TROY, N.Y. — Scott Selig banged home a rebound of a Mike Ryan shot 17:20 into overtime to down the host Rensselaer Engineers and send the Northeastern Huskies into the championship game of the 50th Rensselaer/HSBC Holiday Hockey Tournament.
On the play, the Engineers were unable to clear their own zone as Ryan took a shot on Engineer goaltender Nathan Marsters that rebounded out to the slot. From there Selig shook a check and his quick shot beat Marsters for the win.
“It was just a situation in your own end of the rink where you just let down,” said Engineer coach Dan Fridgen. “It had nothing to do with ability, nothing to do with skill, it had everything to with a meltdown mentally. They take a shot and we watch their guy skate by two of our guys. They got puck watching and the put in a rebound. First, we shouldn’t be handing a puck to him and second, we should be clearing rebounds.”
The Huskies had come back from two one-goal deficits in order to force the game into overtime, the first coming after the Engineers scored shorthanded.
A block at the blue line saw Jim Henkel break away with the puck; his initial shot was blocked by Mike Gilhooly, but the rebound wound up sitting the slot and Andrew McPherson came in to poke the puck into the net for the 1-0 lead in the second period.
The Huskies would tie it in the third when Graig Mischler scored. Rich Spiller fed the puck into the slot, and Mischler, skating through with a defenseman on him, managed to get enough wood on it to put the shot past Marsters.
The Engineers would regain the lead less than three minutes later. Francois Senez took a hard shot from the blue line that deflected off Carson Butterwick’s skate and wide of the net, and the puck wound up hitting the backboards and bounced back out in front on the other side. There, Matt Murley backhanded it past a surprised Gilhooly.
The Huskies came back to tie the game at 2-2 when Ryan took a shot from the left boards that eluded Marsters.
The Engineers continued to put the pressure on, but couldn’t break Gilhooly. Gilhooly helped send his team to overtime when he stoned a mini three-on-one in front, somehow stuffing a Jim Vickers shot with under three minutes to go in the third period.
“He is really playing well,” said Husky coach Bruce Crowder. “These last four games have been excellent and he was equal to the task. For the last month and a half we thought he wasn’t playing with confidence, and he wasn’t cocky. Any goaltender that I’ve ever dealt with that has been successful has been cocky and aggressive.”
The Engineers (8-4-1) will host Notre Dame in the consolation game on Saturday afternoon.
“It was (frustrating) and a good game,” said Fridgen. “But I thought we handed it to them.
“No matter whether it’s the 50th or the 10th, it’s disappointing to not be in the finals. This is something we had a set a goal for, separate from our season goals, and it’s disappointing and frustrating that we can’t accomplish that, but you have to move on.”
The Huskies (7-6-3) will play St. Lawrence for the tournament championship on Saturday evening.
“This was a very big win,” said Crowder. “We’re trying to find a little bit of identity for ourselves. The last three games we played extremely well and to come in here in this type of environment, it’s a big win.
“The (RPI) kids were a little more tense. RPI was in their building and in overtime, and we had nothing to lose. A lot of guys were pretty loose, and we wanted to play with emotion.
“When we got to overtime I liked our chances.”