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Tonight

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, October 29, 2004

Scouting Rensselaer

Goaltenders (W-L-T, goals against avg., saves %): Fr. Jordan Alford (2-0-1, 2.59, 90.7%), or Sr. Andrew Martin (0-1-0, 5.23, 87.3%).

Fridgen happy: Now that the Engineers appear to have adjusted to the tight enforcement of rules concerning interference, obstruction and holding and have stayed out of the penalty box, Fridgen is happy with the play of the Engineers thus far. "From a record perspective, we're where I'd like to be, but then again, any coach would like to be unbeaten. I like what I've seen so far. I think we need to get some more scoring from different guys. I don't think we can rely on one or two guys (such as Kirk MacDonald, Kevin Croxton), or one line (Nick Economakos' line). The other lines have played well but we need to get more guys going offensively." Names that came up were sophomore winger Tommy Green and Kevin Broad, neither of whom has a point yet. "Others are going to get opportunities," Fridgen said. "With the depth that we have ... it's probably the biggest plus, knowing that I can put anybody in the lineup and (not have it) hurt the team, one way or the other."

Special teams: With referees whistling any impedance of players, especially in the neutral zone, special teams are of utmost importance. After some early troubles, RPI's units have been sharp in three recent games. The Engineers have scored 10 power play goals in 43 chances, a 23.3 efficiency mark, and that figure is held down by many chances in the Nebraska-Omaha tournament in which the power-play was horribly ineffective because players had become worn down killing repeated penalties of their own.

Andrew Martin vs. Andrew Martin?: Rensselaer backup goalie Andrew Martin probably won't be in net tonight but he stopped the River Hawks 2-1 in Lowell last year. Included among his 24 saves was a close-range wrister by Lowell left winger (and tri-captain) Andrew Martin. "I did a double take when I saw that name," RPI's Martin said.

Injuries: None

Outlook: This is a big weekend for the Engineers. Winning both games would give RPI a 5-1-1 record heading into their ECAHL openers against Clarkson and St. Lawrence next week. That mark would be the team's best seven-game start since 1999-2000 (6-1-0).

Scouting UMass-Lowell

Goaltenders (W-L-T, goals against avg., saves %): Sr. Chris Davidson (1-2-0, 2.66, 90.4%).

Even money on a 3-2 score: UMass-Lowell has played three games thus far, each decided by a 3-2 score.

'Hit the ice hard': The River Hawks jumped right into their rugged Hockey East schedule and suffered a pair of tough, 3-2 defeats to Boston College - at the time ranked No. 1 nationally - and to Massachusetts. Against BC, says Lowell head coach Blaise MacDonald, "we played very well in the first period (a 1-0 lead). Then (later) we made two turnovers to Patrick Eaves (cousin of RPI freshman Tyler Eaves) and he buried them both." In the UMass game, Stephen Warner scored the game-winner just 48 seconds into overtime on a fluttering shot that dipped under the glove of Lowell goalie Chris Davidson.

Need for the 'step-ups': MacDonald says the River Hawks are still "in the discovery mode. We only have two seniors but we're still looking to see who's going to make upgrades, who's going to re-define their games."

Shorthanded: The River Hawks have already been bitten hard by the injury Bug. They'll be without top winger Mark Pandolfo (13 goals-6 Assists-19 points last season) and standout sophomore defenseman Adam Stanieich tonight. Soph winger Todd Fletcher (1-5-6) will likely not play either.

Injuries: Jr. LW-RW Mark Pandolfo (0-1-1). back, out; So. D Adam Stanieich (0-1-1), shoulder, out; So. RW Todd Fletcher, back, doubtful.

Outlook: Look for the River Hawks to provide the Engineers with a tough chore tonight and if they can handle the RPI power play, they could pull off a mild upset.

Inside the Numbers:

Records: UMass Lowell - 0-2-0 in Hockey East, 1-2-0 overall. RPI - 0-0-0 in ECACHL, 3-1-1 overall.

Previous outing: Lowell lost to UMass, 3-2 in overtime. Rensselaer won at Army, 5-1.

Last season: Rensselaer won at Lowell's Tsongas Arena, 2-1.

All-time series: Rensselaer leads series, 9-8-1.

Power play: Lowell - 7-of-31, 22.6 percent. RPI - 10-of-43, 23.3 percent.

Penalty killing: Lowell - 18-of-20, 90.0 percent. RPI - 39-of-44, 88.6 percent.