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Third-period Rally Carries RPI

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, October 22, 2005

BOSTON - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was on the verge of being blown out by Boston University Friday night.

Then the Engineers dug deep, scored a few goals on some outstanding individual efforts, rode the stellar goaltending of freshman Mathias Lange and posted one of the most satisfying non-league victories in recent memory.

Kevin Broad and Kevin Croxton scored third-period goals and Lange stopped 29 shots as the Engineers, trailing by two in the second period, rallied back for a 3-2 decision over the 12th-ranked Terriers. In both their victories this young season, the 2-2-0 Engineers have trailed, 2-0.

Despite being outshot 31-13 and being totally dominated in the first period, the Engineers defeated a ranked team for the first time in nearly two years.

Don't go moving RPI up four or five notches on your ECAC Hockey League projected standings just yet, but this was a huge win against a veteran team.

"With us being down 2-0 for the second straight game," Lange said, "it'll do a lot for us. A win against BU is huge for any team and I think we'll build off it."

The victory ended RPI's five-game losing streak to BU, a streak that it appeared would stay intact as the Terriers threw a net around the Engineers early.

Rensselaer coach Dan Fridgen admitted he wondered if the team could withstand BU's onslaught, even though the Terriers didn't score until John Laliberte tallied with just 1:51 remaining in the period.

"Any time you can withstand a (opening) ten minutes like that," Fridgen said, "I'll tell you, they really came out buzzing around our net. Langer made a couple real key saves. I thought they were really taking it to us ... but I didn't see the whole first period that way (dominant)."

"They were beating us to the puck in our own end," Fridgen said. "But we kept our composure, got one back and really came out hard in the third."

Lange made big saves on Ryan Weston and Kenny Roche in the first period, the Terriers hit the post twice and shot wide on several good chances.

Late in the game, Lange came up big against Laliberte and Clifton Park's Peter MacArthur.

The Engineers, meanwhile went nearly their first five minutes of power-play time without a shot on goal, as BU penalty-killers forechecked them effectively, they blanketed them in their own zone.

"No, we weren't worried," center Oren Eizenman said. "I didn't even realize that until (it was mentioned). We were getting a lot of shots blocked - give (BU) credit. And (Jake) Luthi made one pass to me that the goalie tipped; that's a goal if he didn't. We weren't worried about it, we just kept working."

"Once we settled down," said Fridgen, "we made some nice plays, especially on Croxy's. That started behind our own net. He made a nice cut at center ice and (scored on) a great shot."

Croxton took a pass from Jonathan Ornelas, skated down the left slot, held a defenseman at bay with a slue-foot and lofted a hard backhander over BU goalie John Curry and off the underside of the crossbar to put the Engineers on top at 5:41.

Earlier in the period, the right-handed Broad took a pass at the blue line from Ryan Swanson, went in on a 2-on-1 with Mathieu Angers-Goulet on his right, waited as glided in on Curry and rifled a wrist shot past him to tie the score at 2-2.

"Swanny made a good feed," Broad said, "and skating in, I was (planning on) shooting that thing. I think it was just inside the hash marks. I just dropped my shoulder and let it fly. I was figuring top left (corner) on the way down the ice and he (Curry) went down and that's where it went."

The blast beat Curry badly but Broad said he didn't notice.

"No, I didn't," he said. "I just wanted to get that puck on net and fortunately, it went in."

Eizenman stole the puck near the RPI blue line, skated up the ice and centered to defenseman Alexander Valentin, who chipped one off Curry's arm and into the net to slice the Terriers' lead to 2-1 at 7:46 of the second.

The Engineers host Army in their home opener at 2 p.m. Sunday.