers were bolstered once again by the Murley-Graham-Butterwick line. Friday night, the trio accumulated four goals and two assists and on Saturday it had two goals and six assists.
“As the season goes along they’ve been picking up momentum,” Fridgen said of his No. 1 line. “They’re feeling more comfortable with each other and they’re finding some chemistry and they’re improving and they’re a tough line to deal with.”
Princeton (5-4-3, 4-4-2 ECAC) will travel to New Hampshire next Saturday while the Engineers (9-3-1, 3-2-1 ECAC) will take time off for final exams and the holidays and come back to action against Northeastern in the Rensselaer/HSBC Holiday Hockey Tournament on Dec. 29.