TROY, N.Y. — It was almost dj vu for Rensselaer: the Engineers trail by a goal, only to come back and tie the game heading into the third period. In the third the Engineers score the only goal to win by one.
It happened on Friday night as the Engineers beat No. 5 St. Cloud, 3-2, and it happened again Saturday. The Engineers got the lone goal of the third period off the stick of Kevin Croxton, breaking a tie game to win, 2-1, and sweep the Huskies.
“The guys in that locker room deserve a lot of credit,” said Engineer head coach Dan Fridgen. “This is one of the best weekends I’ve seen out of an RPI team in a long time. They’re to be commended because both nights it was a total team effort by doing the little things necessary to be successful.”
The Engineers went on the power play midway through the third period when St. Cloud was called for too many men on the ice. Tim Boron, getting his first start in net, fired the puck up ice as St. Cloud was changing and it was called by the referee.
On the ensuing power play, Croxton fired the puck from the bottom of the circle to Boron’s right. The puck went behind Boron and as he reached back, his stick struck the puck and it went into the net.
The Engineers held on in the waning moments with some good work in the Husky zone. With time winding down and Boron waiting to get off the ice for an extra attacker, the Engineers pinned the puck deep, killing over a minute before St. Cloud could get to the puck and try to mount an attack for the tying goal.
“We did a good job at the end of the time killing the time off of the clock, and prevented them from getting the goaltender out and that’s nothing but hard work,” said Fridgen. “You got a guy like Kevin Broad doing it and a guy like Croxton doing it, who would love to take it to the net, and he’s doing what needs to be done for the sake of the team. If we keep playing like that, it’s real good to see.”
The Huskies got on the board first with a power-play goal. Great passing led to the puck on Mike Doyle’s stick. Doyle went up high from Marsters’ right and found a hole up top for the 1-0 lead.
The Engineers would tie the game in the second period on a Matt McNeely goal that looked like a carbon copy of his goal against Dartmouth a week ago. After a Conrad Barnes faceoff win, McNeely took the puck down the boards and cut in front of Boron. He went to the backhand and put it past a moving Boron, who was trying to go from left to right.
The game went into the third period tied at 1-1, but the Huskies thought they had broken the tie as Doyle put the puck in the net with Engineer Ryan Shields all over him. But the goal was waved off when a Husky was found to have been in the crease.
The Engineers got the power play shortly thereafter and Croxton scored the game-winner.
The Huskies have now lost three in a row after starting the season 8-0-1. In the Huskies’ last four games, they have scored a total of six goals.
“RPI worked really, really hard and deserved the bounces they got and we didn’t,” said Husky head coach Craig Dahl. “It wasn’t that we didn’t work hard, but we didn’t get the bounces that we’ve been getting. We can’t score to save our lives.”
The Huskies will head home to take on Alaska Anchorage next weekend.
“When you lose, you can probably learn a little bit more than you can [when you] win, because it’s sort of like a slap in the face,” said Dahl. “We know we have to work on a lot of areas and some of the little things, because they mean a lot.”
The Engineers (6-3-2) are now 6-1-2 in their last nine games and will face another top-five team next weekend when they travel to New Hampshire on Saturday after a Friday game at Mass.-Lowell.
Said Fridgen of the recent play of the Engineers, “What you have is 27 guys committed to doing it, and that’s the difference right there.”