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Victory Has RPI Moving On Up

Engineers Advance in ECAC Following St. Lawrence Win

By Matt Graves

Albany Times Union, February 9, 2002

TROY - The final margin was only a goal, but it may have been the biggest one-goal victory of the season for the RPI hockey team.

Carson Butterwick scored what proved to be the game-winner in the second period as RPI held off St. Lawrence 3-2 in an important ECAC game in front of 3,374 fans at Houston Field House that took the Engineers from 10th place to seventh.

With the victory and the two points, the Engineers moved from the final playoff spot all the way to seventh with seven games left as the three teams directly in front of them - Yale, SLU and Princeton - all suffered defeats.

"I know we leap-frogged on St. Lawrence," said Butterwick, who found himself on a new line as coach Dan Fridgen continued to experiment with different offensive combinations. "We'll try not to read too much about the standings and just concentrate on putting wins on the board."

Butterwick, previously on a line with high-scoring Matt Murley and Marc Cavosie, took matters into his own hands in this game that saw neither Murley nor Cavosie score a goal for one of the few times all season.

Cavosie, nursing a shoulder injury that kept him out of last weekend's Vermont game, still extended his point-scoring streak to 10 games and Murley got a point in his eighth consecutive game. But the goals came from Butterwick and Conrad Barnes, who didn't have a goal in 22 games this season.

The Engineers (11-10-4, 5-7-3 ECAC) had a two-goal lead for most of the third period before Jim Lorentz put a long drive past Nate Marsters with less than two minutes to play, then managed to keep SLU (8-17-0, 6-9-0 ECAC) from getting the tying goal as they struggled to get their goalie off for an extra skater.

"It wasn't a situation where we were protecting a lead," said RPI coach Dan Fridgen. "They got off a pretty good shot, a tough one for Nate to handle. But I thought we did a real good job of staying composed. It didn't rattle us. They were under the pressure to come back, and obviously (we) got the job done."

The Engineers got some breathing room following a 1-1 first period with a pair of goals in the second. Barnes got his first of the season off a nice feed from Cavosie, slashing down the middle and firing a shot between Mike McKenna's legs at 3:23.

Butterwick got his second of the night and ninth of the year at 7:26 when he deflected in a shot by Steve Munn near the right goalpost for a 3-1 advantage.

The teams traded power-play goals in the first period, RPI getting on the board first at 14:46 when Butterwick flipped in a loose rebound at the left of the SLU goal.

The Engineers appeared to have St. Lawrence's second power play stopped until Charlie Daniels skated across the crease and dropped in an easy backhander with one second left on the man advantage at 17:48.

Marsters was surprised to learn he had made 35 saves, but he may need a similar effort tonight against arch-rival Clarkson.

"We did pretty well tonight," he said. "We kept everything outside and cleared rebounds when they were there. In the third period that was remarkable the way we shut them down. We had to get the two points."