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Klerer's OT Goal Lifts Engineers, 4-3

By Bryan Viggiani

Schenectady Daily Gazette, November 4, 2006

TROY - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's hockey team auctioned off its alternate black jerseys as part of an annual tradition Friday night. The Engineers might be pleased to be rid of them for now.

Seth Klerer played the last-grasp hero this time for RPI, scoring with 12.6 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Engineers a 4-3 win over Princeton in the ECAC Hockey League opener in front of 4,099 at Houston Field House Friday night.

Jordan Alford made 36 saves and kept RPI (3-1-2 overall) in the game as the Tigers (0-2-1) outshot the Engineers 39-13. RPI managed only one shot on goal in the third period.

"They completely outplayed us, out-executed us," first-year RPI coach Seth Appert said. "They were better prepared, and as coaches, we'll take the blame. We've had a good week of practice. Obviously, we thought we were prepared, and we had a pretty good start, but we definitely had a slip there as the game wore on. Full credit to Princeton. We were lucky to get out of this game."

After his first shot was denied by freshman goalie Zane Kalemba, Klerer scored during a scramble in front of the net, the puck squirting past the goal line and sending the Engineers jumping. Oren Eizenman, who had hit the side of the net seconds earlier, set up the play.

"Oren made a great play... I just tried to bang it in," Klerer said. "I got one whack at it, the guy made a block, [and] it came right back to me."

It was the second consecutive game that an RPI player won it in the waning moments. Dan Peace scored with 48.9 seconds remaining in regulation to give the Engineers a 2-1 victory over Colgate on Sunday in the championship of the Governor's Cup at Pepsi Arena.

RPI improved to 4-0 in its Black Friday games, signifying its league home opener with the Engineers wearing black jerseys, which were silently auctioned off during the game.

"They played a great game, they did a real good job," Klerer said. "But coach did a real good job of keeping our heads on our shoulders and trying not to get too frustrated. But we give them credit. They played very well, but I don't think we were frustrated."

"I don't think the performance was a bad one if you look at the game overall," Princeton coach Guy Gadowsky said. "Anytime you can outshoot anybody on the road I think you have to be happy with that performance, but very disappointed with the result. . . . RPI found a way to win. If we tie that game, I think we're all feeling pretty good. You take away 12 seconds, and we're all happy. But that's a big goal to give up late."

RPI freshman defenseman Peter Merth was called for holding with 1:23 remaining in the third period. The penalty proved costly, as Princeton began the power play with Kalemba on the bench. With two extra skaters, it took the Tigers less than a minute to score on a goal from Kevin Westgarth in front.

Princeton opened the scoring in the first period on an unusual goal.

Cam French, alone with the puck directly behind the net, chipped it over toward the front. Alford tried for a glove save as the puck floated over his head, but the puck hit his thumb, and it instead fell behind him across the goal line at 9:30. Alford took a swig from his water bottle as the red light came on. Score it an E-goalie.