Sunday, March 17, 2013

From start to finish, Engineers were in control

   TROY -- Brown University hockey coach Brendan Whittet was asked after Saturday night's 6-2 loss to RPI in Game 2 of their ECAC Hockey quarterfinal-round series, at what point he felt the game was slipping away from the Bears.
   He wasn't totally joking when he said, "the first shift.
   "I don't think we were very good from the get-go," Whittet said. "I just thought we were a little off. When Matt Lorito, who's a very skilled kid, misses a lot of passes, that's not a good thing.
   "And they played great," Whittet said of the Engineers, "but it's still a 3-2 game going into the third (period), so it's a one-goal game on the road but I thought they took it us in the third and they got a big win, which is what they deserved."
   The Bears (14-13-6) lost star defenseman Dennis Robertson to a game misconduct, added to his major kneeing penalty late in the second period with the score tied, 2-2. Not only did Jacob Laliberte score the go-ahead goal late in that penalty, but his presence was missed in the third period when the Engineers scored three times to break open the game.
   "He's our best defenseman, one of the best in the league," Whittet said of Robertson. "So to lose him was a hard thing, but other guys have to step up and I don't believe they did. I thought we played soft hockey.
   "When they (RPI) have control of the puck for long stretches and are able to pin us or spin us on the offensive side and the defensive side ... we didn't compete hard enough."
   Brown forechecked well in Game 2 as the Bears did in Game 1 but their intensity wasn't Friday night. They puck movement and stick-handling wasn't nearly as sharp. They didn't win as many puck battles.
   Meanwhile, the Engineers, desperate, clearly outplayed the Bears over the final 35 minutes.
   Rensselaer players and fans can expect more for tonight's deciding Game 3.
   Engineers coach Seth Appert calls the Bears a "good defensive and hard, physical team.
   "Brown makes it tough on you," he said. "There's a reason that they've won so many games in the second half of the year and (goaltender Anthony) Borelli's numbers are what they are; because they they defend hard and they defend the front of the net well."
   Whittet said despite being soundly beaten in the third period, the Bears won't be "nervous or scared" for tonight's decisive Game 3.
   "We'll bring it (tonight)," he said.
   Bubela's major elbowing penalty a clean hit?: The Engineers lost freshman right winger Milos Bubela to a major elbowing penalty and game misconduct penalty at 17:11 of the first period.
   The Engineers' killing of that penalty was a major factor in the outcome, even a turning point in the game. Appert agreed.
   "Well, yeah, especially since it was a clean hit," he said. "It was a heavy hit ... I don't have issues with the officiating at all. I was a heavy hit but his shoulder was down, his elbow was down when he hit him."
   Appert said, "generally speaking, it's weird how that works. Your team usually kills off the good penalties (or poor calls?), for whatever reason, but when you take dumb, selfish penalties, you (often) get scored on. So, even though we took a few penalties tonight of the hard-hitting variety, they weren't bad penalties and I thought we did a pretty good job of killing them."
   Lorito did have a power-play goal for the second straight night but the Engineers killed the other seven minutes of Brown's power-play time.
    Juggled lines: With Bubela out for more than two periods, Appert had to juggle his forward lines.
   All six goals came with different combinations of forwards on the ice from the four sets on the line chart.
   "It keeps you on an edge on the bench ... and it certainly tested my wits, which doesn't take much," Appert said. "You know, we've scored a lot of goals this year with juggled lines and that's something we need to keep in mind (tonight) if need be."
   Appert said he had "no idea" on what tonight's lines would be.



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