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RPI Left to Lament Two That Got Away

By Matt Graves

Albany Times Union, March 2, 2002

TROY - If RPI fails to secure home ice for the upcoming ECAC playoffs, the Engineers can't be blamed for wondering if two goals that were disallowed in Friday's 2-1 loss to Cornell were the calls that broke the camel's back.

RPI had two apparent goals disallowed by referee Jeff Fulton in the third period of Friday's hard-fought battle with the ECAC champions. The first one clearly went in at 5:22 but was negated by an early whistle, the other refuted when Fulton said it failed to cross the goal line with 1:07 left in the game despite protestations of goal judge Kirk Reynolds, who had put on the red light.

Fulton went to Reynolds to consult about the controversial play in which Jim Vickers apparently knocked in the tying goal, but after a discussion of more than a minute, the original call of no goal stood.

"That goal was definitely in the net," said Reynolds of the play at the east end of Houston Field House. "He (Fulton) came over and asked me and I told him it was in the net. I don't know why he asked me if he wasn't going to listen to what I had to say." Fulton was unavailable to the media in accordance with league policy.

The Engineers (9-9-3, 21 points) still have a chance to win the fifth spot and home ice if they can beat Colgate tonight and Brown loses to Yale. Brown would still earn the spot with a tie even if RPI wins, on the basis of head-to-head play.

"He (Fulton) said it didn't make it over the line," said RPI co-captain Matt Murley, who found a silver lining in defeat. "Now Cornell knows we're gonna be able to beat them when we meet them in Lake Placid."

Cornell took a 2-1 lead only 4:27 into the second period when Krzysztof Wieckowski knocked in a rebound outside the left goal post for the Big Red's second power-play goal of the game.

The Engineers were handed a golden opportunity early in the first period when Cornell was called for two minor penalties to give RPI a five-on-three power play. Marc Cavosie made Cornell pay at 3:10 on a long drive for his 21st of the season, extending his scoring streak to 16 games.

Cornell used its own power play to even the score when Mark McRae put a long slap shot from just inside the right circle past a screened Nathan Marsters at 12:49 of the first period.

RPI turned up the heat in the third period but couldn't get the break it needed to upset Cornell (16-3-2 ECAC).

The Engineers stormed the Cornell net on a power play midway through the period, but never got as close as they did with little more than a minute to play.

"He made the call and you've got to go forward," said RPI coach Dan Fridgen. "We haven't been handed anything all year. It was a well-played hockey game. Give them credit. I thought we came at them pretty hard. We had them back on their heels in the third period."

Co-captain Steve Munn was in front of the net and got a piece of the goal that was disallowed earlier in the period, but he was trying to get past the late non-goal and remain focused on the task at hand tonight.

"Between the four of them (referee, linesmen, goal judge) they decided it wasn't a goal," he said. "I guess he (Cornell goalie David LeNeveu) had it covered. We've got to regroup and get the two points tomorrow night."