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RPI's Hurting While Brown's Struggling

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, January 20, 2006

TROY - In the third and fourth games of their season, the Brown Bears posted victories over Clarkson and St. Lawrence, two teams that have spent most of the season nationally-ranked.

That statement just about sums up the highlights of Brown's season to date.

On the other hand, the Bears bring a three-game unbeaten streak (1-0-2) into tonight's game with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

The 10-10-3 Engineers are without leading scorer Kevin Croxton (ankle), top defenseman Brad Farynuk (foot), second-line winger Kevin Broad (knee) and have only five healthy defensemen.

They bring a 4-3-3 ECAC Hockey League record into the weekend, hoping to tread water until the walking wounded return.

After tonight's game at Brown (2-6-2, 3-10-4), Rensselaer travels over to Yale (4-6-1, 5-10-2) on Saturday night.

At full strength, Rensselaer would be clear favorites in both games. As it is, victory in either will take outstanding efforts similar to those that enabled the Engineers to slip past Harvard (Jan. 7) and Clarkson (last week).

"We had a number of guys step up with some solid performances," says head coach Dan Fridgen. "That's what we're going to need again this week ... those guys are playing with some confidence."

One of the major surprises of the ECAC Hockey League season is Brown junior left winger Brian Ihnacak.

He has just three goals, six assists after totaling 43 points (22-21-43) in his first two years.

Yale began the season with six straight losses but is 4-2-2 since.

During that stretch, senior winger Christian Jensen (32-43-75 in 92 games in his first three seasons) returned from an injury, as did junior center Brad Mills (16-21-37, 56 games).

Both Jensen and Mills missed nine of the Bulldogs' 17 games.