TROY, N.Y. — Princeton scored five times in a span of 8:41 to take a 5-1 lead and defeat Rensselaer, 5-2, to move past the Engineers in the standings.
The first period saw the Engineers on their heels in allowing four power plays to Princeton, but the Engineers played strong. They allowed only four total shots, and only one on the four power plays, while getting 12 shots of their own.
In the second period Brad Farynuk fired a hard shot from the blueline past Princeton goaltender Eric Leroux to give the Engineers the 1-0 lead, but the Tigers answered with five tallies in the span of 8:41 to take a 5-1 lead after two periods of play.
Dustin Sproat, Mark Masters and Luc Paquin scored — Paquin’s chasing Engineer goaltender Andrew Martin — and Neil Stevenson-Moore scored twice, his second coming against Jordan Alford.
Sproat jammed in a rebound past Martin 46 seconds after Farynuk scored and 1:46 later Masters fired a shot that eluded Martin. 1:37 later Stevenson-Moore scored on a rebound out front and that was followed by a wristshot from 40 feet out by Paquin, which spelled the end of the night for Martin. Stevenson-Moore deflected a shot by Mike Moore past Alford for the fifth Princeton goal.
“We weren’t very happy with what we did in the first, and some of the guys challenged themselves,” said Princeton head coach Guy Gadowsky. “We came out, got a couple of lucky ones and rolled from there.”
The third period belonged to the Engineers, but they only managed to score once.
Kevin Croxton made it 5-2 on a nice transition play up ice. Oren Eizenman took the puck up ice, sent it over to Jake Luthi. His backpass was one-timed by Croxton past Leroux. Croxton’s goal was his first goal since November 19 when he scored against Yale. He had gone 22 games without one.
Leroux made 30 saves for the win while Martin made eight saves and Alford nine in relief.
“There’s not much you can say about those eight or nine minutes,” said Engineer coach Dan Fridgen. “I thought we started off well, allowed four power plays and four shots and then they get five goals on 12. That, I can’t explain.”
The loss, combined with Union’s win tonight over Yale, means that RPI will finish 11th in the ECAC for the second time in three years and also have a 20-loss regular season for the second time in three years. The Engineers are locked into their playoff matchup as they will travel to Brown for next week’s first round ECAC playoff series.
Meanwhile Princeton will finish 10th, but their playoff opponent is to be determined. They will either be on the road against St. Lawrence, Union or Clarkson.