RPI tops No. 9 Cornell in overtime

RPI tops No. 9 Cornell in overtime

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Junior Todd Burgess scored with 52 seconds left in overtime to send the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) men's hockey team past ninth-ranked Cornell University, on Friday night at Lynah Rink. With the win, the Engineers improve to 10-18-3 overall (7-10-2 ECAC Hockey), while the Big Red drop to 15-8-3 (11-5-3 ECAC Hockey).

As the clock ticked inside the final minute of overtime, Burgess received a short pass along the left wing boards from classmate Chase Zieky (Avon, CT/Salmon Arm Silverbacks) and drove to the middle of the slot, before beating Cornell sophomore netminder Matthew Galajda (Aurora, ON/Victoria Grizzlies), glove side for the game-winning tally.

Moments earlier, Engineers freshman goaltender Owen Savory (Cambridge, ON/St. Catharines Falcons) made a glove save on a 2-on-1 rush, keeping the game tied at 2-2.

RPI senior Brady Wiffen (St. Mary's, ON/Trenton Golden Hawks) got the scoring started at 5:00 even of the first period, when he redirected a point shot from junior TJ Samec (St. Paul, MN/Brookings Blizzard) home, for his eighth goal of the year. Junior Mike Gornall (Irwin, PA/Topeka Roadrunners) collected the secondary helper.

The visitors doubled their advantage at 12:20 of the first on at slap shot from top of the zone by freshman Nick Bowman(Shelby, MI/Coulee Region Chill). Classmate Ture Linden (Great Falls, VA/Lone Star Brahmas) claimed a loose puck behind the Cornell net and sent it back to the right point for junior Will Reilly (Toronto, ON/Nanaimo Clippers). Reilly then found Bowman with space in the middle of the slot for the one-time finish.

Cornell quickly pulled back to within 2-1, as junior Jeff Malott (Burlington, ON/Brooks Bandits) capitalized on a rebound between the circles and buried the first of his two goals on the night. A centering attempt from the left side by senior Beau Starrett (Bellingham, MA/South Shore Kings) caromed off Savory and into the middle of the ice for Malott, who was all along for the put back.

After a scoreless second period in which RPI saw its third goal wiped away due to goaltender interference, the host were able to draw even at 2-2, early in the third.

Senior Mitch Vanderlaan (Hanwell, NB/Fort McMurray Oil Barons) kept the puck from the leaving the zone and found Malott free in the left circle for his second goal of the game and fifth of the year at 6:39 of the final regulation frame. Junior Yanni Kaldis (Montreal, PQ/Nanaimo Clippers) recorded the secondary assist on the tying tally.

Savory (5-10-3) finished with 35 saves for the second consecutive game, including 17 stops in the third period and overtime. Galajda (11-7-2) had 13 saves at the other end of the ice. RPI went 0 for 2 on the power play, while the Big Red were 0 for 3.

Rensselaer has now won back-to-back games in Ithaca for the first time since the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons. The team's four-game unbeaten streak (2-0-2) at Lynah Rink is the longest in program history.

The Engineers return to action tomorrow night, when they visit Colgate University in their final regular season road contest of the year (7pm). Cornell hosts 20th-ranked Union College tomorrow (7pm).