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Engineers Still Shorthanded

Hit Road Again Without Croxton, Farynuk, Etc.

Troy Record, January 27, 2006

TROY - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's hockey can't look to homeice to help with its vast injury problems for three more games.

Meantime, the Engineers must take one of the tougher trips on their schedule this weekend, playing at Harvard tonight and at Dartmouth on Saturday night.

Those three teams are logjammed in the middle of the ECAC Hockey League standings.

The 11-11-3 Engineers bring a 5-4-3 league record into the weekend, while 8-10-1 Dartmouth is 6-5-1 and 17th-ranked Harvard (10-7-2 overall) is 7-6-1.

The teams met just three weeks ago, with Dartmouth handing the Engineers a 4-1 victory, then Rensselaer fighting back for a 3-1 triumph over Harvard.

Once again this weekend, the Engineers will be without leading scorer Kevin Croxton, fellow forwards Kevin Broad and Tyler Eaves and top defenseman Brad Farynuk.

The Engineers are coming off a listless 5-0 loss at Yale, the team that has permitted the most goals in the ECACHL by a wide margin.

Sophomore left winger Jonathan Ornelas, RPI's leader in goals with 13, was asked if he's feeling more pressure to put the puck in the net.

"Not so much pressure but maybe a little wood under the fire," he said. "Coming off a game (with) a team letting in so many goals and being shut out, we just have to come out and prove that was just a fluke, it's not going to happen again."

Junior center Oren Eizenman has just three assists in his past eight games after totaling 24 points (11-13-24) during a recent 15-game scoring streak.

"I'm aware of that," he said. "I'm just feeling pressure because I haven't been playing my best lately. It's really time for me to step it up."

"You can't really think about the people who aren't in the lineup," Eizenman said of the injuries. "I just want to get my game back on track."

Harvard, which has been off for exams since a 3-2 loss at RPI on Jan. 7, has won just one of its past five ECACHL games (1-3-1), has scored just eight goals in its past five games. The Engineers hope that trend continues and that they can slide in a couple of their own.

The Engineers went 17-3-1 against Dartmouth during the 1990s but since March of 2001, RPI shows a dismal 2-11-2 mark against the Big Green, including a 1-8-1 record at Dartmouth.

"Tell you the truth, I didn't even know about it," Ornelas said. "We'll change that this weekend."