ITHACA, N.Y. — Home ice is dependent upon two things for the Rensselaer Engineers. They have to defeat Colgate on Saturday night and they have to root for crosstown rival Union to beat Cornell.
If that happens, the Engineers would wind up in fifth place in the ECAC, all because of a 2-1 victory over the Cornell Big Red on Friday evening.
“Right now I am focusing on Saturday and not the standings ” said coach Dan Fridgen. “I’m more concerned with us taking care of our own business and we’ll talk about this on Sunday.”
The Engineers won the game in the third period on the power play. As Matt Murley took the puck out towards the blue line, Carson Butterwick provided a screen on Big Red goaltender Matt Underhill. Murley wound up and took a hard, rising shot that went through everyone and into the back of the net to give the Engineers the 2-1 lead.
“I finally buried one,” said Murley. “It’s been a long time since I’ve scored. It was a pretty good screen as Carson got his big body in front.”
The Big Red took the lead in the first period when they cycled the puck out of the corner and converted defenseman Larry Pierce took a snap shot. Nathan Marsters had gone to his knee and the puck went over his left shoulder for the score.
A little bit of controversy ended the first period. Eric Cavosie sent the puck towards Underhill, and as he as being checked by a Cornell defender went into Underhill. As the three moved, the puck appeared to go over the red line, but the referees and the goal judge did not think so.
In the second period the Engineers got one that counted. Conrad Barnes’ lead pass to Matt Murley was quickly shuffled over to Jim Henkel. Henkel broke through two Big Red defenseman and as he converged on Underhill, he roofed one that went just under the crossbar to tie the game, 1-1.
The Engineers then scored the lone goal of the third period to win.
“The first one, that was a heck of a shot, that was a goalscorer’s goal,” said Big Red coach Mike Schafer. “Then they score a goal on the power play. We have the best penalty killing team in the league and they score from the blueline. That’s a frustrating aspect.”
“Regardless of where the standings fall, this is a huge win,” said Fridgen. “We did a good job defensively, and they had their chances, but Nathan Marsters was there. We proved to ourselves that we can have confidence going into a visiting team’s building and be victorious.”
While the Engineers were winning, Cornell is in the middle of a freefall that began the week after it got to the top of the ECAC standings. Since a 2-1 win at Harvard which put the Big Red into first place, they have gone 1-5-1 and are now in danger of losing home ice.
“We never thought that after tonight we would be thinking about that,” said Schafer. “But the guys know what they have to do. They’re frustrated.”