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Engineers Up to Speed

By Ken Schott

Schenectady Daily Gazette, October 21, 2005

The road isn’t getting any easier for the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute men’s hockey team.

After traveling over 8,000 miles to and from Alaska and earning a split in last weekend’s Nye Frontier Classic, the Engineers will have a round-trip bus excursion totaling over 300 miles to Boston, where they will face 12th-ranked Boston University tonight at 7 at Harry Agganis Arena.

The Engineers (1-2) lost to host Alaska-Anchorage, 6-3, in last Friday’s tournament opener, and then rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat Michigan Tech, 4-3, on Saturday.

RPI returned to Troy late Sunday. The players didn’t practice Monday, and returned to the ice Tuesday and Wednesday. After practice Thursday, the Engineers left for Boston.

The players are finally getting their body clocks adjusted back to Eastern time. There is a four-hour time difference between the Capital Region and Alaska.

"I know I was still waking up in Alaska time, and going to bed in Alaska time," said RPI senior forward Kevin Croxton, who had a goal and two assists in the win over Michigan Tech. "Somebody told me that for every hour difference, it takes about a day to get used to it. We’re almost ready for it. We’ll be ready [tonight], and I know guys are excited to get into [BU’s] new rink."

RPI coach Dan Fridgen believes the players will be all right when the puck drops tonight.

"We’ve had an extra day to get back here and adjust," Fridgen said. "However, I will say it was a factor when we first arrived in Alaska, considering we were playing a game at what our normal time would have been midnight that Friday night game. That was more difficult than coming back."

It certainly won’t be an easy time for RPI, which has lost the last five meetings with BU (1-0), including last year’s 4-1 defeat at Houston Field House.

The Terriers, who beat Hockey East foe UMass-Lowell, 3-1, in their season opener last Saturday, reached the NCAA tournament last year.

They are led by sophomore forward and Clifton Park native Peter MacArthur, who scored two goals in the win over UMass-Lowell.

"They’ve got more talented forwards, and their defense is good," Fridgen said. "It’s going to be a step up in tempo that we’ve seen already. We just have to play a real smart game, we have to play a real disciplined game and we just have to make sure we’re not giving them any odd-man rushes. We aren’t going to be able to take chances and push the envelope like we might do against another opponent."

RPI WOMEN ON ROAD

The RPI women’s team seeks to continue its good start in its inaugural Division I season when it travels to Moon Township, Pa., to take on another new Division I team, Robert Morris. Games are tonight and Saturday at 7:35.

The Engineers, playing as an independent this season, are 3-0-1. They are coming off last weekend’s win and tie against Colgate. They beat the Raiders, 3-2, in overtime in Hamilton, and then earned a 1-1 tie Saturday at Houston Field House.

Goalie Rosina Schiff was defensive player of the week by USCHO.com. She made 69 saves in the two games.