Senior forward Bryan Brutlag scored just 20 seconds into overtime to give Rensselaer a 3-2 win over Bowling Green in the championship game of the 60th Annual Rensselaer Invitational at the Houston Field House.
With the victory, the 17th-ranked Engineers improve to 7-3-3 and capture their own tournament for the 17th time and the first time since 2002. The Falcons fall to 6-10-0.
Brutlag, the tournament Most Valuable Player, scored the game-winner when he slipped behind the defense, collected a pass from linemate Chase Polacek and beat the goaltender in a one-on-one situation. Junior Patrick Cullen, who had a strong bid just 10 seconds earlier, picked up the other assist.
“We wanted to be special and we wanted to leave our mark on the program,” said Brutlag. “This is the first step towards that.”
“We certainly wanted to win that tournament and we certainly wanted our seniors to win it for the first time,” said Engineers coach Seth Appert.
The overtime session was forced when Bowling Green scored with just 9.4 seconds remaining in regulation when David Solway deflected a Brett Mohler right point shot past a screened Allen York with the Falcons’ netminder on the bench for an extra attacker.
Following a scoreless first period, the Engineers notched the first two goals, scoring just 1:19 apart early in the second period. Senior Tyler Helfrich put the home team ahead when he knocked in a loose puck on the goal mouth at the 3:19 mark. Defenseman Jeff Foss started the play at the right point, where his shot was deflected into the air to Marty O’Grady. O’Grady’s shot was stopped but not controlled and Helfrich pushed the puck over the line.
Sophomore defenseman Nick Bailen, who played for Bowling Green in 2008-09, doubled RPI’s lead when he skated the puck from the defensive zone and across the offensive blue line, where he ripped a snap shot into the back of the net. Freshman Bo Dolan earned the only assist, his first career point.
Bowling Green pulled to within one when sophomore forward Jordan Samuels-Thomas scored a power-play goal from the bottom of the right faceoff circle. Samuels-Thomas tallied his fifth of the season on a shot that hit off York and crossed the goal line. Jake Sloat and Mohler assisted on the play.
York finished with 24 saves in the win, while sophomore Andrew Hammond stopped 16 shots in defeat.
Joining Brutlag on the All-Tournament Team were Polacek and Samuels-Thomas as forwards, Bailen and Foss on defense and York in goal.
RPI is back to ECAC Hockey action when it returns to the ice next weekend, traveling to No. 3 Yale on Friday and Brown on Saturday. Bowling Green plays at CCHA foe Lake Superior State next Friday and Saturday nights.