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Quinnipiac Sweeps Series with 4-2 Win

By Phil Janack

Schenectady Daily Gazette, March 5, 2006

TROY - Lackluster in the early stages of Friday's series-opening loss, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute came out with the better start it was after Saturday night.

What the Engineers didn't get was a better finish.

Quinnipiac, playing its first ECACHL season, overcame an RPI goal 41 seconds into the game and shocked the Engineers, 4-2, at Houston Field House.

Sophomore Jamie Bates had a goal and an assist, and freshman leading scorer Brian Leitch had three assists, all in the first period, as the Bobcats swept the best-ofthree series, 2-0.

Tenth-seeded Quinnipiac (19-16-1) advances to quarterfinal play this weekend.

It is the second straight season that the two-time national champion Engineers (14-17-6), seeded seventh, failed to win a first-round game.

"It's tough. It's disappointing. They played a helluva series," RPI senior forward Kevin Croxton said. "I have no doubt in my mind that everybody in this room left everything they had out there. They played well. They deserved to win."

It is the first time in school history that Quinnipiac, which moved up this season from Atlantic Hockey to replace Vermont, defeated the Engineers. RPI had been 4-0-1 against the Bobcats, including 1-0-1 this season, before the playoffs.

"We certainly respected RPI. We'd never beaten them before," Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said. "I felt confident we could do well."

"I was a little concerned tonight, not that we'd have a letdown, but that RPI was going to have more intensity than us, which they did early on. I think we kind of weathered the storm and went up, 3-1, and hung on from there."

Trailing, 3-1, late in the second period, RPI got a spark from junior forward Kevin Broad, who had missed the previous 13 games with a lower-body injury.

Broad snapped a wrist shot through the legs of Bobcats defenseman Matt Sorteberg and over the glove of freshman goalie Bud Fisher at 15:23.

"After Kevin scored, I thought, 'Here we go.'" RPI coach Dan Fridgen said. "I felt good on the bench, and I think the guys felt real good, too. To their credit, they [Quinnipiac] did a very good job of capitalizing on our mistakes and taking the momentum away from us."

Just 88 seconds after Broad scored, Quinnipiac restored its two-goal lead. John Kelly caught Engineers defenseman Reed Kipp standing still at the blue line, lifted his stick and stole the puck before beating Engineers goalie Mathias Lange on a long wrister from the right circle.

"Obviously, it's disappointing," said senior forward Mark Yurkewecz, a Troy native. "Everybody played their hearts out tonight."

Oren Eizenman gathered a loose puck in the slot and roofed a shot over Fisher's glove for a power-play goal 41 seconds into the game.

As it did on Friday, Quinnipiac used its own power play to take back the momentum. Sophomore Ben Nelson scored on a one-timer at 4:50 to tie it at 1-1.

The Bobcats converted a twoman advantage at 13:55, Reid Cashman's long screened shot giving them a lead they would not relinquish.

"We just didn't take advantage of how we should have played," RPI senior defenseman Scott Romfo said. "We got behind, and in playoff hockey, it's hard to play catch-up."


RPI ended the season two wins shy of 900 in its 89-year history. . . .

Saturday was Lange's 35th game, tying the team single-season mark set by Nathan Marsters in 2003-04. . . .

Eizenman's goal extended his point streak to seven games (5-3-8).