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RPI's Statistics Belie Record

Despite Skills, Engineers Running Low on Victories

By Matt Graves

Albany Times Union, February 1, 2002

With two of the most prolific scorers in the nation on the same line, it's difficult to understand how RPI is only one point from the basement of the ECAC hockey standings heading into this weekend's road trip.

Junior Marc Cavosie of Cohoes leads the ECAC with 33 points (14-19) and teammate Matt Murley of Troy is third with 26 (15-11) despite having missed five games this season.

Murley (1.53) is fifth in the country in points per game, Cavosie (1.50) sixth. Murley's 0.88 goals-per-game average is fourth in the country. They are 1-2 in ECAC goal scoring.

The Engineers are coming off a damaging league loss to Dartmouth in which they had the lead before giving up three goals in the last four minutes at Houston Field House.

Dartmouth ended a 14-game winless streak in Troy with the 4-2 victory. The Engineers hope to avenge that setback in a hurry. Tonight, in fact.

"We're certainly looking forward to going to their building," RPI coach Dan Fridgen said. "Hopefully, we're mentally tough enough that we'll rebound and get redemption."

That may be easier said than done for the Engineers (3-7-2 ECAC, 9-10-3 overall), who are 1-7-0 on the road and have lost their past four games at Dartmouth, including two in the ECAC playoffs last year.

"We've got to regroup," said co-captain Steve Munn. "We're going right back to their barn, which is great. We get to deal with things right away. We've got everything fresh in our minds."

RPI is mired in 11th place in the ECAC despite ranking 12th nationally on the power play and 13th in penalty -killing. One of the Engineers' pitfalls has been in taking penalties. They are the second-most penalized team in the league at 16.6 minutes per game.

And with 10 ECAC games remaining, nobody is ready to push the panic button yet.

"Hopefully, I have a bunch of coffee beans in there," Fridgen said, looking toward the locker room. "Why coffee beans? Beacause under pressure and under adversity, coffee beans taste their best."

High on youth: Heading into tonight's game at Vermont, Union College is in fifth place in the ECAC. That's as high as the Dutchmen have ever finished (1996-97), and they are only three points out of third place, occupied by Saturday foe Dartmouth.

The Dutchmen are getting plenty of balance from all classes, and for the second time in succession have the ECAC Rookie of the Week in freshman Jordan Webb. He had two goals an an assist in last weekend's two games.

Freshmen have accounted for 57 of Union's 188 points, led by Marc Neron (6-8-14), Webb (4-9-13) and Joel Beal (4-8-12).

Ice chips: This is the final year of 10-team playoffs in the ECAC. Next season all 12 teams will participate, with the top four earning first-round byes. ... Union's new home uniforms include a green clover with the initials JMP on the left shoulder in memory of James Patrick, the brother of assistant coach Kevin Patrick and a victim of the Sept. 11 attacks in New York.