POTSDAM, N.Y. — Two goals by Oren Eizenman were not enough as the Engineers gave up a 3-2 lead on a power-play goal with 5:55 left remaining in the third period as Rensselaer and Clarkson skated to a 3-3 tie.
Eizenman had given the Engineers the 2-1 lead heading into the third period, but Clarkson’s Mike Sullivan tied the game at 2-2. Sullivan came flying off the bench as a delayed penalty was being called against the Engineers. He took a rebound and roofed it top-shelf past Mathias Lange to tie the game.
It only took Eizenman 15 seconds to give the Engineers back the lead at 3-2. He quickly took the puck down the wing off the faceoff win and rifled a shot that went over the glove of David Leggio.
But Clarkson would tie it again on the power play. David Cayer found a little bit of space and tucked it past Lange for the tie.
Clarkson had a golden opportunity to win the game with under 30 seconds left as Steve Zalewski and Shea Guthrie came down the ice on a two-on-one. Zalewski sent the puck over to his right where Guthrie received it and took a quick shot. Lange moved quickly from his right to his left and made the save.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that he saved the game for them,” said Clarkson head coach George Roll. “I don’t know how he got over to make what looked like the game-saving save.”
“Mathias the difference maker down the stretch,” said Engineer head coach Dan Fridgen. “We gave up too many odd-man rushes at the end of the game and he stood tall when he had to. He played a fantastic game.”
Lange made a total of 26 saves on the evening. His counterpart Leggio made 20 for the game.
The Engineers got on the board first with a power-play goal that exhibited some nice passing. Jake Luthi found Jake Morissette at the near boards and he quickly fed it across the crease to a waiting Jonathan Ornelas. All Ornelas had to do was tap the puck past Leggio for the goal.
The Golden Knights tied it up later in the period with a five-on-three power-play goal. With the Engineers scrambling to try to wrest the puck away, the puck found itself to Nick Dodge. Dodge took a quick slapper that avoided the right skate of Lange for the goal.
The Engineers retook the lead on another power-play goal. With Shawn Weller given a five-minute major for hitting Kevin Broad from behind, the Engineers mustered some net-crashing. As the puck bounced around in front of Leggio, Oren Eizenman got his stick on the puck as it was in the air and put it past Leggio. Clarkson argued to no avail for a high stick infraction and for the goal to not count.
The Engineers earlier had a Seth Klerer goal waved off with a high stick infraction.
Most of the game was played on special teams as a total of 21 penalties were called for 53 minutes. RPI was 2-11 on the power play while Clarkson went 2-8.
“I really didn’t think there was a lot of flow to the game except for the last minute and 30 seconds,” said Fridgen.
The Engineers are now 4-0-1 against Clarkson in the last five and have not lost at Cheel Arena in the last three years.
“Anytime you go into a visiting building and you don’t play your best game or your smartest game and come away with something,” said Fridgen. “We certainly didn’t play our best game tonight.”
“I’m certainly not happy with the tie,” said Roll. “We have to learn to play better and to play smarter that what we did tonight.”
Clarkson (4-2-1, 0-0-1 ECACHL) will host Union on Saturday night while RPI (4-3-1, 0-0-1 ECACHL) will be at St. Lawrence.
NOTE: There was another unusual twist to the game. The Visiting Team Penalty Box Attendant, John Bradshaw, was ejected from the game by referee Mike Baker after Matt Curley of Clarkson was called for a delay of the game penalty. As Baker skated to the scorer’s table to announce the penalty, it appeared as if Bradshaw said something to Baker. As a result Bradshaw began to voice his displeasure to Baker and Baker sent him off the ice.