Despite finishing second overall in the ECAC after a rough start to the season, RPI men’s hockey couldn’t keep the momentum going into the playoffs. Earning its first bye since 1997, Rensselaer, who is currently ranked 19th in the nation, fell to Brown University in a three-game set, ending its playoff run. The Engineers—who may hit the ice once more in the NCAA tournament should things fall into place—currently sit with an 18-14-3 overall record, with a 12-7-3 conference mark.
Game one saw the Brown Bears pull away in the final minutes of play to earn the eventual 3-1 victory. Freshman Jason Kasdorf finished with 26 stops for the Engineers, while his counterpart senior Anthony Borelli made 26 saves as well.
The Bears struck first as freshman Matt Lorito slammed home a deflection past Kasdorf at 8:09 of the opening stanza. Freshman Nick Lappin, who took the initial shot, earned an assist on the play. Both teams skated through a nearly scoreless second frame before sophomore Jacob Laliberte evened the match with 57 ticks remaining on the clock. Laliberte buried a rebound off a shot from classmate Ryan Haggerty to level the score at one-all.
However, senior Chris Zaires put the Bears up 2-1 with 1:44 remaining in the match. Zaires flicked the biscuit into the upper left corner of the net for the one-goal advantage. The Engineers pulled Kasdorf in favor of an extra skater for the final minute of play, but the plan backfired as freshman Mark Naclerio earned his sixth tally of the season after sliding the biscuit into an empty net.
Game two fared much better for the Engineers as they skated away with a 6-2 victory and a chance to take the series by forcing it to three games. Freshman Mike Zalewski hit the back of the net twice while sophomores Mark McGowan and Matt Neal each picked up three assists apiece to fuel the victory.
After a scoreless first period, Rensselaer opened up the match with the game’s first two goals. Senior CJ Lee snuck home a shot from the left faceoff circle at 5:39, and less than four minutes later sophomore Curtis Leonard scored off a slap shot from the blue line. However, the Bears evened the score with goals from Lortio and Zaires at 12:14 and 16:40, respectively. With 29 seconds left in the frame, Laliberte put RPI ahead for good off a power play goal, giving the Engineers a 3-2 advantage.
Zalweski’s two tallies came early in the third period. The first, at 5:59, came as he wrapped around the Brown net and snuck the puck under Borelli. The New Hartford, N.Y., native then struck again at 8:38 as he capitalized off a rebound from McGowan’s shot. With nine seconds left in the match,