Special Teams the Difference, as Bears Fall to #10 RPI, 3-0

TROY, NY – The 10th-ranked RPI men's hockey team (16-6-3, 8-5-0) scored a pair of first period power play goals just 3:50 apart and the lead would hold for a 3-0 win over the Bears (7-9-4, 5-7-1) on Friday evening at Houston Fieldhouse. Overall, RPI was 2-5 on the man-advantage, while Brown, which outplayed the Engineers at full-strength, was 0-5 on the power play.

The Bears were controlling the first 12 minutes of the game, building an 8-5 advantage in shots during this time and nearly grabbing a 1-0 lead on two separate occasions. Freshman Garnet Hathaway (Kennebunkport, ME) had the first at the 8:40 mark, taking feed from senior Harry Zolnierczyk (Toronto, ONT), who was behind the net, at the top of the crease and one-timing it on cage. However, Allen York was there to make the save to keep the game scoreless.

Less than three minutes later, at 11:15, Brown had a flurry of chances, which all started when Zolnierczyk picked up a lose puck just inside the blueline, skated in behind the two RPI defenders, and went in alone on York. York was unable to corral the rebound after the save and juniors Jack Maclellan (Calgary, ALB) and Bobby Farnham (North Andover, MA) and freshman Mark Hourihan (Lynnfield, MA) all followed with chances of their own, two of which came with York out of the net and one that was cleared out of an open crease by RPI's John Kennedy.

Brown ended up with its first power play chance during the possession, but just 58 seconds in, Zolnierczyk, who was pushed into the crease by an RPI defenseman, was whistled for charging the goalie to even things up for the next 1:02. The Engineers then ended up with a four-on-three advantage 15 seconds later when Maclellan was sent to the penalty box for a slash. The Engineers could not capitalize on the four-on-three advantage, but Chase Polacek beat junior Mike Clemente (Great Falls, VA) with a shot to the left post with 12 seconds left on the two-man advantage for a 1-0 lead at 14:23.

RPI added another power play goal at 18:13 when Bryan Brutlag tipped a shot by Polacek past Clemente for a 2-0 lead after the first 20 minutes.

The Bears dominated the second period, building a 14-3 advantage in shots on goal but headed for the locker rooms with nothing to show for it on the scoreboard, as York stopped all 14 shots he faced.

Brown opened the second period with 36 seconds remaining on their second power play chance of the game and freshman Matt Wahl (Wellington, FL) had a great chance to finish a centering feed from Maclellan, but he fanned on the shot and RPI was able to clear the zone as the penalty expired.

Brown had another chance to get on the board on a power play 3:45 into the second frame. At the tail end of the advantage, York saved a shot from Zolnierczyk, but the rebound was sitting on the crease. Nick Bailen was able to clear it away before Maclellan could get there to lift it into the partially open net, as the score remained, 2-0, in favor of the Engineers.

With the shots, already 8-1 in Brown's favor and with under five minutes left in the frame, senior David Brownschidle (Lawrenceville, NJ) fired off back-to-back shots form point blank range. On the same shift, Zaires and Farnham were both denied by the RPI goalie, holding the Bears off the scoreboard.

Brown continued to dominate during the third period, building a 36-19 advantage in shots on goal. The Bears pulled Clemente with 2:27 remaining in favor of the extra attacker and Tyler Helfrich scored an empty net goal 12 seconds later to secure the 3-0 win.

Clemente recorded 16 saves, while York made 36 for the Engineers, as Brown outshot RPI, 36-19. The 19 shots allowed is a season low for the Brown defense, but it also marked the first time this season that the offense, which had at one time been averaging just under four goals-per-game, has been held off the scoreboard in 20 games. The Bears continue action tomorrow evening when they face #12 Union in a 7:00 p.m. contest.

BROWN                        0            0            0            x            -            0
RENSSELAER               2            0            1            x            -             2

First Period – R, Polacek (Helfrich, Higgs), 5x3, 14:23; R, Brutlag (Polacek, Helfrich), PP, 18:13. Penalties – B, 3-6; R, 2-4.

Second Period – No Scoring. Penalties – B, 3-6; R, 3-6.

Third Period – Helfrich (Lee), EN, 17:45. Penalties – B, 0-0; R, 1-2.

Saves
B, Mike Clemente (59:48) – 9-3-4-x – 16; R, Allen York (60:00) – 12-14-10-x – 36.

Attendance: 2,693

Pictured: Mike Clemente '12. Photo by DSPics.net.