HAMDEN, CT — Three special teams’ goals in the second period helped send the Rensselaer Engineers to a 4-1 victory over the Quinnipiac University Bobcats Friday evening in ECAC Hockey action.
RPI scored two short-handed goals and a power-play goal in the second, and an extra-attacker goal in the third to give the Bobcats their first defeat at home this season. Chase Polacek had an assist on all three goals.
“I thought the reason we won the game was our penalty killing effort,” said RPI coach Seth Appert. “I thought our penalty killers were outstanding and [goaltender] Allen York was exceptional. I don’t think we were great five-on-five and we need to be better than that.”
The Engineers (11-10-1, 4-4-0 ECAC Hockey) didn’t record their first shot of the game until the 11:10 mark of the first period and finished with five in the period, while the Bobcats had 14.
Quinnipiac (13-6-1, 7-5-0 ECAC Hockey) looked to have taken the lead late in the first, but the goal was negated by a whistle for a man in the crease.
“I thought a pivotal point of the game was when we got the goal called back,” said Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold. “We have to find a way to deal with adversity better. That goal would have given us a lot of confidence, but got called back.”
RPI again had five shots in the second period, but were able to score three goals in the period, all coming on special teams. RPI took a 1-0 lead when Jordan Watts recorded his first goal of the season, on the penalty kill. Coming in on a two-on-one with Watts, Polacek ripped a shot off the far post that bounced into the slot. Watts took the rebound and banged it home into the open net at 3:19.
The Engineers extended their lead with a second short-handed goal on the next penalty kill, this time with Marty O’Grady with the tally marker. Polacek again carried the puck into the zone and took a shot from the right circle of Bobcats’ netminder Eric Hartzell. The shot hit the glove of Hartzell and ricocheted into the air. Hartzell couldn’t find it and O’Grady waited for it to hit the ice and put it home for the 2-0 lead.
“I thought we did a good job pressuring Quinnipiac and once we pressured them we won puck battles,” said Appert.
RPI took a three-goal lead with a Joel Malchuk power-play goal with just under two minutes remaining. Polacek fed Brandon Pirri at the right circle. Pirri shot the puck and it bounced off the crossbar and far post and fell to the crease. Malchuk crashed the net and banged home the loose puck at 18:43.
“It’s hard to explain what’s going on with our team right now,” said Pecknold. “You look up at the clock and we’re outshooting them 27-10 [after the second period] and we’re losing 3-0. You don’t expect that to happen, but it’s a part of hockey. I thought RPI was very opportunistic with their chances tonight and York was exceptional.”
To start the third period, the Bobcats replaced Hartzell with Mathieu Cadieux and Quinnpiac responded with a goal at the 4:49 mark of the third. On a failed clear by RPI, Eric Lampe controlled the puck and gave it to Greg Holt as he entered the zone. Holt found Scott Zurevinski as he moved behind the net and Zurevinski wrapped the puck around into the net for the goal.
Bryan Brutlag added an empty-net goal for RPI to seal the victory.