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RPI Gets Early Season Lesson

A Night After Big Win, Engineers Get Schooled by BU

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, October 13, 2002

MADISON, Wisc. - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute learned first hand of the fickle adage, "one night you're on top, the next night you're down" Saturday night.

Fifth-ranked Boston University dealt the Engineers a cold dose of reality in the form of a 5-1 pasting in the championship game of the University of Wisconsin's Ice-Breaker Invitational Tournament.

Five different Terriers put shots past RPI goalie Nathan Marsters in what was the 1,200th victory of BU's storied history. Only about 800 fans among 14,400 empty seats at UW's Kohl Center viewed the action.

One night after the Engineers whipped host Wisconsin 5-1, they were thoroughly outplayed by the veteran Terriers.

And if any national pollsters saw the game, they might move Boston University up a few notches on their next ballot. The Terriers were that good, outshooting the Engineers, 41-15.

"They are a very good hockey team," said RPI coach Dan Fridgen. "This early in the season, and us being a young team, you know you're going to have weaknesses. And a team like that will expose them."

"They move the puck extremely well, they move their feet. They're one of the top teams in the country and I'd be very surprised if it doesn't turn out that way come season's end."

Senior defenseman Danny Eberly scored the only RPI goal.

"We ran into a top team tonight in BU," Eberly said. "They came out and played 60 minutes and we only played 40. Unfortunately, it came down to that."

Wisconsin's offense is in the state of transition under new coach Mike Eaves and Friday night the Badgers were unable to take advantage of the Engineers' timid play in their own end and continuous trouble clearing the puck.

Saturday night, the talented, veteran crisp puck-moving Terriers capitalized on the Engineers' similar shortcomings.

"In our own end ... we had some missed communications," Fridgen said.

The Terriers struck for three goals within a span of 5:18 midway through the first period and were quite fortunate on the first, as Mike Bussell's blast from the point deflected off an RPI stick and directly into the net.

The Terriers smelled blood and swarmed the RPI cage.

David Klema skated in on Marsters down the right slot, faked a cross-ice pass and flipped a wrister between Marsters and the near post.

The Engineers left Brian McConnell wide open in front 54 seconds later and he banged in a one-timer on a feed from Justin Maiser.

Maiser, McConnell and Klema each had one goal and one assist.

"We were a little back on our heels," Fridgen said. "We didn't have a very good first period and that was obvious from the score. But I thought we got better as the game went along and we played them even for quite a while."

Eberly put the Engineers on the board 30 seconds into the second period on a carryover power play. The puck went under a BU stick and was sitting isolated in the left circle. Eberly zoomed down from the point and beat BU goalie Sean Fields with a riser.

However, on their other six full-length power plays, the Engineers managed just three good chances: Fields stopped 15-footers by Ben Barr and Ryan Shields and a short right-side wrister by Nolan Graham.

"We just couldn't get anything going on the power play, all night," said RPI right winger Carson Butterwick.

And soon after Eberly's goal, BU's Frantisek Skladany restored the margin to three goals by beating Marsters on a power-play blast from the right slot.

"That (goal) took a little wind out of our sails, but I don't think it deflated us," Fridgen said. "At no time did I think we packed it in. We had some real good opportunities but (Friday) night we got the bounces and tonight we didn't."

The Engineers host UMass-Lowell in their home opener Friday night (7 p.m.), then travel to meet UMass for a 5 p.m. game one week from today.