TROY, N.Y. — The Rensselaer Engineers never trailed and held off the Brown Bears, 4-2, to inch closer to a home ice position in the ECAC playoffs.
The Engineers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, made it 3-1 in the second period and sealed the win with an empty-net goal.
“We did a real good job of blocking shots and playing solid defense in our own end,” said Engineer coach Dan Fridgen. “[Brown is] a much better team than their record indicates. They’ve got nothing to lose right now and we were the ones in a situation where we had to get a victory and that’s a tough game to play and our guys got it done and that’s a credit to them after a tough loss last night.”
Brown coach Roger Grillo, whose team has no chance for the playoffs, said the loss struck a similar theme.
“It’s been our whole season tonight, right there,” he said. “We played well, created chances and struggled to put it home. We had some good chances and we hit a couple of posts. It’s frustrating but the guys are working hard and we’re seeing some good things and that’s what we’re looking at right now.”
The Engineers jumped out to a 1-0 lead on the power play when a Danny Eberly point shot was deflected by Carson Butterwick. The puck wound up between the legs of Brian Eklund and trickled through, where Jim Henkel finished the momentum into the net.
The lead went to two goals when Chris Migliore absorbed a huge hit along the boards, recovered and took the puck, before snapping off a wrister that got by Eklund for the 2-0 lead.
At that point Eklund was pulled for Yann Danis and the Bears recovered to cut the lead to one goal. Matt Kohansky rushed the puck up ice, crashed the net and his shot was blocked by Nathan Marsters. Paul Esdale was following the play and poked the idle puck into the net.
In the second period, on a four-on-four situation, Jim Vickers softly wristed one towards the net that Danis never saw and made it 3-1.
The Bears got that goal back when Nick Ringstad won a faceoff to Scott Ford. Ford’s shot from the point was deflected by Ringstad past Marsters to make it 3-2.
It stayed that way until Henkel put one into an empty net with 10 seconds left.
The Bears (4-20-3, 2-15-3 ECAC) will host Yale and Princeton next week to close out their season.
“We’re a young club that has to continue to grow and get better and get some of the young guys some experience and focus on finishing this season out with pride,” said Grillo. “Play hard and hopefully get a couple of wins at home next weekend and look to the future.”
The Engineers (15-13-2, 9-9-2 ECAC) are still tied for sixth place in the ECAC, but are now closer to home ice in the playoffs, trailing Dartmouth by two points, and Cornell and Harvard by three points.
“You want to be playing for that, and that’s something that we have been shooting for,” said Fridgen about home ice. “It’s more important that we concentrate on what’s at hand.”