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Terriers Too Quick for Engineers

By Jon Paul Morosi

Albany Times Union, December 12, 2004

TROY - Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to call his brother an Oompa Loompa.

On Wednesday, RPI fans taunted 5-foot-6, 170-pound Providence forward Tony Zancanaro with a sing-song chant that placed him among Willy Wonka's stout, green-haired minions. They laughed some more when the Engineers rallied to win.

On Saturday, his twin brother exacted a measure of filial revenge. Brad Zancanaro - himself 5-foot-5, 167 pounds - scored twice as RPI was out-quicked, out-skated and outshot by Boston University, 4-1, before 3,438 at Houston Field House.

"I got 'em back," said Zancanaro, smiling. "Speed-wise, we were really moving tonight."

The Engineers weren't, in what was a fitting coda to this clunker of a first half. Only Keith MCWilliams' slapper at 11:54 kept the Engineers from being shut out. They began the semester 5-2-1 but ended it 8-9-2.

"Everybody on our team is pretty disappointed," said co-captain Nick Economakos. "At the beginning of the season, we all had high expectations."

RPI coach Dan Fridgen said, "You have your defense, your forwards and your goaltender. If you ask if we played well in all three areas so far, I'd say no."

Andrew Martin made 29 saves for RPI. He was not slated to start Saturday, but Jordan Alford came down with the flu. Martin learned he would start at noon.

The Engineers had rushes and open nets in the first period but duffed many of them. After that, Zancanaro and mates were left to slice up the RPI zone. Clifton Park native Peter MacArthur assisted on Chris Bourque's third-period goal to give the Terriers a 4-0 lead. About 50 of MacArthur's friends and family stood and applauded.

"I had an absolute ball out there," MacArthur said. "It's nice to know I have that kind of support."

Zancanaro's first goal was a beauty. He barreled toward MCWilliams, 1-on-1, yo-yoed it underneath the defender's stick and put a strong shot on net. Martin saved it but juggled the rebound. Zancanaro squeezed past MCWilliams a second time, reached, and poked it over the line for a 1-0 lead. He added another in the second for a 2-0 lead, the type of ability Economakos saw when the two were teammates in the United States Hockey League.

"We traded him my second year of juniors, and I never understood that," Economakos said. "I've always thought he was a great little player."

The game included fisticuffs near the end. With 1:09 left, BU goaltender John Curry, who had fumbled his stick, met RPI winger Kevin Broad along the boards. Broad checked Curry, who responded by swiping his blocker at him. Grab your partners. No serious fighting resulted, although Bourque and Mark Yurkewecz paired up apart from the pack and left with double-minors for roughing.

The run-in was precipitated by a confrontation between RPI's Vic Pereira and Curry minutes earlier, which included mutual contact. Pereira was hit with a 5-minute cross-checking major and game misconduct.

"It's always hard when somebody hits your goalie," Zancanaro said. "One of those hits (Broad's) might've been legal, since he was out of the safe zone, but you can't let your goalie get hit like that."

Economakos acknowledged that "you never want a goalie to become involved in the play" but also said, "In a season where we're lacking some emotion, hopefully we can build upon something like this."

The Engineers' next game is New Year's Night. Whatever passions simmered Saturday likely will be forgotten by then. In their place will be a desperate need for the "consistent, complete games" Fridgen said he seeks.