POTSDAM, N.Y. — Rarely do you see a five-on-three power play in overtime. But Friday night, the Rensselaer Engineers got one and took advantage as Ben Barr scored the game-winner to give the Engineers a 4-3 win over Clarkson in the ECAC opener for both squads.
The Engineers had just allowed a tying power-play goal to Clarkson when Matt Nickerson took a hitting-from-behind penalty with 59 seconds left in the third period. Then, halfway into overtime, Trevor Edwards picked Barr to the side of Dustin Traylen and was called for interference, creating the five-on-three.
The Engineers took advantage 15 seconds later. Scott Basiuk pushed the puck deep and Oren Eizenman tried the wraparound. The puck squirted away from Traylen and Barr popped it into the open net for the game-winner.
“The puck just squirted through there,” said Barr. “I got lucky. I just snuck my way in there, saw the rolling puck and just poked it in there.”
“We just banged one in,” said Engineer head coach Dan Fridgen. “That’s 90 percent of the goals that you’re going to get on the power play.
“I told them during the timeout (before the five-on-three) that the ice was pretty bad: no home-run passes, keep the passes short and take some shots.”
Clarkson was livid after the winning goal, while the Engineers were pleased.
“The officiating, it certainly wasn’t good tonight, but it went both ways,” said Clarkson head coach George Roll. “We got outplayed tonight. They wanted it worse, they worked harder than we did and they competed.
“The better team won tonight, they deserved it.”
“I thought that was the right call out there,” said Fridgen. “I thought we did a good job the whole game of staying with it, battling back, and I thought we pretty much dominated play and I’m thankful we have something to show for that.”
Clarkson had tied the game at 3-3 with 2:22 left as Nickerson snuck in from the point and snapped a loose puck past Nathan Marsters.
Earlier in the third period the Engineers had come back from a 2-1 deficit to take a 3-2 lead as Kevin Croxton scored his first of the season. Croxton came out in front of Traylen, and on the third attempt snuck it in short-side.
Just 1:05 later Kirk MacDonald found himself with the puck in the high slot and snapped it past Traylen to give the Engineers the lead.
Clarkson got on the board first on the power play. Crisp passing behind the net left Jean Desrochers alone in front, and off a feed from Jay Latulippe he one-timed it past Marsters for the goal.
Clarkson had a chance to make it 2-0 as Chris Blight broke in shorthanded and was hooked by Barr. Referee Scott Hansen called for a penalty shot, but Blight was stopped by Marsters’ left pad.
“I think he might have taken too much time,” said Marsters. “He got in pretty close and I was able to pokecheck. I’ll take it.”
“He came up big for us in the pipes,” said Fridgen of Marsters. “That certainly gave him a lot of confidence, stopping a good guy like that.”
The Engineers tied the game with 27 seconds left in the first period as Cody Wojdyla found Conrad Barnes alone in front and the one-timer was put past Dustin Traylen.
It only took 28 seconds of the second period for Clarkson to take the 2-1 lead. After Clarkson dumped the puck in while down a man, Marsters misplayed it and it squirted out front. Before he could recover, Blight tapped it past him to give the Golden Knights the shorthanded goal and the lead.
“They do a real good job of killing penalties; they’re aggressive, especially when they need one,” said Fridgen.
“We showed flashes tonight,” said Roll. “But we were undisciplined and it cost us the game tonight.”
“It’s a different team and a different attitude from these guys,” said Fridgen. “They just go out and work hard and let everything take care of itself. We had to play a smart road game, especially in here.
“It wasn’t anything that was handed to us, it was earned, right from the drop of the puck.”
The Engineers (3-2-1) travel to St. Lawrence Saturday evening while the Golden Knights (3-2-2) host Union.