Puckman rpihockey.net

What's New

Game Pictures
ECAC Standings
Odds & Ends

Contact Me

Playoff Feel in Engineers' Upset

By Matt Graves

Albany Times Union, February 25, 2006

TROY - It wasn't a playoff game, but RPI's stunning 2-0 upset of Cornell on Friday night certainly had a playoff atmosphere.

The Engineers received goals from linemates Oren Eizenman and Kevin Croxton 1:37 apart in the first period, and freshman goaltender Mathias Lange was a fortress with 34 saves as the Engineers knocked Cornell out of first place heading into the final game of the ECAC Hockey League's regular season. A crowd of 3,945 fans saw the upset at Houston Field House.

"You have to match their intensity," said RPI coach Dan Fridgen, whose team moved into a tie for sixth place with Union with the victory. "We knew tonight that we had to come with a real strong defensive effort. We had to capitalize on the few opportunities that we got, and we did that."

One of them was perhaps the most spectacular goal of the season for RPI by Eizenman at 16:41 of the first period. Only he could describe it without a video replay.

"They lined up three defensemen, and I did a move called a toe drag to get around the first one," said Eizenman after his steal in the Cornell zone. "I pulled the puck toward my body, and it was sort of behind me at this point. I flipped my stick over so my backhand was on the puck, and dragged it through my legs to get by the second defenseman. Then I kind of had a clear breakaway at the net and waited the goalie out and put it between his legs."

Croxton matched Eizenman's team-leading 14th goal when he banged home a rebound of Kurt Colling's drive from the left circle near the right post at 18:18.

It was the Lange show after that as the Engineers (14-14-6, 8-7-6 ECACHL) ended a five-game home losing streak against Cornell with Lange making 28 stops in the final 40 minutes. The Big Red (17-7-4, 12-6-3), the defending league champion, was playing without three injured defensemen.

"We didn't respond in the first period," said Cornell coach Mike Schafer, whose team must beat Union tonight and get some help to make up the one-point deficit behind Dartmouth and Colgate (28-27). "We spent the whole night trying to dig ourselves out of a hole."

RPI did an outstanding job protecting the 2-0 lead in the second period despite being outshot 13-3 and playing 13:53 without senior defenseman Scott Romfo, who injured a leg (he returned for the third).

Troy native Mark Yurkewecz scored an apparent third goal for RPI at 9:58 of the second, but it was disallowed after a hand pass.

"The defense did a great job, especially on the PK (penalty kill)," said Lange, who posted his second shutout. "We went into this weekend knowing we could finish anywhere between fifth and eighth and we couldn't get a first-round bye, but that didn't mean that we were going to take it easy."

Tonight they face the new No. 1 in Colgate.

"We just hope we're peaking at the right time," said Eizenman.

Notes: F Tyler Eaves returned to action for the first time in 11 games, centering a line with Chris Hussey and Andrei Uryadov for RPI. F Kevin Broad did not dress again. ... Seven members of RPI's senior class of 2006 will be honored tonight.