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Scoring Drought Not Getting to Ornelas

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, November 16, 2006

TROY - Jonathan Ornelas used to score goals for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He remembers well. And he likely will score some again.

Ask him when his last goal was, however, and he has "no idea."

The junior left winger scored 13 goals in RPI's first 23 games last season but has not scored in 21 games since then.

For the record, he last put one into the net midway through the second period of the Engineers' 3-1 victory at Brown on Jan. 20.

"I try not to think about (the slump)," he said. "I try to forget about it. It's not really bothering me so I try to put it behind me."

The Mississauga, Ont. native says the goal slump doesn't even pop into his mind much anymore, mainly, he says, because the Engineers have lost just once in eight games (4-1-3).

"Not really," he said, "especially with the way the year's going right now. If this is what I've got to do, or not do, for us to be winning, no problem. Yeah, I'd like to score a few but as long as we're playing well and keep winning, I have no problem with it."

Ornelas was also referring to the fact that his usual linemates - Jake Morissette and Seth Klerer - have eight goals between them. He has five assists.

Ornelas says that early in the season he was pressing - and it was difficult, for a while, not to do so.

"I was the first couple games (of the season)," he said. "Coach (Seth Appert) pulled me aside; I think he kind of saw it, and I knew I felt it. He said just relax and when it comes, it comes."

"Ever since then," Ornelas continued, "I've just been playing and when it comes, I hope it comes in bunches."

Preventing the slump from affecting other parts of his game - digging pucks out of corners, setting up teammates, being aggressive, backchecking - could be difficult.

"Like I said, first couple games, I was doing that kind of stuff," he said. "I told myself, 'geez, I gotta get a goal, I gotta do this, go do that and I found myself being out of position when I was doing that."

"Now, like I said, after coach talked to me, I just settled down. I can't let if affect me because that's how you become worse of a player."

Ornelas is physically stronger than last season and that fact hasn't affected his acceleration or overall speed and that he's no different from the player who twice scored two goals in one game last season and had eight goals over the first 11 games.

"If you want to say bounces, I'm not getting bounces," he said. "I'm getting chances here and there but they're just not going in for me right now."

With all due respect to RPI's other centermen, playing on Oren Eizenman's line for the first half of last season certainly helped Ornelas. He hasn't played with the hard-working fellow Toronto-area teammate this season.

"It was great," Ornelas said. "Oren, me and Croxy (graduated high-scoring right winger Kevin Croxton) got along real well. As soon as we got put together, we really clicked and put up numbers. After the injuries piled up and Oren, me and Crox got separated ... I don't know if that's the reason I stopped scoring or not but ... like I said, we just had a real good connection last year."

"And it looks like I found it with Morissette and Klerer," he said. "If we all keep playing together, I don't think it'll be too long before we all contribute."

Could Friday night, against Sacred Heart, be the night - finally?

"I feel Friday," he said. "Friday feels like a lucky day. It's the ninth game of the season, (I'm) No. 9, we'll see how it works."