TROY, N.Y. — There was a little bit of consolation for the Rensselaer Engineers on Saturday afternoon at the Houston Fieldhouse. The Engineers broke a scoreless tie in the second period with two goals and held off the Providence Friars for a 3-2 win to finish third in the Bank of America/Rensselaer Holiday Hockey Tournament.
After a 3-2 loss the evening before to Holy Cross, the Engineers were hoping not to finish last in their own tournament for the third time in the last four years.
“It was disappointing and frustrating not to be in the championship game of your own tournament, but I thought we handled it real well and showed great character in coming back and getting the job done and playing a solid 60-minute hockey game,” said Engineer head coach Dan Fridgen.
Neither team looked like it wanted to play in a consolation, and it showed in the first period with tentative play and little action.
That changed in the second period as the Engineers opened the scoring with a quick strike up-ice. Scott Romfo pushed a pass up to Andrew Lord, who carried into the Providence zone and found a streaking Chris Hussey. All Hussey had to do was put his stick out for a redirection past Tyler Sims, and he did exactly what he had to give the Engineers the 1-0 lead.
The Engineers quickly made it 2-0 on a great individual effort by Brad Farynuk. As the puck was about to be cleared by Providence, Farynuk intercepted it at the blueline, used his right arm to shield himself from the defender and make a quick pass to Oren Eizenman. Eizenman one-timed the puck over the left shoulder of Sims.
Providence, though, scored at the beginning of the third period cut the lead to 2-1. On the power play the Friars moved the puck efficiently for a Torry Gajda goal, but the Engineers came back with a power-play goal of their own to restore the two-goal edge.
Jonathan Ornelas entered the zone and find a streaking Andrew Lord, and Lord redirected the puck between the legs of Sims for the 3-1 lead. It was Lord’s first goal of the year, and his first points since the second game of the season. He sat out Friday night’s game against Holy Cross.
“I was a little apprehensive at first, but then decided to make that move,” said Fridgen about putting Lord on the power play. “It certainly worked out for the best.”
“It was just (Ornelas) making a nice play in getting the pass over to me,” said Lord. “I got it five-hole and found the space.”
The power-play goal was the first for RPI since one against Princeton — four games ago. In that stretch, the Engineers were 0-for-19. Saturday they were 1-for-7, while Providence was 1-for-3.
The Friars brought the game closer in the waning minutes of the game with an extra-attacker goal. Working from the corner, the puck was put to the left of Lange where Jamie Carroll managed to work it to Nick Mazzolini. He trickled it past Lange in the mad scramble with 1:27 left to play.
But the Engineers held off the Friars in the last minute as Lange had to make a few good saves from in deep to claim third place.
Lange finished the day with 25 saves, 12 in the third period, while Sims had 22 saves.
Providence (6-6-1) will host Maine and Brown next weekend while the Engineers (7-5-3) host Sacred Heart on Friday.