TROY, N.Y. — If it wasn’t for Mike Fraser, the Rensselaer Engineers would have beaten the Iona Gaels by more than a 3-1 margin. The Gael netminder made 45 saves on the evening, and at least a dozen of them were of the odd-man variety. Fraser was all over the place, but he couldn’t hold the Engineer off the board in the third period as the Engineers broke a 1-1 tie with two goals to win the game.
“We were happy to get him into the game tonight as I’ve been shuffling goaltenders in and out,” said Iona head coach Frank Bretti. “Galenza has had the majority of the shots, and it was time to get Mike in there for some shots.”
“He played an outstanding game for them,” said Engineer head coach Dan Fridgen. “We threw everything we could at him and we got some traffic in front of him and finally broke the bubble. I thought we dominated as far as the shots were concerned and he stood tall. It could have been 8-1, or 9-1.”
Fraser kept the Gaels in the game, but wasn’t able to keep the game tied at one in the third period. On the power play, Andrew McPherson took a Steve Munn pass into the Iona zone and left a drop pass for Marc Cavosie, who snapped it past Fraser’s glove to give the Engineers the 2-1 lead.
Soon thereafter, the Engineers came down on a two-on-one and Jim Henkel sent the puck over to Nick Economakas, who waited for Fraser to go down and then roofed it for the 3-1 lead to seal the win.
“He showed a lot of poise there for a freshman,” said Fridgen of Economakas’ goal. “He was poised enough until the goaltender went down and those are the type of goals where instinct takes over. The goalie went down, and he went up top. I hope that’s one of many for him.”
Iona got on the board first in the first period when Brent Williams took a quick snapshot that eluded Nathan Marsters for the lead.
With less than a minute to play in the first, Scott Basiuk’s point shot was deflected by Ryan Shields to tie the game.
“The goal is to come out and score the first goal and to settle the nerves a little bit,” said Bretti. “It’s always good to see freshmen perform like that and what’s too bad is that we had a couple of power play opportunities after that and we just were a little disorganized and you knew RPI, with the type of firepower they had, was going to come back, but that’s just the way it is.”
Iona (5-4-1, 5-2-1 MAAC) will travel to Findlay for a pair of games next weekend, while the Engineers (4-4-0, 1-1-0 ECAC) will get back into ECAC play hosting Union next week.
“This is our second game against an ECAC opponent and we were ahead in the third period in that game against Colgate and our guys were down after the game,” said Bretti. “You want to get out there and get over the hump and win these kinds of games.
“I told our guys to keep their heads up and keep things in perspective. We need to play these games to get better and we’re getting close, but we just couldn’t get over the hump tonight and we have a couple of more opportunities.”
Said Fridgen, “To get back to .500 was very important. We outshot our opponent, so that was a good job from a team perspective and I thought overall, we kept four lines rolling all the way through.”