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RPI Brushes Past Colgate

Engineers Hold On in ECAC Opener

By Matt Graves

Albany Times Union, November 10, 2001

HAMILTON - RPI's first ECAC game of the 2001-02 hockey season will go into the books as a "W," but it might also qualify under "U," for ugly.

The Engineers got a go-ahead goal from Nolan Graham at 5:20 of the second period and their recently vulnerable defense made it stand up in a 2-1 victory over Colgate.

"It was a typical ECAC road win," said RPI coach Dan Fridgen, who used to make life miserable for his current team two decades ago as a star winger for Colgate. "It wasn't pretty, it was ugly, but when you're on the road, they're not supposed to be pretty."

The Engineers were outhustled, outhit and outshot (12-1) in the third period, but sophomore goalie Kevin Kurk kept them from losing the league opener against the unheralded Red Raiders (1-5-0, 0-1-0) with some timely saves.

"We knew they were gonna be coming," said Kurk, who made 28 saves. "It was their first ECAC game, so we figured they'd be coming. There was a defensive breakdown (on Colgate's only goal), but the guys rebounded well. I put it out of my mind. You can't let goals like that bother you."

The Engineers got on the board quickly and it looked like this might be another blowout loss for the Red Raiders, who were embarrassed 8-0 and 9-0 before winning their first game last weekend.

Colgate gave RPI a power play in the first minute of play and senior captain Matt Murley wasted no time taking advantage of it. The Troy native scored his team-leading sixth goal of the season on a slap shot from the slot off a nice feed from Marc Cavosie at 1:07. It was RPI's seventh power-play goal in five games.

"Coach has been on me all week to shoot more," said Murley, who played a solid game that included a secondary assist on the winning goal and some timely penalty killing. "It's great to get the first win in the league. It worked out all right. It's a great start for the league."

's score would be RPI's lone power-play goal of the night, as five more man-advantages proved fruitless when the Engineers (2-3-0, 1-0-0) had a chance to get some breathing room.

"You can't let the penalty killers outplay the power-play guys," Fridgen said after greeting several old Colgate friends. "I think that's what was happening. I found we were moving the puck too much and not shooting enough earlier in the game."

Colgate 19 seconds into the second period, when Etienne Morin tucked in a cross-ice pass in the left slot. But the Engineers answered with what proved to be the game winner from Graham scored from the right slot off a nice assist by Hamish Cunning.

"Hamish made an awesome play to keep it in," Murley said. "He deserves all the credit for that goal."

It would be enough despite a Colgate onslaught in the final 20 minutes.

"I thought at one point they were coming at us very, very hard," Fridgen said. "We just had to weather the storm. You're going to get that on the road. I thought we played well enough to win. (Colgate) is a very, very young team (six freshmen). They're going to be a good hockey team."

The Engineers travel tonight to nearby Cornell, a 5-0 winner Friday night over Union.