TROY, N.Y. (2/5/11) – Nick Prockow tallied his first multi-goal game of his career and Austin Smith tallied his 100th career point to help the Colgate men’s hockey team force a deciding third game with a 5-2 win over #15/16 Rensselaer on Saturday night.
The Raiders (8-25-3) also got a great performance from Francois Brisebois, who posted two goals, while classmate Wade Poplawski tallied a pair of helpers in the win. Chris Wagner was the other goal scorer for the Raiders and his rookie teammate Eric Mihalik was stellar in net and made a few of his 29 saves in key situations down the stretch.
The Engineers (20-11-5) got both of their goals from Chase Polacek, while Nick Bailen, Tyler Helfrich and CJ Lee were awarded assists in the loss. Allen York finished the night with 25 stops.
Colgate took an early 1-0 lead, just 1:51 into the game with a goal from Prockow. A Rensselaer player lost the puck behind the net as Brian Day went for body contact and jarred the puck loose. Prockow collected the puck, swung around the near post and beat York to that post.
The Raiders were outshot in the period by a 14-9 margin. Mihalik looked composed in net and kept the Engineers off the board by making stops on all 14 shots, including a few screened shots in front.
Rensselaer evened the score with a shorthanded goal coming at the 14:04 mark of the second period. Colgate couldn’t keep the puck in its offensive end, which resulted in a 2-on-1 shorthanded chance. Lee broke into the zone and as the Raider defender went to the ice, fed the puck to Polacek. He was alone with Mihalik and went forehand to backhand and scored.
The Raiders regained the lead at 2-1 less than four minutes later with Brisebois’ 14th of the season. Poplawski skated the puck into the zone and fired a shot from the mid point that got by York and hit the cross bar. The puck bounced right to Brisebois at the top of the crease and he hit the open net, as York had no time to recover.
Colgate increased the advantage to 3-1 with 3:11 left in the second period. Austin Mayer did the work at the blueline, beating an RPI defender and slipped a pass across the crease. Wagner was there for the tip in to give the Raiders a two-goal lead. It was Wagner’s first collegiate playoff point and Mayer’s first playoff point in a Colgate uniform as he was given an assist. Robbie Bourdon was also credited with an assist on the play.
Polacek got the Engineers back to within one at 3-2 with 1:04 left in the second on the power play. The RPI captain shot another laser from the left circle that tucked under the cross bar on Mihalik’s blocker side. The rookie slid over in great position but couldn’t connect to make the save.
Colgate was scoreless on three power play opportunities in the second period, while Rensselaer scored on its lone chance with the extra skater.
With 13:20 left in the final frame, Mihalik came up with two huge stops to keep the Raiders up by a goal. He stopped Ale Andres-Goulet from the high slot and then stoned Marty O’Grady on the followed up with a sliding right pad save.
The Raiders skated off the ice with a 5-2 win after Prockow and Brisebois netted back-to-back empty netters. The first was by Prockow with assists to Day and Thomas Larkin. The final goal was from Brisebois, who shot the puck as he went to the ice at the blueline and scored. Smith was given the primary assist for his 100th career point. He becomes the 49th player in Colgate history to reach the mark.
Rensselaer posted a 31-30 advantage in shots. They scored both of their goals on special teams. Colgate went 1-for-4 on the man advantage as Brisebois’ empty netter was on the power play.
The third game will take place tomorrow night at Houston Field House at 7 p.m. It will be one of two third games in ECAC Hockey tomorrow as St. Lawrence and Princeton will be playing a deciding game as well.
NOTES: With the win, the Raiders have not lost a second game in a three-game series on the road since 2006-07 … Colgate scored its fastest goal since the 6-4 loss to #5 Yale on Nov. 20, when Day scored 59 seconds into the game … the two Brisebois goals were the first two of his playoff career … Prockow’s two goals were his first two collegiate playoff goals and points and first multi-goal game of his career … Smith is the first junior since Tyler Burton in 2006-07 to reach 100 points … the Raiders gave up their seventh shorthanded goal of the season … first two-point game for Poplawski this season and he now has five career postseason assists and six playoff points.