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RPI Needs to Stay Hot

Engineers Hope to Turn Tide Against Dartmouth

By Matt Graves

Albany Times Union, March 14, 2002

TROY - To reach the final of the 41st ECAC Hockey Tournament, RPI will have to accomplish something the Engineers were unable to do this season - beat Dartmouth and Cornell.

That's just to reach Saturday's championship game at Lake Placid. Then the Engineers must win their third game in as many nights when they face the winner of Friday's other semifinal between Clarkson and Harvard.

First things, first. Beating Dartmouth tonight at Olympic Arena presents a significant challenge for the surging Engineers (18-12-4), who have won nine of their past 11 games, but have a tie and three losses to show for their past four meetings with Dartmouth.

"They're a real good team with some great forwards," said RPI co-captain Matt Murley, whose 42 points are second only to teammate Marc Cavosie's 48 among ECAC scoring leaders. "They've had our number this year and they beat us in the playoffs last year, so we're really looking forward to getting a chance to play them."

Dartmouth came from behind twice this season to beat the Engineers in Troy (4-2) and tie them (2-2) on home ice in New Hampshire. It was after that tie that RPI went on a six-game win streak.

"I think the second game against Dartmouth was probably our turning point," Cavosie said. "Both games we carried the lead late into the game and lost it. Staving off a five-on-three in overtime to get the one-point tie really meant a lot to us. I think we've been on a roll ever since."

Cavosie said the Engineers have progressed from a one-dimensional team that relied on its high-scoring forwards to a team that has learned to meld its offense from the opposite blue line.

"Without defense we're not gonna win many games," the Cohoes native said. "These guys are hungry and to be playing Dartmouth it's almost nice to get some retribution for last year and even the two games this year."

The difficulty in accomplishing that is manifested in Dartmouth's balance. Led by senior Mike Maturo's 36 points (14-22), the Big Green (14-12-5) have seven players with 20 points or better.

"The back-to-back games we played against RPI were very good hockey games, and they could have gone either way," said Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet. "They went on a major roll, and (coach Dan) Fridgen has really got a hot team. They've got Cavosie and Murley, who are elite-level players, but they've got a good supporting cast, too."

Dartmouth did something that no other team did in sweeping both games from league champion Cornell. They even won at Cornell (5-3), the only loss this season at Lynah Rink for the Big Red.

"They play a disciplined game and we've got our work cut out for us," said RPI coach Fridgen, who has taken his team to the playoffs in all of his eight seasons and won the ECAC title in 1995. "They're the type of team that will play hard for 60 minutes and they've got a lot of confidence."

Each weekend for the past month or so it's been a different player helping the cause for RPI, and last week it was senior forward Chris Migliore. His three goals and assist against Princeton earned Migliore his first ECAC Player of the Week award.

"I had a couple of goals, but Eric Cavosie and Jim Henkel blocking shots are on my line and bringing the physical game they bring every night really helps," Migliore said. "The freshmen are playing well. Marc Cavosie and Matt (Murley) had a good series, and Nate Marsters is stepping up in the pipes."

The larger rink in the Olympic Arena, which is 15 feet wider than RPI's (100-85), should be an asset to quicker teams playing at Olympic Arena this weekend.

"The extra ice on the outside can only help a team like ours, which has some speedy forwards and defensemen," Murley said. "We're looking forward to that."

"It gives you more ice to move around and makes it a little harder for people to catch you," Cavosie said. "I like being able to be a little more creative on bigger ice. I wish all our games would be on big ice."