TROY, N.Y. — Last week in Vermont, the Rensselaer Engineers took a 2-0 lead in the second period and went on to a 4-1 victory. On Saturday night, the Engineers took a 2-0 lead on Vermont in the second period, but this time, the Cats came back and tied the Engineers on Big Red Freakout night in Troy, 2-2.
Jim Henkel intercepted a cross-ice breakout pass and came in alone on Andrew Allen, deked him with the forehand and put the backhand past him for the 2-0 lead late in the second period.
But the Cats came right back on the power play to make it 2-1 after two periods of play. With the puck bouncing around in front of Engineer goaltender Nathan Marsters, the puck popped onto the stick of Patrick Sharp and he quickly slammed it past Marsters.
In the third period, another power play gave the Cats the tie. With the puck low, Jeff Miles found a pinching Oriel McHugh and his one-timer beat Marsters to the glove side.
The Engineers dominated the last six minutes of the third period and the overtime, but couldn’t put one past Allen and the game ended in a tie.
Allen and his post saved a tie for the Catamounts. Matt Murley had a wide open net, but hit the post, and then less than a minute later, Marc Cavosie was robbed by Allen’s glove from just 5 feet in front.
“We had ample opportunities to break the tie and we let them back into it with a couple of foolish penalties,” said Engineer coach Dan Fridgen. “We go on the power play and Matt had the wide open net, I don’t know what it hit or where it went, but that one should have been the stake in the heart. Then I thought we did a real good job finishing up the third period, getting plenty of opportunities and we just couldn’t bury it, and the same thing in the overtime.”
“I thought our second period was by far our best period,” said Catamounts coach Mike Gilligan. “We went into a shell and they played well in the third and they had all the opportunities to put it away and Andrew came up big, and they missed on one open net.”
The Engineers took the lead in the first period as Ryan Shields came down the left wing and blasted a shot that deflected off of Allen and behind him.
“I thought he got much better as the game went on,” said Gilligan. “I thought he, maybe, should have had that first goal, but after that he was really on and he looked like he was seeing the puck really well.”
It could have turned scary for the Cats (10-11-2, 6-7-2 ECAC), who had lost three straight overtime games. But, by holding onto the tie, Vermont moved into a tie for sixth in the league with Dartmouth, and remained two points behind fifth-place Rensselaer.
“Once we were in overtime, a lot of us were thinking the worst,” said Gilligan. “I wanted them to go for the win, and not just try to nail down the tie, but we’ll take it. On the road, with the boys we have out, it’s pretty impressive to get one point.”
The annual Big Red Freakout game at Rensselaer (13-9-2, 7-5-2 ECAC) has seen Vermont three times, and all three times, the game has ended in a tie.
“It would have been nice to win one in front of the fans from a Freakout perspective, I thought it was a real good crowd in here and I certainly would like to have Freakout every night,” said Fridgen. “It would have been nice for them to go home with a win, but I’ll take three out of four points on the weekend.”