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RPI Out to Upset New Hampshire

Engineers Need Big Game in Home Opener

By Tim Wilkin

Albany Times Union, October 20, 2001

TROY - RPI has done this drill before. The Engineers open their home season at 7 tonight when they play host to the University of New Hampshire of Hockey East at Houston Field House.

The Wildcats are ranked sixth in the nation among Division I hockey teams.

That doesn't bother RPI. Two years ago, the Engineers traveled to Durham, N.H., to play the Wildcats when they were ranked fourth in the nation.

RPI didn't blink, winning 6-0.

"Boy, that seems like it was a long time ago," said RPI junior Carson Butterwick, who had two goals in that game. "I know they were ranked high, definitely ahead of us, but we were ready."

Butterwick said he and his RPI mates are aware that the Wildcats are once again among the elite in the nation, but they won't be worried about that.

RPI coach Dan Fridgen probably could have found an easier opponent to open the home season with, but that's not what he wanted to do.

"The way college hockey is today, I don't know if you could bring in any opponent and consider it an easy game," Fridgen said. "New Hampshire is a good, solid hockey team and I know one thing: they are fast. The play on an Olympic-size sheet (ice surface), so, yeah, they will be very fast."

Fridgen and the Engineers are still trying to get over what transpired in RPI's' opener last week at Boston University. RPI stumbled out of the gate, falling behind 6-1 to the Terriers after two periods.

RPI made it interesting in the final period before losing 6-5.

"We had a nice 10 or 12 minutes in the third period," Butterwick said. "But, overall, the game was really disappointing. The only good thing is that we kept our heads up and kept working. We didn't think that the game was over after the second period. I would hope we would never do that."

Fridgen was happy with the RPI comeback but he might get ill if the Engineers were to play as they did during the first two periods in Boston. Normally steady goalie Nathan Marsters had a tough opener as he allowed all six of the goals while stopping 35 other shots.

With 16:17 left in the game, Marsters was pulled in favor of fellow sophomore Kevin Kurk, who stopped all 13 shots he saw.

That was a good sign. So to was the performance of Marc Cavosie of Cohoes, who had three of RPI's goals. Senior Andrew McPherson had three assists.

There was bad stuff, though. Before the night was over, RPI would be assessed 23 penalties for 57 minutes. Sophomore Scott Basiuk had three penalties for 17 minutes and was kicked out of the game for throwing a punch. That will keep him out of the lineup tonight. Junior Nolan Graham was in the penalty box five times.

"I really thought we beat ourselves when we played BU," Fridgen said. "We have to be more disciplined. You're not going to win too many games when you are getting 57 minutes in penalties."

On specialty teams, RPI wasn't bad. RPI scored one power-play goal and had two short-handed scores.

The penalty killing excelled as BU had only one power play in 11 chances.

"You never like to say one game is more important that another," Butterwick said. "But it's always nice to play the first game of the year in front of the home fans. You always want to put on a good show for them."

TEAM RECORDS: New Hampshire 2-0-0 (1-0-0 Hockey East), RPI 0-1-0 (0-0-0 ECAC)

LAST MEETING: RPI, 6-0, Oct. 29, 1999, in Durham, N.H.

NOTABLE: New Hampshire is ranked sixth in the country in both the USA Today/American Hockey Association poll and U.S. College Hockey Online poll. ... RPI will be without sophomore defenseman Scott Basiuk, who must sit out a game for throwing a punch in RPI's 6-5 loss at Boston University last Saturday. ... RPI coach Dan Fridgen said he is unsure who will be in goal tonight. He will have to pick between sophomores Nathan Marsters and Kevin Kurk. ... New Hampshire beat Hockey East foe Merrimack 6-3 Thursday night at home.