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RPIís Classic Opener Spoiled by Crusaders

By Jayson Moy

Schenectady Daily Gazette, November 26, 2005

TROY - A day that Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute hoped would never come did so in the first round of the 55th annual Rensselaer Holiday Hockey Tournament on Friday.

The Engineers lost to an Atlantic Hockey (nee Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) team for the first time in school history as Holy Cross beat Rensselaer, 3-2, at Houston Field House to advance to tonightís championship game.

Holy Cross got 33 saves from Tony Quesada, survived a 14-second span in which the Engineers scored twice and got two three-on-one goals in the third period to win the game.

Holy Cross took a 2-0 lead 10:23 into the third period when a threeon-one developed after an Engineer miscue in the neutral zone. The odd-man rush didnít look like it was going to become much, but the puck was batted around and Cal St. Denis managed to get his stick on it and pushed the puck past Engineer goalie Mathias Lange.

It took the Engineers 1:33 to answer that goal. Keith MCWilliams pinched in from his defensive position and put a shot towards the goal that beat a screened Quesada to make it 2-1.

Just 14 seconds later off the ensuing faceoff, Oren Eizenman won the puck, and Brad Farynuk quickly tossed the pass up ice to Kevin Croxton. Croxton managed to avoid his defender and shifted from the forehand to the backhand and surprised Quesada with a goal to tie it, 2-2.

Holy Cross quickly called a timeout and responded 3:35 later with another three-on-one goal. As the Engineers were coming up the right wing through neutral ice, the puck bounced off the leg of Jon Landry and right to James Sixsmith. Sixsmith, Landry and Dale Reinhardt came down the ice, and Sixsmithís quick pass to Reinhardt was converted over the shoulder of Lange for the 3-2 lead.

That would hold up as Quesada made several saves in the final minutes to seal the win and advancement.

"Two three-on-ones, two shots, two goals, thatís pretty much it," said Engineer head coach Dan Fridgen. "Other than that, I thought we did a pretty good job battling back and capitalizing, but a couple of turnovers with guys stepping up when they should have been playing contain. . . that was the difference. They only had two other shots in the third period."

The Engineers will fail to win their own tournament for the fourth consecutive year, the first time that an entire Engineers class will fail to win the tournament at least once.

The Engineers will face Providence at 4:00 p.m. in the consolation game, and Holy Cross will face Nebraska-Omaha, 4-2 winners over Providence in the first game of the tournament.

The Mavericks got two goals in each of the first two periods and held on for the win. Freshman goaltender Jerad Kaufmann made 37 saves to pick up his third win of the season, and four different Mavericks scored.