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Croxton, Peace and Lord Lift Defensively Porous RPI

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, December 11, 2005

TROY - It's the season of Peace and Lord and all is right with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute hockey; well, in the offensive zone anyway.

The Engineers shook off one of their poorest defensive games in memory Saturday, filled the Rochester Institute of Technology net with pucks and posted a 10-7 decision over the Tigers, who are in their first Division I season.

Kevin Croxton scored a hat trick and Andrew Lord and Dan Peace tallied the key goals - Lord's late in the second period and Peace's 41 seconds into the third - to turn the wild game into the Engineers' control.

Rensselaer, now 8-6-3 overall, clearly won the game with strong play in one zone only. Their play in the defensive zone, over the first two periods at least, could only be termed deplorable.

The Engineers had numerous offensive highlights, though, including:

- Croxton also had two assists to go with his three goals;

- Oren Eizenman extended his scoring streak to 15 games with his 11th goal and three assists;

- Sophomore Peace enjoyed the first goal of his career;

- Kevin Broad scored his third goal to end an 11-game scoring drought;

- Jonathan Ornelas also had one goal and three assists and he and linemates Croxton and Eizenman each has 11 goals on the season.

Brennan Sarazin and Steve Pinizzotto each scored two goals for the 5-10-1 Tigers, who three times took one-goal leads.

Goals by Croxton, Ornelas and Scott Romfo over the first 9:36 of the second period gave the Engineers a 5-3 lead.

However, RIT scored three goals - by Sarazin, Pinizzoto and Darren Doherty - in a span of 2:07 for a 6-5 lead at 12:07.

Croxton banged in a Jake Luthi rebound to tie the game 6-6 just 20 seconds after Doherty's goal, then the Engineers took over.

Ornelas wound up from the upper left slot on a 5-on-3 power play and Lord tipped it past RIT goalie Louie Menard to put the Engineers ahead, 7-6.

"Just got enough (stick) on it," Lord said.

Peace, who's won a regular spot in the lineup with his spirited play despite never recording a point in 17 previous games, streaked down the slot on a line change early in the third period as Croxton circled behind the net with the puck.

"I'd just changed for Oren," Peace said. "Crox and Jonny were working down low. Then Croxy got a hold of it and put it right on my stick in the slot. I just one-timed it through the 5-hole."

Pinizzotto pulled the Tigers within 8-7 with a power-play goal at 7:11 but Eizenman walked in on Menard from the left corner and put the puck between his legs at 10:51 and Chris Hussey whipped a blast from the right slot for his fifth goal with 1:10 remaining.

"It wasn't pretty but it was a 'W'," Rensselaer head coach Dan Fridgen. "I knew they could score goals ... but I was just disappointed with the way we didn't take care of our own end of the rink."

Defenseman and tri-captain Brad Farynuk said likewise.

"It seemed every time the puck was turned over they had a guy in behind us," he said. "Obviously we're disappointed with our defensive coverage."

Three RIT goals came on giveaways and on two others, Tigers forwards were left wide open to tap in close-range rebounds.

The Engineers' first three goals came on breakaways. Broad's was sandwiched between Croxton's two.

"Swanny (Ryan Swanson) made a great pass," Broad said. "I was thinking, 'I've got to get it this time, I'm not going to get many chances as good as this.'"

"I just went upstairs on him and thank God it went in," Broad said. "Christmas came early for me."

The game turned ugly late after RIT's Rob Tarantino took a major checking from behind penalty and game misconduct for a hit on Romfo with 4:19 remaining.

Croxton and RIT's Stephen Burns each received double minors, Ornelas and Draper incurred misconducts, and RPI's Alexander Valentin took a major slash in the closing seconds.