The RPI Engineers took on the Brown University Bears on Friday night, in front of 3,086 fans at the Houston Field House in Troy for Military Appreciation Night. The night looked to be an interesting matchup, as both teams have struggled this season. The Engineers came into the contest 9-20-1 overall and 7-9-0 in conference play, while the Bears had posted a 5-17-1 overall record with their conference record standing at 2-13-1. With both teams lacking in the win column, Friday’s contest looked to be a game that saw two teams both trying to get going in the right direction.
After the opening puck drop, it didn’t take long for the Engineers to find a goal. After only 1:19, a bad angle shot from senior forward Mark McGowan put a rebound right on top of the crease to be found by senior forward Jacob Laliberte, who buried it in the back of the net. The fast start to the game was answered by Brown as they were able to match the Engineers’ speed. The Bears slipped past the Engineers’ defense a few times leading to some close calls until just about halfway through the period. The Bears scored their first goal of the night off a breakaway opportunity. Just under three minutes later, they would score again as they broke into the zone once more. A shot from the top of the circle found its way past RPI junior goalie Jason Kasdorf and gave the Bears a one goal advantage. Despite a physical first period from the Engineers, a number of defensive breakdowns led to numerous scoring opportunities for Brown, allowing the Bears to go into the first intermission with a 2-1 lead.
The start to the second period looked much like the first, with the two teams swapping roles. Brown was able to score early, in the fourth minute of the period, as a low shot from the circle once more beat Kasdorf. With the last two goals, probably two that he’d like to have back, Kasdorf was replaced by senior goalie Scott Diebold following the Bears’ third tally. The following play matched the intensity of the first as both teams traded rushes and opportunities until the Engineers were able to break through with just under six minutes left to play. A passing play from senior defender Curtis Leonard and senior forward Zach Schroeder got the puck to junior forward Milos Bubela at the point where he fired a laser through McGowan’s screen and into the back of the net. RPI’s second goal would be the last of the period and would pull the Engineers within one as they headed into the third period.
Not to break the trend of early period goals, Brown would come out of the locker room and score just 51 seconds into the third period taking a 4-2 lead. The Engineers would narrow the lead to one just before the midway point in the period. Bubela was able to turn the puck over below the Brown goal line and find a breaking junior forward Mark Miller with a nice pass who then found the twine behind the Bears’ net-minder. Freshman forward Viktor Liljegren was credited with the secondary assist. Down 4-3 with half a period to play, the Engineers were by no means out of the game, but at 12:18, RPI was issued a minor penalty for holding off of a questionable call. Brown would seize the extra man opportunity and net a power play goal with just over six minutes remaining in the game. Unable to narrow the deficit, the Engineers put all their cards on the table, pulling Diebold with 2:15 left to play. However, the Bears were able to stymie the extra attacker and put one final punctuation mark on their victory, scoring an empty net goal in the last second of the game.
The loss to the Brown University Bears brought the Engineers’ record to 9-21-1 overall and 7-10-0 in conference play.