BOSTON, Mass. — When a team coughs up two shorthanded goals and musters just three shots on six power-play opportunities, youd have to figure that its just not their night.
Surprisingly, those stats applied to the victors tonight.
Despite several excruciating power plays, Renssalaer rallied from a 3-2 deficit going into the third period, scoring three unanswered goals for a most satisfying road victory over Boston University in front of 4,814 at Agganis Arena.
Alex Angers-Goulet led the Engineers with a goal and two assists, while freshman Bryce Merriam stopped 32 of 35 shots for the win. Terrier captain Kevin Shattenkirk was the obvious standout for BU, figuring in both of the teams shorthanded goals.
The win snapped a four-game losing streak for Rensselaer.
Im certainly proud of our guys, Engineer coach Seth Appert said. Were on a little bit of a streak where weve been playing good hockey but finding ways to lose games at critical moments. I thought tonight for the most part outside of our power play we played a good hockey game. Tonight at critical moments we had a lot of guys step up — especially our defensive corps.
Yet again this season, Terrier coach Jack Parker was left to lament his teams ability to step up with a game nearly in hand.
I thought we played pretty well in the first period”made two mistakes and literally gave them two goals, Parker said. And then in the third period, we were afraid to lose so we lost. And we were a little exhausted: We self-destructed in the second period with all the penalties.
We go into the third period leading 3-2 and almost got run out of the building, I thought they beat us to every puck, were more physical than us, looked a lot faster than we did. I really think were just Oh my God — what if we lose this game?
Despite Colby Cohen being a healthy scratch due to not playing fast enough or smart enough, the signs certainly looked favorable early on for BU. The Terriers took the lead at 2:02 with a highlight-reel shorthanded goal. Shattenkirk intercepted a clearing attempt near the right point and fired to Chris Connolly near the far post. With his back to the net, the winger made a nifty backhanded pass to Nick Bonino for the one-timer and the goal.
RPI survived a few good chances on a Terrier power play and scored shortly thereafter. Peter Merth threw the puck behind the BU net, and Brandon Pirri brought it back in front, where Angers-Goulet banged it in at the far post. It was RPIs first shot of the game.
Just 19 seconds later, the Engineers scored on their second shot of the night. Kevin Beauregard won a faceoff, and Bryan Brutlag skated uncontested toward the net to beat Kieran Millan at 5:59.
On a power play early in the second period, BU tied it. Corey Trivino teed up a Max Nicastro slapshot from the right pint, and Zach Cohen made a chunky tip of the shot to beat Merriam at 3:10.
At 8:13, Eric Gryba got called for a minor and a misconduct, thereby passing Freddy Meyer as the career leader in penalty minutes for the Terriers. No matter: BU took the lead while killing the penalty. Shattenkirk got the puck in his own end and made a nice move to blow by the point man for a 2-on-1 with Ross Gaudet. Shattenkirk sold the shot before beating Merriam high, glove side.
Afterward, Appert noted that the absence of Mike Bergin — the teams power-play quarterback — due to injury hurt his team tonight. Playing with five forwards on the man advantage had worked well last weekend but backfired tonight.
The Engineers took it up a notch in the third, and BU let them stay in the game. At 10:05, the visitors tied it on a 25-foot wrist shot by Erik Burgdoerfer — his first goal of the season.
I thought the play of the game was the hit Joel Malchuk took to send in Erik Burgdoerfer for our tying goal, Appert said. Malchuk had about four great hits in the last two shifts he had. Grybas a tough player, and he was coming to hit him hard. He didnt pull up short and turn it over; he took the hit and sent Burgdoerfer in to tie the game.
Rensselaer regained the lead at 13:58. Millan made a great save on Christian Jensens initial shot, only to have the defenseman bury the rebound for his first goal of the season.
It was a greasy one, Jensen said. Our whole game we were playing hard and just going to the net hard.
RPI sealed it with Tyler Helfrichs empty-net goal with 53.9 seconds remaining.
Before the season started, I thought wed have one of the best goaltending tandems in the nation and be in really good shape there, Parker said. Wed be pretty solid on defense with the guys weve got back. Wed have a good power play because we had at least one full power-play unit back from last year. And none of that has been true from day one. Weve got a lot of guys who are either underachieving now or overachieved last year.
Now at 4-9-3, the defending champs will have a few weeks to lick their wounds and regroup before facing UMass on January 2. Rensselaer (9-9-1) will next play against Michigan in the Great Lakes Invitational on Dec. 29.