CANTON, N.Y. — Sophomore center Chase Polacek scored his second goal of the game just nine seconds into overtime to lift Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to a wild 7-6 victory over St. Lawrence University in a ECAC Hockey game at Appleton Arena Friday night.
Polacek took the puck off the faceoff to open overtime, sped into the Saint zone and cut from the right faceoff circle across the goal mouth, beating Saint goalie Kain Tisi inside the post for the game winner and the third win in the last four games for the Engineers.
RPI seemed like it might win the game in regulation after it charged from a 5-3 deficit with three straight goals in the third period to take a 6-5 lead with 49 seconds to play. But, St. Lawrence forced the extra period when Brock McBride scored from right in front with Tisi pulled for an extra attacker with 10.9 seconds to play in regulation.
“We knew we were going to be in for a real battle with RPI,” said Saint coach Joe Marsh. “They have played a very tough schedule and are a much better team than their record. There was no backing down by either team.
“It is a tough loss to take, but it was a game of frequent momentum swings,” Marsh added. “Our line of Parenteau, DeVergilio and McKenzie had a huge night, but RPI kept coming up with big plays of its own. We are just going to have to try to regroup and see if we can get a couple of points against a tough Union team on Saturday.”
Rensselaer improves to 6-16-2 overall and 4-6-1 in ECAC play while the Saints fall to 11-10-2 overall and 3-6-2 in the league and had a four-game unbeaten streak snapped with the loss.
Things started out quietly enough as St. Lawrence had some quality scoring chances early in the game, but missed the net. The Engineers scored the only goal of the first period at 12:48 when defenseman Jeff Foss first made a good play to keep the puck in the offensive zone and then sent a shot on goal which hit Saint goalie Kain Tisi’s pad and trickled over the goal line. Brothers Matt and Alex Angers-Goulet assisted on Foss first goal of the year for the 1-0 RPI lead.
The second period was a wild one as St. Lawrence tied the game just eight seconds into the period on Mike McKenzie’s eighth of the year and took a 2-1 lead at the 1:36 mark when Jared Keller scored his fourth of the season on a power play, tucking the puck past RPI goalie Mathias Lange from close range.
Mark Zarbo re-tied the game for the Engineers when his shot from along the goal line snuck inside the far post at 2:47 and RPI took a 3-2 lead when Josh Rabbani was credited with a goal after the puck hit off the bottom of Tisis stick, flipped high in the air and looped over his shoulder and into the net at 14:11.
St. Lawrence came right back to tie again when senior defenseman Zach Miskovic scored his eighth of the season on a rebound at 19:19 and the Saints regained the lead when Kevin DeVergilio, who had a four-point night to pull within one of 100 career points, scored his fourth of the season at 16:33.
The Saints took a 5-3 lead when junior defenseman Jeff Caister scored his second of the season on a power-play shot from the center slot at 11:52 of the third, but the Engineers came storming back.
Patrick Cullen scored his eighth of the season at 14:05 when he stuffed it through Tisi’s pads from right in front and Polacek tied it with his first of the game with 1:22 to go in regulation as he snapped a shot under the crossbar. RPI then went ahead when Kurt Colling rushed the net and stuffed home his third of the season with 48.8 seconds to go, but McBride had the answer to that when he scored the extra attacker goal to force the overtime.
Lange finished with 35 saves for RPI while Tisi had 26 for the Saints, which had a 41-33 edge in shots on goal.