TROY, N.Y. — Rensselaer tied the game late in regulation and Mathias Lange stopped four
of five shots in the shootout and the No. 16 Engineers advanced to the
finals of the 57th Annual Rensselaer Holiday Hockey Tournament, defeating
AIC, 2-1, in a shootout.
RPI freshman Tyler Helfrich scored the deciding goal in the shootout and
the Engineers move on to face ninth ranked Notre Dame in Saturday’s
championship game (7:15 p.m.).
Officially a 1-1 tie, Rensselaer is now 6-3-3 overall (1-1-2 ECAC Hockey),
while the Yellow Jackets go to 2-5-2 (2-4-1 Atlantic Hockey).
The Engineers, who trailed for much of the game, tied it with 3:19
remaining in the third period when sophomore Paul Kerins found a rebound
and snuck a shot past AIC junior goaltender Tom Fenton for the equalizer.
Sophomore Peter Merth, who took a shot from the point, had the first
assist while the secondary helper was credited to Andrei Uryadov.
The Yellow Jackets, who saw Fenton make 45 saves, earned the lead with
just two seconds remaining in the opening stanza when senior forward Greg
Genovese beat Lange five-hole. Genovese took a pass from Chad Richardson,
who intercepted a Rensselaer clearing attempt at the blue line and skated
in alone before dishing the puck to Genovese.
Despite the Engineers carrying much of the play and out-shooting AIC 15-9
in the first period, they trailed the Yellow Jackets going into
intermission. The story was much of the same in the second period as RPI
held a 17-11 edge in shots in the second, giving it a 32-20 advantage
through two periods of play. The Engineers outshot AIC 11-7 in the third
Uryadov and Helfrich scored in the shootout for Rensselaer, while Mike
McMillan notched the only shootout tally for AIC. Lange made the save on
the fifth AIC shooter, Mark Pavli, to seal the 2-1 shootout win.
Lange finished with 26 saves and runs his record 2-2-2 on the year, while
Fenton stopped 15 shots in the first period, 17 in the second, 10 in the
third and three in overtime and is now 0-4-1.
“It’s a win, not the way we wanted it, but it’s still a win,” said
Engineer head coach Seth Appert. “I thought we played well and I thought
AIC played real smart and their goaltender was fantastic.”
The tie was AIC’s very first non-loss to a ranked opponent in the
program’s history since entering the Division I ranks.
While Rensselaer plays Notre Dame, AIC plays Alabama-Huntsville at 4pm in
the third-place game. The Irish defeated the Chargers, 4-1.