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Engineers Move on from Frustrating Loss

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, February 27, 2006

TROY - Give the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers credit.

They were livid on Saturday night when neither the south end goal judge at Houston Field House nor referee Alex Dell saw a puck clearly deflect off the stick of Kevin Croxton and into the net for what should have been a tying goal against Colgate.

They kept their rage under control.

While those, including Croxton, who saw the play swear the puck crossed the goal line, none claimed that they were robbed.

"There's nothing you can do about it now," Croxton said. "We have to move on."

The non-goal didn't literally cost the Engineers the game in the 2-1 defeat; they still could have lost in overtime, though having dominated most of the game - shots on goal were 36-18, RPI - they would have liked their chance for at least a deadlock in the extra session.

"We come to play next week like we did this weekend, we should be able to take care of business," said defenseman Brad Farynuk, referring to RPI's preliminary-round playoff series with 10th-seeded Quinnipiac.

Nice accomplishment: Numerous injuries knocked the Engineers out of contention for a Top Four finish in the ECACHL.

Next best thing for a team in that position is to knock out someone else.

They did so on Friday night, dropping Cornell from first to third. The Big Red came to town with control of their own destiny; win two games and they'd own their third regular-season title in four years. They lost that control when they lost Friday, though, and even though they won at Union on Saturday, the Big Red finished third.

"We're still the only team in the league that hasn't lost to Cornell," senior winger Chris Hussey said.

"It's great to beat them," Hussey said. "It feels even better that we played such a great game. We view every team in our league the same but obviously since they're first in the league, they're doing pretty well on the national stage (No. 7), yeah, it feels a little nicer."

Of Cornell's 1-3 slide, Hussey said, "that's gotta be a tough swing to take."

Even of more importance for the Engineers, without Friday's victory, they would have finished 1-8-3 against the teams that finished ahead of them in the standings. Beating a quality team on the eve of the playoffs is huge.

As it is, over the past three seasons, RPI has a combined record of 3-23-2 against Colgate (probable), Cornell and Dartmouth, one of whom they will meet in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs, should they get by Quinnipiac.

Tougher matchup?: Quinnipiac dropped from the ninth seed to 10th with a puzzling 5-3 loss at Brown on Saturday but the Bobcats, with their balanced scoring, pose perhaps an even bigger threat to the Engineers.

Keeping the Bobcats to 5-on-5 hockey will be key.

Among its six goals against RPI this season, Quinnipiac scored five power-play goals in 18 chances. (The Engineers were 2-for-11 against the Bobcats.)

They put defenseman Reid Cashman, the league's leading playmaker on one point and four 30-point scoring forwards out there with him and they are dangerous.

Rensselaer's power play puck movement must improve come Friday night.

In the course of one week, the Engineers lost three standings points because Quinnipiac's and Colgate's power-play units were superior to theirs in puck movement.

The Bobcats got three power-play goals in rallying from a 3-1 deficit to forge a 4-4 tie.

On Saturday, both Colgate goals were on the power play and both resulted from crisp passing.

The Engineers did pressure Colgate goalie Mark Dekanich on their third-period PP tries but overall, their passing must get sharper.

Notes: An assist was added to Croxton on Oren Eizenman's second-period goal against Cornell. That gives the senior right winger 141 career points, tying him with George Servinis (1982-85) for 25th place in school history.