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In the Crease: Union vs. RPI

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, November 12, 2004

Scouting RPI

Goaltenders (W-L-T, goals against avg., saves %): Fr. Jordan Alford (2-1-1, 2.95, 89.1%), r Sr. Andrew Martin (3-2-0, 2.43, 90.5%).

Come out stronger: Many hockey teams have fewer goals during the opening period than they do in either of the other two. Get this though: Rensselaer has outscored its opposition 15-6 in the second period and 15-10 in the third, but the Engineers have scored just seven first-period goals while permitting nine. It's caught the attention of both coaches and players. "It's something we're addressing this week," said co-captain Nick Economakos.

Croxton, noting RPI has outshot the opposition 98-71 during the first period, says that teh Engineers need to bear down more.

"The games I can remember, we're getting a lot of chances in the first period but they're just not going in for some reason," Croxton said. "All the (games) I can think of, we're having tons of shots, tons of chances. Hopefully, they'll start going in for us."

No taking Union lightly: Some RPI seniors, while not flatly admitting that RPI may have taken Union lightly in the past, say they certainly don't do so now. "We don't underestimate them," right winger Chris Hussey said. "They always come out real hard against us no matter what kind of season they're having. I think that's the main difference. We don't underestimate them."

Croxton will keep shooting: The lanky Calgary native has led the Engineers in goals and scoring in each of his two previous seasons. He has only four goals in nine games this season and two of those are empty-netters. Not to worry, though, Croxton is tied (with linemate Economakos) for the league lead in assists with 11, feeding the red hot Kirk MacDonald on the RPI power play. Also, Croxton, with 38, has only one fewer shots on goal than does MacDonald, who leads ECACHL players in goals with 10.

Injuries: none

Notes: Rensselaer defensemen have totaled seven goals thus far. Union has yet to get a goal from a blueliner. ... Last week's loss to St. Lawrence marked the first time in five games RPI was beaten while having scored the game's first goal (4-1-0). ... The Engineers have lost four straight to St. Lawrence and Union has beated the Saints on the same weekend in each instance. ... Fourteen different RPI players have scored at least one goal this season.

Scouting Union

Goaltenders (W-L-T, goals against avg., saves %): Fr. Justin Mrazek (1-2-0, 1.36, 95.1%) or Jr. Kris Mayotte (2-3-0, 3.81, 88.8%).

Stepped up attack: Usually, when an ECAC Hockey League team begins league play, its offensive output goes down. Not Union thus far this year. The Dutchmen totaled just 10 goals in a 1-5-0 non-league start against Colorado College (twice), Bowling Green (twice), Mercyhurst and UMass-Lowell. Last week, though, while sweeping St. Lawrence and Clarkson in their ECACHL openers, the Dutchmen totaled 10 goals. "We got some bounces last weekend and we took advantage of them," said Dutchmen captain and goal-scoring leader Jordan Webb.

Young team?: Yes, quite young in some regards. The Dutchmen have 17 of their top 18 scorers back from last season's team, but Union is still considered a young team because the Dutchmen are so young on defense, especially with senior Matt Vagvolgyi out. "We're really young," Leaman said. "We're relying on two freshmen (Phil McDavitt, Michael Beynon) and two sophomores (Sean Streich, Jason Ortolano) back there and we only have one senior (defenseman) in the lineup. They have to grow with the season and it takes time. Just about every game we've had at least seven freshmen in the lineup and against Bowling Green we had nine."

Who's hot: Jordan Webb, with five goals and two assists over the past four games, is by far the hottest Dutchman. Junior right winger Jonathan Poirier is 2-2-4 over the past four, while junior C Scott Seney is 1-3-4. Freshman winger Josh Coyle is 2-1-3 over the past three but missed the Clarkson game.

Injuries: Sr. D Mat Vogvolgyi (7-12-19 last season), concussion, out; Fr. C-RW Torren DelForte (0-1-1), knee, out.

Inside the Numbers

Records (ECACHL-overall): Union 2-0-0, 3-5-0 overall. RPI 1-1-0, 5-3-1.

Previous outing: Union beat Clarkson, 4-1. Rensselaer lost to St. Lawrence, 3-2.

Past 5 outings: Union is 3-2-0. Rensselaer is 3-2-0.

Last season's meetings: RPI won at Houston Field House, 5-1; RPI won at Messa Rink, 3-1.

All-time series: Rensselaer leads series, 41-10-6.

Power play: Union - 10-of-55, 18.2 percent. RPI - 19-of-84, 22.6 percent.

Penalty killing: Union - 52-of-60, 86.7 percent. RPI - 64-of-74, 86.5 percent.