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Goalies Put RPI, Union on Backs

Lange, Mayotte Carry Teams As Defense Dominates in Tie

By Matt Graves

Albany Times Union, February 5, 2006

TROY - A hot goaltender can carry a team, but when two of them are at opposite ends in the same game, it's no wonder the scoreboard was unable to settle the issue.

Union's Kris Mayotte and RPI's Mathias Lange were the show Saturday night as the Route 7 rivalry left 4,296 fans in a kiss-your-sister frame of mind after a 1-1 overtime deadlock in their ECAC Hockey League matchup at Houston Field House.

"That was a great, great college hockey game," said Union coach Nate Leaman, whose Dutchmen (13-11-6, 6-6-4 ECACHL) benefited most from the weekend with three points and temporary possession of sixth place. "I've only been in this rivalry for three years, but that's by far the best game of the six that we've played with this team."

Neither team could penetrate the opposition's net until the third period, with RPI finally taking the game's only lead on a goal by Andrew Lord at 5:03. Lord came in on a 2-on-1 and sent a shot from the right circle over Mayotte's right shoulder into the far corner of the net.

"I told the 'D' I had the shot," said Mayotte, who beat RPI 3-2 the night before in Schenectady. "I just misplayed it. I started to dip a little, and then it went in. He did make a good shot."

The Union defense made up for the lapse when freshman blue-liner Lane Caffaro evened things 2:43 later. Caffaro took a great cross-ice pass from freshman forward Augie DiMarzo in the right circle and one-timed it past Lange as he moved back across the crease.

"It was a good shot," said the freshman Lange, whose 27 saves were three fewer than the senior Mayotte. "I probably could have had it. He (Mayotte) kept them in the game. It could have been a 3-1 or 4-1 game. It's pretty fair to say a tie was fair tonight."

Another loss would have been devastating to the injury-depleted Engineers, who had top scorer Kevin Croxton back for the second night in a row after missing six games with an ankle injury. RPI (11-14-3, 5-7-3) is in the fight of its life for a home playoff spot now after going winless in its past five games (0-4-1).

"That was a real battle," said RPI coach Dan Fridgen. "Both guys played extremely well. Both teams left it all on the ice. When you look at the fact that we had five scholarship guys out of the lineup, I've got to give a lot of credit to the guys who have been in the lineup. They've been competitive in every single game. They've played their hearst out."

The same could be said of the two goalies, who at times were spectacular. Mayotte made two terrific saves on Oren Eizenman on third-period power plays that could have spelled the Dutchmen's defeat. Lange made a big stop on Scott Seney inside eight minutes that kept the game going to the five-minute overtime.

"He's good; he's a competitor," said Leaman of his backstop. "I've said it - when he's on, he's one of the best in the league. No doubt about it. He's got to be our best player. Five of our last six points have been on the road, so it's been quite a challenge for us. We've got four of six at home now."