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'Black Friday' Red-letter Day

RPI, in Special Garb, Ends Quinnipiac Win Streak at 8

By Matt Graves

Albany Times Union, November 12, 2005

TROY - There's something about this "Black Friday" theme that seems to bring the best out in the RPI hockey team.

The Engineers won on "Black Friday" for the third consecutive season and ended the nation's longest winning streak at eight games in a 4-2 ECAC Hockey League victory over league newcomer Quinnipiac Friday night in front of 3,779 fans at Houston Field House.

Donning special black sweaters that were auctioned to fans, the Engineers received a superlative goaltending performance from freshman Matias Lange and won their first league game against the Bobcats (8-3-0, 2-1-0).

"I thought the Lange kid was great and maybe was the key to the game in the first period," said Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold, whose team hadn't lost since a season-opening sweep at then top-ranked Michigan. "We had 16 shots and maybe seven or eight Grade A chances and we got one goal. He was great."

The Engineers came out flying and jumped out to a 1-0 lead only 2:23 into the game when Chris Hussey hit Tommy Green cutting through the slot with a perfect pass from the left circle to beat freshman goalie Bud Fisher's glove.

Quinnipiac evened it on its first of two power-play goals by Brian Leitch from the right circle off defenseman Reid Cashman's nation-leading 16th assist of the season at 7:51, but that was all Lange allowed until David Marshall's 10th of the season that tied the score at 2 at 11:55 of the second period.

"For a team as good as they are on the power play (21 percent coming in), I thought we put them on the power play way too many times (nine)," said RPI coach Dan Fridgen. "You're really putting too much pressure on your goaltender, who should be the best penalty-killer in a situation like that. It was great tonight that Matias was."

The Engineers took their second lead of the night at 7:20 of the second period on only their own second power play when defenseman Brad Farynuk's long drive from outside the right circle found the back of the net. Shortly after that goal, Quinnipiac lost Hobey Baker finalist Cashman for the rest of the period with a facial laceration that required 10 stitches. He returned for the third, but it wasn't enough.

Kevin Croxton got a score on a pretty move in front off a feed from Farynuk at 12:21 of the second, and linemate Jonathan Ornelas added an insurance goal on a rebound at the right post 1:16 into the third for the Engineers (5-4-1, 1-1-1 ECACHL).

"I didn't want to be the first class to lose on Black Friday," said Croxton, who also had an assist and now has 17 points in 10 games.

Notes: Leading 2004-05 scorer Kirk MacDonald, who was redshirted for this season following a successful battle with testicular cancer, and former RPI All-American Joe Juneau dropped the ceremonial first puck.