TROY, N.Y. — Perhaps it was a little bit of Freakout magic at the Houston Fieldhouse on
Saturday evening. Perhaps it was luck, but whatever it was, a sold-out crowd of 5,117 saw the Rensselaer Engineers erase a 3-0 Clarkson lead and win the game in overtime on a Carson Butterwick goal, 4-3.
“They didn’t throw in the towel, they didn’t give it up,” said Engineer head coach Dan Fridgen. “We had opportunities but we just kept coming at them and it paid off and they understand how hard it is to come back and then the momentum was with us in overtime and it was a great play by Carson.”
In overtime, right after Clarkson killed off a penalty, the Engineers came
in two-on-one. The defenseman went to Jim Henkel, and that left Butterwick open. He snapped one from the slot over the left shoulder of Mike Walsh to create pandemonium in the Fieldhouse.
“It hit my stick and it went to Henkel, and then the puck came back to me,” said Butterwick. “I was just so surprised and got away from the other defenseman and found the glove side.
“That had to be one of the most emotional games I have ever played in my life. They outplayed us and they outscored us and it was just incredible. We never had a thought in the back of our mind that we weren’t going to win it.”
The Engineers were down 3-0 after two periods of play after Kevin O’Flaherty scored on the power play in the first period on a backdoor feed from Kerry Ellis-Toddington and then Joe Carosa broke through the Engineer defense to break in alone on Nathan Marsters to tuck one under him. The third Clarkson goal came when Ellis-Toddington blasted one from center point on the power play in the second.
Clarkson looked to be in firm control as the Knights controlled play and Mike Walsh was standing tall in goal, making several spectacular saves and getting plenty of help from his posts. The Knights looked to take total control of the game as Ryan Shield was whistled for a major penalty for a hit from behind and the Knights went on a five-minute major power play.
During that power play, Jay Latulippe took down Marc Cavosie and created a four-on-four. During that four-on-four, the Engineers stole the puck and Conrad Barnes found Cavosie and brought the Engineers to within two goals.
With 4:18 to go in the third period Cavosie worked magic behind the net and took a loose puck and hit a cutting Henkel. Henkel quickly shoveled it towards the net and it slid under a surprised Walsh.
The Engineers tied the game with an extra attacker with 58 seconds remaining in regulation. Conrad Barnes won the faceoff, and Jim Vickers sent the puck to Cavosie. Cavosie wound up and fired it top shelf over
Walsh to tie the game at 3-3.
“It’s really tough to score off a faceoff,” said Cavosie. “It took everything, I got a pick and none of it happens if it all happens. I just happened to be the one pulling the trigger.”
“You can draw up all the faceoff plays and all the systems in the world, but it comes down to execution. They executed and they earned that comeback win and deserve all the credit,” said Fridgen. “They didn’t panic and we knew that if we got one we could just keep chipping away. We executed well in that third period.
“We threw everything but the kitchen sink, we were getting good opportunities but we weren’t capitalizing. It was just a matter of time, it was going to be a matter of time or it wasn’t going to happen. The turning point was killing off the five minute major and not giving anything and getting one. That was a momentum changer.”
Clarkson (11-11-6, 7-4-5 ECAC) grabbed one point on the weekend with the tie at Union and are in sole possession of third place in the ECAC. The Knights will host Harvard and Brown next weekend.
The Engineers (12-10-4, 6-7-3 ECAC) move into a sixth place tie with Union in the ECAC and have now taken nine points in the last three ECAC weekends, going 4-1-1 and will head to Princeton and Yale next weekend.
The Engineers took their first four-point weekend at home since December of 1999 with the win over Clarkson and the previous night’s win over St. Lawrence. The win over Clarkson also gave the Engineers an 8-0-4 record in their last 12 Big Red Freakouts.
“It’s my last Freakout and we’ll never play in an environment like this again,” said Henkel. “The fans here love to see us play and it’s sweeter when you beat a top team. We were down and we didn’t quit.”
“We’ve believed in ourselves all along,” said Fridgen. “We’ve concentrated on the process and there have been times when we haven’t had it and we appreciate the fans sticking with us.”
“We were down 3-0 and it says a lot about the character of the team and we just kept plugging away,” said Cavosie. “After the major we just kept plugging away.”