Men'S Hockey

Brown Bears’ attack downs Engineers

The Engineers were defeated after blowing a 2‒0 lead as the Brown Bears scored three unanswered goals in the last two periods. The loss drops them down into sixth place in the ECAC, with the Union Dutchmen replacing them at fifth.

After about six and a half minutes of play, Rensselaer had a fantastic opportunity to score. Ottoville Leppänen ’22 won the puck in the defensive zone and sent a breakout pass to Ture Linden ’22. With fellow linemate Jakub Lacka ’22 getting behind the final Brown defender in the neutral zone, Linden put him in on goal. Lacka directed the puck forward but drifted a little too far from him. He barely won the footrace with the Bear and chipped a shot on goal, sailing over Brown goaltender Mathieu Caron’s shoulder and the crossbar.

JAKUB LACKA '22 SLICES the puck over the goal. Andrew Days/The Polytechnic

The Engineers continued their offensive pressure. With a little over eight minutes left in the first period, Bear Jordan Tonelli was sent to the penalty box for hooking. Brown killed off most of the power play as the Engineers possessed the puck in the offensive zone with Tonelli seconds away from being released. Linden was positioned in front of Caron to screen and RPI defenseman Lauri Sertti ’24 shot a puck towards the net. Linden tilted his stick blade backward for a tip between his legs and, with one second left on the power play, the puck sprang into the top corner—his team-leading tenth goal of the season.

A minute later, another Bear was sent to the penalty box. After a long six-man fight for possession along the boards, John Beaton ’24 managed to evacuate the puck back to Simon Kjellberg ’23 at the point. Since six players were bunched in the corner, Kjellberg dished the puck to a wide open TJ Walsh ’23 in the left faceoff circle. Walsh’s high shot was awkward for Caron to handle and the puck popped into the air, its trajectory to land behind Caron’s left pad. He tried to get his pad behind the puck to prevent it from being knocked in, but his backward movement did exactly that. With the puck then flying directly for the goal, Brown defenseman Luke Albert dove and scooped the puck out of the net with his hand. The officials blew play dead, allowing them to review the top-down footage of the net. After the review, the goal was confirmed, giving the Engineers a 2‒0 lead heading into the first intermission.

BROWN'S LUKE ALBERT SCOOPS the puck out of the net after it had crossed the goal line. Andrew Days/The Polytechnic

RPI started the second period on the penalty kill after an Engineer was called for holding just before the end of the first. Thirty seconds into the new period, Jakob Lee ’24 won the puck in the defensive zone and played it forward to Zach Dubinsky ’23 for a breakaway. Caron made back-to-back saves to snuff out the Engineers’ shorthanded attack. RPI would kill off the penalty, but Brown would strike soon after.

After an icing call, there was a faceoff back in the RPI end. The Engineers won it, but it was difficult to get the puck out of the left circle with the centers tied up and the linesman unable to move. Brown’s Matt Sutton won the puck and immediately rifled an unexpected shot. The puck flew through traffic, passing through a Bear’s legs, and into the top left corner to reduce the Engineer lead to one goal. RPI would go on the power play once again after seven minutes of play in the period. Kjellberg whiffed on a shot from the blue line and Brown’s Tristan Crozier was in on a shorthanded breakaway. RPI goaltender Linden Marshall (Gr) retreated into his goal to prevent Crozier from slipping the puck past him on either side. Marshall’s retreat provided Crozier with an angle to precisely slot the puck into the top corner to equalize the game at 2‒2. The two quick goals demoralized the Engineers but they would endure the rest of the period.

The final frame was even to start as both teams would have long spells of possession in the offensive zone. After seven minutes of play, the Bears managed to bring the puck out of their zone after an Engineer possession. Brown then played it back to Luke Krys to get reset. Krys skated forward to keep control of the puck but was then cut off from the rest of his team. The RPI defense forced him further down the ice, but he started to cut towards the net. Defenseman Anthony Baxter (Gr) reached out his stick to poke the puck away and Marshall went into the butterfly to cut off his shooting lanes. Despite having no angle, Krys managed to lift the puck over Marshall’s shoulder into the top shelf to put Brown in front 3‒2.

The Engineers hustled to try to get a goal back with several strong shifts. They had several close scoring opportunities, including a shot from Louie Helsen ’23 from the point that rattled off the crossbar and a redirection from Justin Addamo (Gr). Marshall was pulled out of the net with two minutes left to give RPI an extra attacker. The Engineers best chance came with less than 30 second remaining as Lacka came from behind the goal and sent a cross-crease pass to Linden. The pass was a little too far to Linden’s left, making it difficult for him to aim his shot properly. The puck bounced off of the post and out.

BROWN GOALTENDER MATHIEU CARON LOOKS behind him as the shot from Ture Linden '22 bounces off the left post. Andrew Days/The Polytechnic

The buzzer sounded, giving Brown a 3‒2 victory over the Engineers. After the loss, RPI’s record for the season changed to 10-14-3 (5‒7‒0 ECAC) and dropped them down to sixth in ECAC standings as Union College moved into fifth place.

Click here for RPI TV’s broadcast of the game and here for the box score.