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RPI Engineers Comeback

Down 4-0 After First, Team Overtakes Northeastern

By Buzz Gray

Albany Times Union, October 29, 2005

TROY - Somebody forgot to tell the RPI Engineers that a 4-0 deficit is almost always too much to overcome.

So, they simply shrugged their shoulders and erased a poor first period with a marvelous second one.

When the ice chips had settled, RPI was in possession of an unlikely 7-5 victory over Northeastern in a nonleague college hockey game Friday night at Houston Field House.

"When you dig a hole, it's certainly an uphill battle," RPI coach Dan Fridgen said.

Yet these young Engineers have come back to win three games after trailing by two goals or more. Friday's effort was really pushing the envelope, however.

After the Huskies put four unanswered goals up on the scoreboard in the first 20 minutes, RPI answered with five consecutive tallies in the second period.

Thanks in big part to Kevin Croxton's goal and four assists, plus Jonathan Ornelas' two goals and an assist, the Engineers (4-2-0) won their fourth in a row.

"I was sitting on the bench early in the second period thinking that we really needed only one (goal)," Croxton said. "And, when we got it, it really got us rolling."

Ornelas' first goal, during a 5-on-3 RPI advantage at 2:25 of the second period, was like a spark in a gas tank.

The Engineers' offense just exploded as Chris Hussey, Jake Morissette, Oren Eizenman and Brad Farynuk found the way through the suddenly shaky Northeastern defense. Farynuk's goal, which gave RPI a 5-4 lead, came with one second remaining in the second period.

"The ice seemed to be slanted at that end during those first two periods," Croxton said about the nine goals scored in the southern end of the rink.

Northeastern (0-3-1), which scored a total of two goals in its first three games, erupted for four in the first period against the Engineers.

The Huskies of Hockey East found their touch when they beat RPI goalie Mathias Lange 9:31 into the contest and struck again three more times within the next 10 minutes.

Sophomore Jimmy Russo scored twice, while freshmen Joe Vitale and Matti Uusivirta each recorded their first college goals during the Huskies' 14-shot outburst in the period.

Jordan Alford replaced Lange in goal to start the second period for the Engineers. He faced only five routine shots while RPI was unloading 16 on Northeastern's Adam Geragosian at the other end.

But Alford proved equal to the task when he was called upon to make several difficult saves early in the third period.

Even when Northeastern scored at 14:54 of the third period to tie it at 5, the Engineers answered back with the game winner less than a minute later.

For Fridgen, it was an uplifting victory. "I was pleased that everybody stayed positive after that first period," he said.

Evidently, that's what these Engineers do best.