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Fatigue, Penalties Cost Engineers in Opener

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, October 16, 2005

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Dan Fridgen knew his Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute hockey team would have trouble with stamina during the third period of Friday night's late game with Alaska-Anchorage.

Surrendering four goals in less than eight minutes was more than his most pessimistic outlook could have imagined.

The Engineers lost their legs while the period went on and dropped a 6-3 decision in their Nye Frontier Classic opener.

Chris Hussey scored two goals for the Engineers and RPI actually gained a 2-2 just 2:14 into the third period on Hussey's shorthanded blast above the shoulder of UAA goalie Nate Lawson.

The Engineers, still not totally adjusted to the four-hour time difference, couldn't establish much momentum from Hussey's clutch play, however. At 9:12, defenseman Shane Lovdahl beat RPI goalie Jordan Alford with a drive from the top of the slot on a power play and the flood gates opened.

Six different Seawolves scored goals and defenseman Mat Robinson assisted on four of them.

Fridgen said that, tired or not, having chased the quicker Seawolves for 40 minutes, penalties were a bigger problem than any lingering effect of jet lag.

"The guys lost their legs a little bit but we had to kill off a lot of penalties," he said. "I thought we got the momentum when Hussey scored that shorthanded goal. Then, the next thing you know, we go back in the (penalty) box and they get a power-play goal, took the momentum back and just rode it from that point on."

Alford was sharp and the Engineers resilient during a major penalty early in the second period when the Seawolves put on repeated pressure. Alford stopped 15 shots in the period, seven during that major, but that penalty, coupled with the fact that defenseman Keith MCWilliams was assessed a game misconduct for checking from behind, compounded the Engineers' fatigue factor.

"Yeah, coming out here all this way and it's only our second game of the season," Fridgen said. "Guys are still getting their legs underneath them and we go down to five (defensemen) early in the second period. That's tough, but I thought we handled it pretty well - except for the penalties."