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Engineers Win Before Quiet Houston Crowd

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, December 1, 2005

It was said that Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute lost to Holy Cross last Friday night because the Engineers "need the students (fans) sitting there, making noise, being rowdy."

Rensselaer students are home during the Rensselaer Holiday Tournament, now played on Thanksgiving Weekend, formerly played during semester break.

The Engineers, after all had two losses to the partial scholarship Atlantic Hockey conference, both coming in the Rensselaer Holiday Tournament; Mercyhurst in the first round in 2003, Holy Cross last Friday night.

Then there was the 2002-03 Princeton team that posted an overall 3-26-2 record. Among the Tigers' TWO victories - and a tie - against RPI was a 4-3 decision in the 2002 Rensselaer Holiday Tournament consolation game.

So, those discussing the above statement on Saturday expected the Engineers to lose the consolation game to Providence at Houston Field House.

To their credit, the Engineers rose up with one of their better games and beat the Friars, 3-2.

Hopefully, the question of the Engineers' motivation during the tournament won't be a factor again.

Next year's field: Ohio State, Colgate and Niagara.

Right wing cabal: Rensselaer's line of center Chris Hussey, Kevin Broad on the left and Andrew Lord is made up of all natural right wingers.

Hussey admits that he's the 'most conservative' of the group but none is what one might consider a leftie.

"Yeah, I never thought about it that way," Broad said. "Coach is trying some new lines out and it was nice to see Lordy get his first goal (Saturday)."

The Hussey, who's had a couple healthy scratches of late (Lord has had four), but he's been a versatile player; at practice, anyway.

"I've played left wing, right wing, center, I even played back on 'D' (defense) when we had a couple guys banged up."

Extended ... and not counting: Oren Eizenman's assist on Croxton's goal on Saturday extended his scoring streak to 13 games. He's not counting.

"No, I don't ... I don't talk about it," the junior center said.

Eizenman's streak is Rensselaer's longest since Marc Cavosie scored in 17 straight games in January and February of 2002.

Disingenuous: It's distasteful to visit this area again but ...

Why do so many coaches, Fridgen often among them, have such a problem with injuries and discipline problems?

If a player is hurt, say so.

Instead, many coaches will tell you they're not sure what the ailment is. They'll sometimes say talk to the trainer, then when you do so, the trainer gives you a look like, 'what are you asking me for' look.

Saturday night, while representing the hometown Worcester newspaper, I asked Holy Cross head coach Paul Pearl why leading scorer Tyler McGregor was not in the lineup.

He told me McGregor "had a pulled something, a groin, or ... you'll have to ask the doctor."

Oh, really? Your leading scorer's banged up and you're not sure what's wrong, playing for a tournament championship?

'How may his injury impact your next two league (Atlantic Hockey) games with Canisius next weekend' is the logical next question.

Then it's learned, though, elsewhere, that McGregor and third-line center Cal St. Denis either missed a curfew or violated some other team rule.

Coach Pearl, would it have damaged your team to honestly reply, 'sidelined for violating team rules', or 'disciplinary action'?

If so, I would suggest you have deeper problems to deal with than guys losing track of the time (assuming that was the violation) while celebrating a huge victory.

If a top-caliber player is late for practice, misses a bus or incurs a batch of on-campus tickets and is benched, why not say so and get it over with.

Even if he returns to the hotel at 5 a.m., punches a classmate or tells a prof to go ..., the media will know something's wrong when he's NOT OUT THERE ON THE ICE DURING THE GAME. Hello?

When coaches try to stonewall or sidestep the issue, it almost always reads worse in the paper than if they address it head-on.

Why don't they see that?