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Engineers' Late Rally Sparks Win

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, March 1, 2008

PROVIDENCE - The old guy who said you make your own breaks would have been proud of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Friday night.

The victory-starved Engineers, casting away their season long third-period problems and overcoming what was clearly a game-tying goal, rallied for a pair of scores during the final 2:04 for an unlikely but well-deserved 2-1 victory over Brown.

Scott Hapern was credited with the game-winning goal with 1:33 remaining when his cross ice pass from left wing went off the skate of a Brown defender as RPI rushed into the Brown zone 3-on-2. As Brown goalie Dan Rosen moved from his right to left to defend Halpern's pass to Tyler Helrich, the puck rolled slowly to the net. Rosen, now prone, moved back toward the left goal post and got his glove on the puck with a long reach but not enough to stop it.

Peter Merth had tied the game with a drive through traffic from the mid-slot with 2:04 remaining and the Engineers posted their first third-period come-from-behind victory since a 3-2 triumph at Boston University on Oct. 21, 2005. Andrei Uryadov picked up a rebound with 4:05 remaining, went around the net and slid a wrap-around shot under Rosen and just over the goal line. Referee Eric Ernst hesitated for a couple seconds, then signaled a goal. After realizing the goal judge hadn't turned on the red light, and seeing Rosen place the puck down on the goal line, Ernst waved off the score.

"I don't know why he signaled goal if he was going to let (the goal judge) make the call," said RPI coach Seth Appert. "But give our guys credit. They really battled back."

"Yeah, I saw it go over (the goal line)," said Uryadov, standing right next to the net at the time. "The referee called it a goal, then changed his mind. That's hockey. Sometimes you don't get the calls when you're away."

Goalie Mathias Lange earned the win with 32 saves, allowing on Ryan Garbutt's power-play from a scramble in front of the net 58 seconds into the third period.

The Engineers (11-20-4 overall) had been in a three-way tie for ninth place in ECAC Hockey but the victory put them alone in ninth with a 6-12-3 record. They will fin¬ish ninth with a tie or victory at Yale tonight but could drop to 10th with a loss and a St. Lawrence victory over Princeton. They could open the playoffs at Quinnipiac, Colgate or Yale, depending on tonight's results.

Talented RPI freshman defenseman Bryan Brutlag suffered a shoulder injury with 5:47 remaining in the first period. He's out for tonight and likely next week's playoff-opening series. Halpern took a pass from Chase Polacek at the blue line and skated down left wing.

"I was just trying to sneak it over to Helfrich and the puck took a lucky bounce for us," Halpern said of his fourth goal of the season. "I saw the puck kind of trickle in there. What a great feeling."

By contrast, the Engineers had lost third-period leads in five of their losses.

"It feels great," Appert said of RPI's first victory when trailing after two periods. "I'm really happy for the guys." After the goal was disallowed, Appert was asked what he told the players.

"You still have to come back," he said. "And a lot of it came from our captains." Appert gave much credit to assistant captain Andrew Lord for not allowing the team's spirit to drop.

"I just told them to keep going," Lord said. "We were playing hard all night and we had our share of chances. You know, to be honest, I really think that disallowed goal gave us the kick in the butt that we needed there."

Polacek had a golden chance to tie the score with 8:25 remaining when he worked himself in deep after an offensive-zone face-off but his five-foot chip shot rang off the crossbar, RPI's second such shot of the game.

"Their center fell down after the face-off and their defensemen went to the wings," Polacek said. "I just got it too high."

Two minutes later, Uryadov one-timed a loose puck sliding right to him but Rosen got enough glove on the blast to steer it away. Brown (5-13-3, 5-19-4) got solid body-checking efforts from linemates Devin Timberlake and Eric Slais, who disrupted the RPI attack throughout.

The Engineers had several excellent scoring chances in the first period. Included were Matt Angers-Goulet missing a half-open net on a power-play feed from Helfrich with 3:50 remaining, and freshman John Kennedy, still seeking his first collegiate point, putting a nice backhand shot off the crossbar.

"I thought our kids were rewarded tonight for how hard they played, for the resilience, both physically and mentally. We had one of our better freshmen go down with an injury, we had a goal taken away, we hit two (crossbars)."

"We played very good hockey in the first two periods, though we didn't score and there were a lot of things that you could have felt were going against us but I give our kids a lot of credit for hanging in there."