LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — It’s the game that no one wants to play, but it takes place. The ECAC consolation had no implications in terms of advancement for the Clarkson Golden Knights or the Rensselaer Engineers, but it always has one implication.
“There aren’t many people that can win their last game as a senior,” said Engineer Matt Murley. “We wanted to win it for our team, our coach and our fans.”
Clarksons’ seniors felt the same way, and in essence the consolation had that effect.
The other thing on the line was Rensselaer’s possible 20-win season.
The Engineers accomplished their goals for the afternoon with a come-from-behind 4-3 win as Murley scored with 32 seconds left in the game on the power play.
“We ran a faceoff play and I just looked for the shooting lane,” said Murley. “The kid wasn’t in it, so I took the shot and I got a lucky one.”
Murley took the shot from the blue line and put it past Knight goaltender Mike Walsh as Ian Manzano sat in the penalty box for hooking.
“In dramatic fashion we got another come-from-behind win in a special-teams situation,” said Engineer head coach Dan Fridgen.
The Golden Knights took the lead on a power play when David Evans took a slapshot from the point that was deflected by Tristan Lush between the legs of Nathan Marsters.
The Knights made it 2-0 when Matt Poapst took a feed from Randy Jones and found an open net on the back door as another Engineer penalty expired.
The Engineers cut the deficit to 2-1 when Matt Murley found a loose puck near Mike Walsh and poked it home, but the lead went to 3-1 on the power play when Randy Jones’ slapshot from the point through a screen eluded Marsters.
The Knights took the 3-1 lead into the third period but were beset by penalty problems. Chris Blight went off for holding and the ensuing power play saw ECAC Player of the Year Marc Cavosie score to draw the Engineers within one again.
Adam Campana then took a costly penalty for the Knights as he knocked down Murley behind the net, then sticked him in the face. That drew a two-minute minor and a five-minute major plus a game disqualification for Campana.
“I don’t know what he was thinking,” said Murley. “But it fired me up and it got me going.”
“We played a pretty good game until one player took matters into his own hands and that boiled down to lack of discipline,” said Knight head coach Mark Morris.
On the ensuing power play, Nolan Graham found a rebound and put it past Walsh to tie the game at three. It stayed that way until Murley won it with 32 seconds left, capping his four-year career at Rensselaer
The Knights finished the season at 17-15-6.
“This season it just didn’t gel the way we thought it would,” said Morris. “I feel really bad for these guys (the seniors), they played really well and they’re outstanding student athletes and they deserve a better end to their careers.
“There have been a lot of hard lessons during the season and a lot we are learning.”
The Engineers got the result they aimed for, finishing at 20-13-4 to give the Engineer senior class three 20-win seasons.
“It was one of the years where we struggled at times, but we turned it around and it’s a credit to the seniors on this team,” said Fridgen.