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Fridgen Tops RPI Win List

By Ken Schott

Schenectady Daily Gazette, October 31, 2004

TROY - Move over, Mike Addesa. Youíre no longer No. 1 among Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute hockey coaches for most wins in a career.

Dan Fridgen went past Addesa Saturday night, becoming the schoolís all-time winningest coach when the Engineers beat Mercyhurst, 5-0, at Houston Field House.

Fridgen, in his 11th year as the Engineersí head coach, has a career record of 187-156-31. Addesa was 186-124-9 from 1979-89.

The team celebrated Fridgenís milestone with a cake in the locker room.

"It feels good to get it out of the way," said Fridgen, who started at RPI in 1989 as an assistant coach under Buddy Powers. "How fitting we do it in a nonconference game, so now we can concentrate on league play coming up [next] weekend."

"Thereís some satisfaction to it. Iíll probably enjoy it more when Iím even grayer than I am with less hair than I have right now."

Fridgen also thought getting the win over Mercyhurst was fitting because it came with Lakers coach Rick Gotkin in the building. Gotkin was a former RPI assistant coach under Addesa from 1986-88 before he took over the Mercyhurst program.

"Itís awesome," Gotkin said of Fridgen passing Addesa. "Heís a great guy. Heís a great coach. How can you not be happy for Dan Fridgen. Everybody likes Dan. He does a great job with his program."

The Engineers were equally happy for their coach.

"Itís a huge accomplishment, especially with the other coaches that RPIís had," said goalie Andrew Martin, who made 16 saves to earn his first career RPI shutout. "For him to surpass them all in [over] 10 years is just amazing. Everyone wanted to go out and get him that win very bad."

Chris Hussey snapped a scoreless tie 30 seconds into the second period. He picked up a loose puck at the Mercyhurst blue line, and Oren Eizenman, who was on the right side of the blue line, barely stayed onside. That allowed Hussey to break in and fire a wrist shot past goalie Andy Franckís glove.

"I think I caught the D-man flat-footed," Hussey said. "I got the puck, went around him and the goalie dropped his shoulder a little bit. I just put [the puck] above it."

That triggered a three-goal period. Kevin Croxton scored on a wraparound with 5:08 left, and Alexander Valentin scored his first goal of the season during an RPI two-man advantage with 3:24 to go.

Kirk MacDonald and Kevin Broad scored in the third period.