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Eizenman Happy to Be Back on Ice

By Ken Schott

Schenectady Daily Gazette, February 5, 2005

TROY - Oren Eizenman is a firm believer in the sophomore jinx, after what he has gone through this season.

The second-year Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute center returned to the lineup last weekend after missing eight games with pneumonia. It was the second time that illness forced Eizenman out of the lineup; he missed three games because of a nasal infection.

"This has been the toughest year of hockey, by far," said Eizenman, who will play in his first home game in two months when the Engineers host Holy Cross tonight at 7 at Houston Field House. "It's never come to such a struggle. I've been sick all year."

The problems began at the beginning of the season with his nasal problems. He didn't treat it.

"It really hindered my play for a long time," said Eizenman, who has four goals and eight assists this season after collecting six goals and 12 assists last year.

After missing games against Yale, Princeton and Robert Morris, Eizenman returned to the lineup Nov. 27 against Air Force. He played in the next five games, and had a goal an assist in a 3-3 tie at Brown Dec. 3.

But while at Notre Dame New Year's weekend, Eizenman's health took a turn for the worse.

"When we went to Notre Dame, I was feeling fine," Eizenman said. "I went through the break, and I was feeling great when I came back. I felt like I was flying. I felt like I was back to my old self."

"In Notre Dame, I woke up one morning, and I didn't feel like I was sick, but I felt like I was getting sick. Then I went and practiced. Right after I practiced, I ran into the [locker] room and threw up. Right then, I knew something wasn't right."

After being diagnosed with pneumonia, Eizenman went home to Toronto to recuperate. He ended up losing 11 pounds during his illness.

Eizenman played both games last weekend at Vermont and Dartmouth. He nearly scored in the final seconds of the Vermont game, but goalie Joe Fallon stopped it to preserve the Catamounts' 3-2 win.

"I still felt like I was going at 70 percent," Eizenman said. "The first period was a little bit strange because I hadn't played a game for a month and 17 days. Just to be out there, and be in the play and get a feel for it, it was great. I felt like I got better and better as the game went on. Hopefully, that will continue through this weekend and through the rest of the year. I missed doing things I could do."

RPI coach Dan Fridgen is happy to have Eizenman back in the lineup.

"It certainly gives us some depth at the center position," Fridgen said. "He's been one of our top six forwards in the beginning of the year. He's still not quite 100 percent. Energy and strength are still a factor. But to get him back in the lineup, he's a good player. He's good on the faceoffs. He gives another guy to put up there after Kirk MacDonald."