TROY, N.Y. — Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute did to Colgate on Friday what the Raiders did to the Engineers back on Dec. 2 at Starr Rink.
After spotting Colgate a 2-0 first-period lead, RPI rallied with three goals, the last by Matt Angers-Goulet with 1:40 left in overtime, to take a 3-2 ECACHL victory on Ned Harkness Night at Houston Field House.
In the last meeting in Hamilton, RPI had a 2-0 lead early in the second period. But Colgate scored three times in the second to pull out a 3-2 win.
The come-from behind victory moved RPI (5-8-4 ECACHL, 9-13-7 overall) from an 11th-place tie with Union to a tie for eighth with Princeton for the final first-round home-ice playoff spot.
Harkness, who coached RPI from 1949 to 1963, was inducted into the RPI Hockey Ring of Honor after the first period. It wasn’t a period that made RPI coach Seth Appert very happy. The only saving RPI from having a disastrous period was Kirk MacDonald scoring with 1:06 left.
“We didn’t start the game off the way we wanted to,” Appert said. “To be honest, I was embarrassed by that first period. That was not good enough intensity wise. Colgate out-competed us in a number of different areas. And especially on a night that means so much to our program with Ned Harkness being honored and being back in this building, with all the things he stands for, that wasn’t good enough.”
“I’m very proud of the way our team responded. That’s not a recipe for success at this time of the season, and we need to make adjustments to that. But at the same time, that was a great response in the second and third period.”
The comeback started with goalie Mathias Lange stopping all 21 shots he faced over the final 43:20. Lange made several saves on odd-man rushes.
His biggest stop came on a penalty shot by Jason Williams with 12:06 left in the third. The Raiders were in the final stages of killing an RPI power play when Williams broke in alone on Lange. Jake Morissette hauled Williams down, setting the stage for the penalty shot.
Williams fired a wrist shot, but Lange got his right pad on it and knocked it into the left-wing corner.
“The ice was pretty bad for him,” Lange said. “[The puck] just rolled a bit. He took a shot. It just came straight at me pretty much. I just stood there.”
Angers-Goulet tied the score with 11:57 left in the second period on a power-play goal, one-timing a cross-ice pass from Jonathan Ornelas and beating goalie Mark Dekanich from the left circle.
On the game-winner, Reed Kipp sent the puck around the boards up to Ornelas. He sent up the ice, and it started to bounce.
Angers-Goulet pushed the bouncing puck between the legs of Colgate defenseman Jason Fredricks at the Raiders’ blue line. He then broke in on Dekanich, and fired a quick wrist shot between his pads to cap the comeback victory.
“Jonny chipped in up,” said Angers-Goulet, who leads the team with nine goals. “I got a good bounce. I chipped it through him. I had a lot of speed. I just went on the goalie, and I went five hole.”
Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, NY