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RPI Fans Are Facing a Late Night

Game at Alaska-Anchorage Will Be on Radio, Starting after Midnight

By Matt Graves

Albany Times Union, October 14, 2005

TROY - The RPI hockey team took off Wednesday morning on its longest road trip of the season to play in this weekend's Nye Frontier Classic in Anchorage, Alaska.

The Engineers haven't played a team from the country's 49th state since 1986 when they lost to Alaska-Fairbanks in the RPI Holiday Tournament. Their only other meeting with an opponent from "The Last Frontier" state also occurred in Troy in 1981, when RPI defeated tonight's opponent, Alaska-Anchorage, in a regular-season game.

The Engineers took off Wednesday from Albany International Airport, flew to Chicago and then on to Denver before heading north for the tournament. Tonight's game doesn't begin until after midnight Eastern time, but certainly RPI's most dedicated student fans will be sitting by the radio.

"It's always good to get on the road and get to be together as a group and hang out together," said senior co-captain Kevin Croxton. "Doing it in Alaska -- I can't think of much better places to do it."

The trip will be a virtual homecoming for RPI junior defenseman Jake Luthi, who grew up in Palmer, only 43 miles away. Luthi, last year's Most Improved Player, figures to have his fair share of fans in the stands.

"It will be great for him to get home," said Croxton, who had a goal and an assist in last Sunday's 5-3 loss to Lowell in the season opener. Two days earlier, Croxton put up four points in a 13-3 exhibition rout of Ottawa.

This will also be a reunion for RPI athletic director Ken Ralph, a graduate of Alaska-Anchorage, who will be inducted into the college's athletic Hall of Fame on Sunday. He was a champion swimmer.

There is a four-hour time difference from Troy to Anchorage, but Croxton believes it won't be a problem once the team gets past the jet-lag phase of its trip.

"Some guys are from the West Coast," he said. "It is a long travel day, but we find things to do in the airports. We'll stay busy and have some fun on the way out there."

And hopefully come back to Troy with their first win of the season, maybe even a tournament title.

Tough start: Union College may want to re-think another trip to Colorado for its season opener next season.

The Dutchmen were pounded by Colorado College and Air Force, being outscored 15-3 in the two games in the IceBreaker Tournament. The Dutchmen were swept by Colorado College last year to open the season, but played a lot better in a pair of 4-2 setbacks.

Things should get a little easier for Union this weekend against a pair of Atlantic Hockey foes coming off losing seasons last year, Sacred Heart and UConn.

Ice chips: Croxton and Union sophomore Josh Coyle were named to the ECAC honor roll for their play last weekend.