TROY, N.Y. — It took until overtime of the last home game of the regular season but Kevin Croxton scored his 100th point for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Croxton’s 100th point of his career was a goal to give RPI a 3-2 win over Yale on Senior Night.
Yale took a too many men on the ice penalty with 1:28 remaining in the overtime period and the ninth Engineer power play of the evening provided Croxton’s goal. With only 15.1 seconds left in the overtime, Kirk MacDonald sent a shot towards the net which kicked out towards Croxton. Croxton kept the shot low as Yale goalie Matt Modelski was out of position and scored his second of the weekend for the win.
It might not have gotten to that point had the ice not been worn down from the previous 24 minutes of play. The puck bounced over the stick of Jeff Hristovski as he prepared to take a shot into the open net. That bounce led to the Engineer break up ice.
“I couldn’t have written it any better,” said Croxton. “It’s a good way to get momentum to head into the playoffs next weekend, it was great for our seniors and for our fans.”
“It’s interesting how the game breaks like that,” said Engineer coach Dan Fridgen. “You have two teams that through the course of the season haven’t gotten the bounces. Before we scored [Yale] had a perfect opportunity to score and the puck bounced on them and we go the other way and score. It’s always a matter of bounces and tonight, we got the bounce.”
The Engineers honored their seven seniors, but it was underclassmen that did the scoring for them tonight. The Engineers on the board first with a three-on-two down low. Blake Pickett pinched deep, fed Kirk MacDonald, who’s rebound was cashed in by freshman Jonathan Ornelas.
Yale tied it up with a power-play goal later in the first period. Joe Zappala sent a cross-ice pass through the slot to a waiting Jeff Hristovski. With Engineer goaltender Andrew Martin out of position because of the pass, Hristovski had an empty net for the goal.
In the second period Yale took the lead when Nate Jackson backhanded one up and over Martin, but the Engineers leveled it in the third period on the power play. Matt McNeely put the puck in the corner where Oren Eizenman made a few dekes and deftly put a pass across the goal mouth to Kevin Broad. The sophomore one-timed it past Modelski.
With both teams locked in the ECACHL standings, RPI in 11th place and Yale in 12th place, and knowing where they were headed next weekend — RPI to Brown and Yale to Dartmouth — there wasn’t much left to play for.
“When you look at the standings and that our playoff positions were all set, that’s what you’re playing for — pride,” said Fridgen. “And that’s what we did, and to send our seniors off the right way.”