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Eizenman Healthy, Offense Better

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, November 3, 2005

TROY - Oren Eizenman certainly isn't regarded as a big scorer, having totaled 12 goals and 38 points in 64 games in his first two seasons at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

It's hard to overstate just how much the Engineers missed Eizenman last year when he was slowed during a half-dozen games, then missed 10 more with a bout with mononucleosis.

The offense in general, and the power play in particular, were hampered a great deal when Eizenman was sidelined because he was the team's only true center.

The Engineers are averaging a shade under 4.0 goals per game, after averaging 2.68 per game last season.

Eizenman is second on the team in assists with six and in scoring with nine points (3-6-9).

"Oren's been playing great," said leading scorer and linemate Kevin Croxton. "What a difference it is having him healthy."

After having what he called a "good year for a freshman" (6-12-18 in 37 games), Eizenman expected a big sophomore season of himself. So did RPI fans.

"Last year, I was really sick and had a tough year compared to what I was expecting," the Toronto native said. "I missed about a third of the season. I'm really looking to bounce back this year."

In 27 games, a half dozen of which he likely was too weak to play, Eizenman had six goals and 14 assists.

In one 16-game stretch in which Eizenman either sat out or played despite his illness, the Engineers scored only 29 goals and went 5-10-1. One of the victories was a 2-0 decision over first-year program Robert Morris U.

"It hurt to see my team suffer in my absence," Eizenman said. "This year, I want us to be a successful team and I think we can do it. We have the personnel."

The Engineers are already without leading scorer Kirk MacDonald (16-20-36 last season), who was prevented from returning by complications from several surgeries resulting from his battle with testicular cancer.

Eizenman says that if the rest of the Engineers can stay healthy, they can improve their records and the fact that many players were ill last season played a hand in their disappointing records of 6-15-1 (ECACHL) and 14-22-2.

"We had a lot of sickness," he said. "It wasn't just me. I had it really bad but there were a lot of guys playing sick from time to time."

Eizenman isn't as fast as his left winger, sophomore Jonathan Ornelas or a couple other Engineers, but he's a smooth-skater who goes hard on every play.

"He puts the puck right on your stick in full stride," said Alexander Valentin, who converted an Eizenman pass down the slot to score the tying goal in Rensselaer's 3-2 victory at Boston University.

Eizenman deflected in the game-tying goal in a 4-3 victory over Michigan Tech and had the game-tying goal and two assists when the Engineers overcame a 4-0 deficit and beat Northeastern, 7-5.

The 6-foot, 185-pound Eizenman cut his hair and put on some weight and muscle this year.

"I put on a good amount, came back in the best shape of my career," he said. "I wasn't sick at all the first 19 years of my life, then you go through something like last year and you realize, you've got to take care of yourself and everything you took for granted has got to be conscientiously taken care of. This year I'm going to take extra care of myself."

"Right now, I'm just glad to be healthy for the first time in a long time."