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RPI Lets Victory Slip Away

Engineers' Third Straight OT Game Ends with Tie vs. Brown

By Bill Arsenault

Albany Times Union, January 5, 2002

TROY - The Eastern College Athletic Conference hockey race appears to be up for grabs. That means that teams have to win the games they should win.

That didn't happen here Friday night as RPI had to settle for a 2-2 overtime tie with Brown before a crowd of 2,910 in Houston Field House.

The tie left RPI with a 2-2-2 ECAC record (7-5-2 overall) going into its game against first-place Harvard here tonight at 7.

"You have games like that," RPI coach Dan Fridgen said. "It's not like Brown is a terrible team. We had some good opportunities but we couldn't capitalize. And, we picked up some penalties at the wrong time. We have to play smarter than that."

RPI led 2-1 late in the game, but Brown scored on a power play with 15:17 remaining when Shane Mudryk powered a shot past RPI goalie Kevin Kurk to tie the game. Paul Esdale and Brent Robinson assisted on the play.

The Engineers took 63 shots but put just 34 on goal, forcing Brown goalie Yann Danis to make 32 saves.

"We've got to work harder on hitting the net," RPI's Marc Cavosie said. "I know, myself, that I hit some shots right at the goalie and other shots that went by the goal. We're making it easy for the goalies. You have to win the games you should win and I think we let one of those slip away tonight."

RPI scored before the crowd, smaller than usual because students are still on vacation, could get comfortable. Freshman Matt McNeely scored with 1:03 gone in the first period on a pass from Conrad Barnes, the play set up by a solid blockout by Eric Cavosie. It was the first goal of McNeely's college career and the third straight game that a freshman has scored his first goal for RPI. C.J. Hanafin and Blake Pickett were the others.

"I think the freshmen are starting to get used to our style of play," Marc Cavosie said. "It's nice to see that."

But Brown (4-6-2, 3-4-2 ECAC) tied it with 9:19 remaining on a goal by Pascal Denis, assisted by Mike Meech and Jason Wilson.

The second period was all RPI. The Engineers outshot the Bears 22-13 and Kurk had to make just four saves. Matt Murley, who returned to action after missing five games with mononucleosis, put RPI ahead 3:33 into the period. Jim Vickers passed to Barnes, who battled a pair of Brown defenders in front of the net. The puck dribbled out and Murley slammed it home.

"Matt's back," Fridgen said. "Give him credit. He did everything he had to do to get back on the ice and he was ready to play."

Murley admitted he was getting tired in the end, but will be ready to face Harvard tonight.

"I'll drink a lot of liquid tonight and get a good night's sleep and I'll be ready to go tomorrow," Murley said.

Friday's overtime was the third straight for the Engineers, who had to work overtime to win both games of its recently-concluded tournament.

"We had Brown on the run, but those penalties in the end did us in," Fridgen said. "We let Brown back into the game. That hasn't been a problem up to now, but now it is."

RPI had beaten Brown six straight times entering Friday night's game. On the flip side, Harvard defeated RPI twice last season.

"Harvard is a good team and we'll have our hands full," Fridgen said.