The stakes couldn't have been any higher. With Brown leading, 3-2, in the last moments of the final contest in a three-game playoff series and the Rensselaer goaltender pulled in favor of an extra attacker, Brown goalie Michael Clemente '12 needed to deny every shot that came his way in order for the Bears to extend their season.
He relished the pressure.
"They had four or five shots at the end," Clemente said. "That was the best part of the game."
It was especially nice for Clemente since no pucks got behind him and the Bears sealed the 3-2 victory and the series. Brown won, 3-1, Friday and lost, 4-1, Saturday.
The third game extended Brown's season at least another week. The Bears will take on No. 6 Yale, the top team in the ECAC, in a three-game series in New Haven starting Friday night.
Brown 3, RPI 1
Brown's weekend didn't start as happily as it ended. Trailing 1-0 heading into the third period on Friday night, the Bears struggled to solve RPI goalie Allen York, who stopped everything coming his way in the first two periods.
But just 1:40 into the final frame, Jarred Smith '12 got the Bears on the board. And only 1:13 after Smith's goal, Bobby Farnham '12 also beat York to give Brown a 2-1 lead.
RPI players and coaches complimented the Bears on their aggressive style in the battle.
"They play a very meat-and-potatoes style of game," Paul Kerins, who scored RPI's lone goal on the night, told the Daily Gazette of Schenectady, N.Y. "There's not a lot of flash to it."
Tri-captain Aaron Volpatti '10 added an empty-net goal with 1:05 remaining to extend Brown's lead to 3-1.
RPI 4, Brown 1
Brown's win on Friday night meant it was do-or-die for RPI on Saturday.
"I was nervous," RPI Head Coach Seth Appert told the Daily Gazette. "We talked about having our backs against the wall. It was more like having our backs against the cliff."
The Engineers played like their lives were on the line.
The Engineers got on the scoreboard first, and Volpatti evened the score, 1-1, before the period ended.
But with the score tied, 1-1, late in the second period, RPI scored two goals 1:35 apart. Chase Polacek — the nation's leading goal scorer — netted another in the third period to give RPI its final 4-1 lead.
Brown 3, RPI 2
No one in Brown's locker room was happy with the intensity in Saturday's game.
"The whole team decided to come back today with more intensity and more drive," Clemente said.
Volpatti got Brown going with his third goal of the series 7:05 after the puck dropped.
The Bears made it a 2-0 lead midway through the second when Jack Maclellan '12 scored on a five-on-three power play. And Chris Zaires '13 gave the Bears some high-premium insurance with his goal just 18 seconds into the final frame, making the score 3-0 Brown.
But it wasn't over yet. RPI scored two third-period goals to narrow the gap to just one goal, but they couldn't get another one by Clemente and the Bears skated off with a win.
"It feels awesome," Maclellan said. "We're enjoying it for now, and probably enjoying it the rest of the night, and then focusing on Yale tomorrow."