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Appert Era Begins at RPI

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, October 1, 2006

TROY - A sneak preview into the Seth Appert era was on hand at Houston Field House on Saturday night as the senior-laden Red squad skated to a 6-3 victory over the White in Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Annual Red-White Intrasquad Game.

Appert promised a more up-tempo style and sustained intensity when he took the job in April and both were evident Saturday night.

Senior center Oren Eizenman scored one goal and assisted on two for the Red, while the two Jakes - senior defenseman Jake Luthi and junior right winger Jake Morissette - each added one goal and an assist, as did freshman left winger Jordan Cyr. Senior winger Kevin Broad scored the first and third goals for the White squad.

"We're pleased with the effort," Appert said. "It's a tough game to play. It's tough for the players to play against your teammates, your buddies, your roommates. And it's tough to keep that intensity level, especially with basically just two forward lines on each team."

Further, the third period was played entirely 4-on-4.

"Obviously, they're going to get tired," Appert said. "It's probably the best conditioning skate we're going to have all year ... All in all, we're very pleased. Without question, the intensity level was high."

The Red got a gift goal 20 seconds into the third period (each period was 15 minutes in length) when a long chip shot by freshman defenseman Peter Merth - he was just sending the puck into the offensive zone - somehow slid under the glove of goalie Mathias Lange, then the Red added three more later in the period to pull away.

"We're most pleased with the seniors," Appert said. "I thought (they) really led, not only in terms of the scoreboard - Kirk MacDonald, Oren, Kevin and Jake - but also in how intense they were."

Seniors accounted for five of the nine goals and all six senior skaters charted at least one point.

"Not bad odds," Eizenman said. "Hopefully, we'll have that during the season."

Senior defenseman Ryan Swanson and senior right winger Tommy Green, neither of whom is a big scorer, each had an assist - Swanson for the White unit, Green for the Red.

Those in the small crowd got a treat early in the third period when MacDonald, just coming out of the penalty box, took a pass from freshman Cyr. The big right winger came down the left side and was met by Swanson.

With Swanson draped over him, MacDonald

"Once (Swanny turned), I knew I had him," said MacDonald, who enjoyed his first taste of competitive hockey after sitting out last season battling cancer.

"I just kept my leg out to protect the puck and just started dragging."

In fact, MacDonald was able to use the 6-foot-3, 218-pound Swanson as a mini screen and was able to "I just slid it back against the grain (and between Lange's legs), that's the only chance I had."

It was just "like old times" said MacDonald, RPI's leading scorer two seasons ago.

Freshman Garett Vassel, who plays both forward and defense, gave White a 1-0 lead with a backhand rebound past goalie Jordan Alford midway through the first period.

Later, Luthi beat Will Neubert with a riser from the mid-slot and Morissette shot a rebound through traffic, giving the Red a 2-1 lead.

Broad tied the game with a blast from the right slot in the second period.

"The first one is always good to get under your belt," Broad said. "You usually have a little more confidence after that."

In the third period, Broad scored on a solid individual effort, warding off a defender as he dragged left to right and sliding it past Alford.

"It was a lot of fun out there," Broad said.

Cyr added an empty-net goal with 53 seconds remaining.

Appert liked Morissette's spirited play and spoke of the freshmen.

"I thought all the freshmen did a good job," he said. "Pete Merth defended very well. Garett Vassel obviously showed some offensive flashes. He's got some work to do defensively. Both Paul Kerins and Jordan Cyr showed some good offensive rushes."

"All in all, we were pleased with the freshmen. They did a pretty good job," Appert added.

The Engineers host York University (Ontario) in an exhibition game next Saturday night, then open the season at home against Boston University at 7 p.m. on Oct. 14.