OT goal from Miller lifts RPI over St. Lawrence

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An overtime thriller saw the Rensselaer Engineers top St. Lawrence, 4-3, after coming back from two different one-goal deficits and forfeiting a one-goal lead of their own.

“That’s gutsy,” said RPI coach Seth Appert. “That’s just a gutsy, resilient win.”

The first of RPI’s two deficits came off a Jacob Pritchard goal with just 7.5 seconds remaining in the first period. Pritchard corralled a pass from Gavin Bayreuther and stepped down the right wing before firing a shot off the far post and in.

In the second, Jared Wilson evened the score for RPI in the first of its comebacks. Riley Bourbonnais found Wilson wide open on the blue line, and he walked into the slot and fired a wrist shot past Kyle Hayton.

Just over a minute later, Drew Melanson gave RPI a 2-1 lead. Lou Nanne’s shot was stopped by Hayton, but Melanson got his stick on the puck through a scrum and knocked it home for the lead.

However, another late St. Lawrence goal tied the game before the end of the second period. Michael Ederer found a loose puck in front of RPI goalie Cam Hackett and fired it past the Engineers netminder, who had been knocked down. The play was reviewed and the goal was upheld.

Drew Smolcynski again put the Saints up by one at the 6:17 mark of the third. The Saints had a four-on-two rush up ice and Smolcynski held the puck long enough to freeze Hackett before beating him blocker side with the shot.

An excellent play by Mike Prapavessis set up Riley Bourbonnais for the tying goal at 13:13 of the third. A turnover gave Prapavessis a rush down the left wing. Rather than shoot, he held the puck and pulled Hayton off his angle before feeding Bourbonnais in the slot for the goal.

“I thought the play by Prapavessis to set of Bourbonnais for the tying goal is a heck of a hockey play,” said Appert.

RPI killed a late SLU power play to get the game to overtime, where Mark Miller, the local from Massena, New York, got the game-winner.

“That’s all credit to Drew Melanson,” said Miller. “He drove wide and I was being hooked a little bit. He was able to feed me the puck and it went off my skate.”

The goal was reviewed and upheld, bringing the Engineers back to .500.

To score the game-winner in OT for Miller was a special feeling.

“I had season tickets to St. Lawrence hockey growing up and I pretended to be a college hockey player when I was younger. It was amazing to play in this barn in front of a home crowd.”

St. Lawrence associate head coach Mike Hurlbut said the game was a tough loss.

“When you don’t play to your systems, that’s what happens,” said Hurlbut. “They know. The individuals who made mistakes know and as coaches we know.”