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Engineers to Face Colgate in Today's Championship Game of Governor's Cup

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, October 29, 2006

ALBANY - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's winless streak against rival Union reached five games Saturday but, hey, the Engineers didn't care much.

Seth Klerer, who scored to tie the game early in the third period, scored the only goal of the Shootout - Jordan Alford made saves on all five of Union's attempts - and the Engineers thus advance to today's 5 p.m. championship game against Colgate in the Governor's Cup Presented by Citizen's Bank tournament at before 4,774 Pepsi Arena fans.

The game is officially recorded as a 3-3 tie but the Engineers will deal with that later. They'll meet the Dutchmen at least two more times this season, perhaps three.

Right now, they'd like to skate off the ice with the Governor's Cup and win a tournament title for the first time in four years. Rensselaer is 4-9-2 - with three last-place finishes - in their seven tournaments since, discounting, of course, the ECAC Hockey League championship playoffs.

Kurt Colling chipped one over Union goalie Justin Mrazek from alongside the net with six minutes remaining in the second period to give the Engineers (1-1-2) a 2-1 lead.

The Dutchmen (2-1-2) roared back with power-play goals by Olivier Bouchard, at 15:41, and on Josh Coyle's rebound with seven seconds remaining in the period.

"That's what we came here for, to play for the championship," Klerer said. "We still don't have a win against Union but we'll have more chances for that."

"To us, it's a win. We get to play for the championship and they don't," said RPI captain Kirk MacDonald. "We played pretty well in spurts and at times we ran around with our heads cut off and I'm sure they'd say the same about themselves."

Coyle said as much.

"Yeah, we're not in the championship game," he said. "So, yeah it's a tie but it doesn't feel like it."

So did Union goalie Justin Mrazek.

"We're very disappointed," he said. "Our goal was to go to the championship and we came up short. It's a tough way to go. The guys battled hard and this is quite disappointing."

Mrazak said Klerer's Shootout tally "was a nice goal. He beat me with a quick release. I thought he was going to make a move and he snapped it."

Sophomore Matt Cook scored his first goal of the season for Union and RPI freshman center Paul Kerins tallied his first collegiate goal, somehow squeezing a backhander between the goalpost and and Mrazak during a 4-on-4 at 9:45 of the first period, tying the game at 1-1.

He was asked how many degrees there were between himself and the post.

"It was pretty close," Kerins said. "I don't think I could have gotten any closer. I think I just slid it off the front of the post, between his pad and the post and somehow got in. I was just about on the goal line."

Colling didn't have a lot of room on his goal, either, as he took a pass from Tommy Green and chipped one off Mrazak's pad.

"That's the type of goals I'm going to score," Colling said. "(Matt Angers-) Goulet and Tommy did a nice job working and it just popped out to me. I was right beside there and it's something I practice in close like that."

The Engineers outshot the Dutchmen, 33-25 but Union's special teams were better on the night.

"Their special teams were outstanding," said first-year RPI coach Seth Appert. "Very well-coached team. Union played with a lot of intensity and for a while there in the second period, they really had us back on our heels."

Appert said he considers the outcome a win but when asked about 'the win' moments later, he said, "now I'll be the reporter and say it's a tie."

"It's tough to lose in a Shootout," said Union coach Nate Leaman. "I think it's a pretty crappy way to end a college hockey game."

"I've been here four years and this was one of the best games I've been in (against) a league team," Leaman said. "It was not only intense, it was emotional. I'm proud of the way we played."

Alford was asked if any of his Shootout saves was particularly demanding.

"Well, you just try to read and try to get in the way," he said.

Union and Quinnipiac (2-2-1) clash for third place in the event today at 2.