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RPI Victory Lifts Fridgen to Career Milestone

Power Play, Lange's Saves Carry Coach to 200th Win

By Matt Graves

Albany Times Union, October 24, 2005

TROY - Sunday was a special day for RPI hockey coach Dan Fridgen, largely thanks to his special teams.

With every goal coming from his special teams, RPI gave Fridgen his 200th career victory in a 4-0 nonleague victory over Army in front of 2,511 fans at Houston Field House as freshman goalie Mathias Lange earned his first collegiate shutout.

"Take a look at the gray hair; that's how it feels," Fridgen joked after the Engineers (3-2) completed a 2-0 weekend after stunning Boston University on Friday. "I feel very, very fortunate to have had a lot of good players, a lot of good teams, and some excellent assistant coaches as well. It's team victory number 200."

Fridgen, whose career record is 200-178-32, unselfishly parted with the game puck despite the landmark win in his 12th season at RPI, making sure that the Austrian goaltender had a proper souvenir from his own memorable afternoon.

"Langer got it," said Fridgen, who became RPI's all-time winningest coach last season and received his own souvenir when wife Kary presented him with a bouquet of flowers and some balloons in the school colors of cherry and white. "He was on top of his game, and that was just a carry-over of his focus on Friday night."

RPI built on a 1-0 first-period lead with three power-play goals in the middle stanza, in which it sent 19 shots at Army goalie Brad Roberts. Junior Oren Eizenman knocked in a rebound in traffic in front only 59 seconds into the period on a carry-over penalty from the first to make it 2-0.

The Engineers scored at 7:48 when Kevin Broad deflected a drive by Keith McWilliams past Roberts. Then, freshman Seth Klerer picked up his second of the season outside the right post off a nice feed from Troy's Mark Yurkewecz behind the net at 18:04. That was all they needed with Lange keeping the red light off behind him for 60 minutes.

"It's always nice to get the first shutout in your college career," said Lange, who had to make only 14 saves and was never in serious trouble. "It's also always nice to help someone get to a milestone."

RPI scored its third short-handed goal of the young season when freshman Matt Angers-Goulet wristed a long drive through traffic from between the circles at 7:35 of the first period for a 1-0 lead on his first collegiate goal. Kevin Broad stole the puck and set up the rookie.

The Engineers (3-2-0), who came into the game only 2-for-15 with the man advantage, went 3-for-8 in this one with defenseman Bard Farynuk contributing assists on two of his team's goals. Army, a member of Atlantic Hockey, fell to 0-4.

"It's great to be a part of that milestone," said forward Kevin Croxton, who had an assist and now has seven points (3-4) in five games to lead RPI. "It means a lot to us, too. I've been here four years, which means we've won a few games for him (51 to be exact)."

Fridgen was just as happy to get the two wins this weekend for the sake of the team's confidence.

"It would have been nice to get a 5-on-5 goal, but we'll take the three power-play goals and a short-hander," Fridgen said. "I'm happy the way the guys played. We came out and played real sharp."