TROY, N.Y. — Black Friday was a tradition started three years ago at Rensselaer. It’s the first home Friday of the ECACHL season and the Engineers don one-time only black jerseys which are auctioned off during the game.
The Engineers had yet to lose on Black Friday, and Friday was no exception as Kevin Croxton scored 26 seconds after Quinnipiac had tied the game at two in the second period and Jonathan Ornelas added a fourth goal for the 4-2 victory for the Engineers.
The Engineers went to 3-0 on Black Friday and in the process broke Quinnipiac’s eight-game winning streak.
Right after Quinnipiac had scored to tie the game at 2-2, the Engineers came right back down the ice and Brad Farynuk dished a puck to Croxton who put it right past Bud Fisher.
Early in the third period Croxton’s line combined to make it 4-2. Croxton took the puck deep, fed it out front to Oren Eizenman. Eizenman’s shot was wide, but Ornelas corralled it and caught Fisher out of position for the goal.
After that the Engineers survived the Bobcat attack, which include three power-play opportunities. Overall the Engineers put themselves down a man nine times, two of which resulted in Bobcat goals.
“We played our game and played real hard,” said Engineer head coach Dan Fridgen. “But, I can’t emphasis enough that we relied too much on our penalty killers.
“We got the jump on them and then they got some power plays and I thought for a team as good as they are on the power play, we put them on it too much. Against a team that’s as good as they are on that power play, it puts too much pressure on the goaltender, who should be the best penalty killer that you have, and it was great that Mathias (Lange) was.”
Lange wound up with 31 saves on the evening, including 10 in the third period.
The Engineers never trailed in the game as they opened up with a goal from Tommy Green. Chris Hussey’s pass to a streaking Green saw him redirect it past Fisher.
But Quinnipiac tied it up on the power play with quick passing within the umbrella it had created in the high slot. Brian Leitch was the recipient of two good quick passes from Reid Cashman and Jamie Bates. Leitch’s quick one-timer quickly got past Lange.
After that, the Bobcats buzzed and buzzed, but could not put another one past Lange in the first period, despite getting 16 shots off.
“The big thing for us was that we had a lot of scoring chance in the first period, but Lange was great,” said Bobcat head coach Rand Pecknold. “We could have scored four or five goals in the first period, but we only got one.”
The Engineers retook the lead in the second period as Brad Farynuk fired a shot from the point on the power play which Fisher never saw because of a screen, but Quinnipiac tied it up as David Marshall stole the puck from behind Lange on the power play, came out in front and beat him.
“We didn’t finish our chances and we didn’t play well defensively,” said Pecknold. “We need to back up and play the way we did the first 10 games of the year. We gave up more odd-man rushes tonight than we did the first 10 games. We started running around and forgot what we need to do to be successful. We need to play good defense.”
RPI (5-4-1, 1-1-1 ECACHL) will host Princeton on Saturday while Quinnipiac (8-3-0, 2-1-0 ECACHL) will travel to Union.