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RPI's Outburst Not Enough

Two Goals in 14 Seconds Fail to Produce Win for Engineers

By Buzz Gray

Albany Times Union, November 26, 2005

TROY - RPI's frantic comeback wasn't enough as Holy Cross won 3-2 in the the 55th annual Holiday Hockey Tournament's first round Friday night at Houston Field House.

The loss means the Engineers will meet Providence, a 4-2 loser to Nebraska-Omaha, at 4 p.m. in today's consolation game. Holy Cross plays Nebraska-Omaha for the title at 7 p.m.

RPI appeared to have gained the momentum when it scored twice within 14 seconds in the third period to tie at 2.

"I told the guys we didn't want a 15-second flurry to wipe out an entire game's worth of work," Holy Cross coach Paul Pearl said. "We had worked really hard to get to that point."

The Crusaders (7-2-1) responded as Dale Reinhardt scored the winner with 5:01 to play.

"Jim (Sixsmith) came down the wall and fed me a pass in the slot," Reinhardt said. "I went high on the glove side. It was a relief. I haven't scored since the first game of the season."

The play developed on a 3-on-2 breakout by the Crusaders, who had been pinned in their end almost all of the period. Holy Cross scored earlier in the period on a similar play.

"Two shots. Two goals," RPI coach Dan Fridgen said about the Crusaders' pair of odd-man rushes in the period. "That's pretty much it."

The Engineers, who saw a four-game unbeaten streak (2-0-2) come to an end, outshot Holy Cross 16-4 in the third period with goals by Keith McWilliams and Kevin Croxton at 11:10 and 11:24, respectively. But Holy Cross goalie Tony Quesada stoned them the rest of the way, finishing with 33 saves for the game.

"The longer a goaltender keeps you off the scoreboard, the better he plays," Fridgen said. "The puck starts looking bigger and bigger."

RPI, which hasn't won this tournament since 2001, had allowed just one goal in each of its past three games. The Engineers held the Crusaders in check most of the way on Friday, too.

Holy Cross broke the scoreless tie with 5:30 remaining in the second period. Sixsmith stole the puck at his own blue line and raced down the left wing alone. RPI goalie Mathias Lange made the save, but Sixsmith jammed in the rebound for his first goal of the season.

Holy Cross, a member of Hockey East, survived a five-minute Engineers power play after Kai Magnussen was issued a major and game misconduct for hitting from behind.

"If we had capitalized earlier, it would have made a lot of difference," Fridgen said about the power play.

But Quesada was equal to the challenge.

"We're proud to be playing for the championship of such an historic tournament," Pearl said.