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RPI Pulled Goalie at the Right Time

By Ken Schott

Schenectady Daily Gazette, December 13, 2006

You normally see hockey coaches pull a goalie for an extra attacker late in the game as his team tries to get the tying goal. To see a coach make that move earlier in the game, except when there is a delayed penalty call, is unusual.

Making the move down by three goals early in the third period would seem downright crazy.

But with his team trailing, 4-1, early in the third period against Quinnipiac Friday at Northford Ice Pavilion, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute coach Seth Appert figured he had nothing to lose. So, with the teams skating four aside, Appert pulled goalie Mathias Lange for an extra attacker.

The move worked splendidly for Appert and the Engineers. Seth Klerer scored at 7:15 to cut the Bobcats' lead to 4-2. Just over a minute later, Paul Kerins scored a shorthanded goal to make it 4-3. Then, with 7:40 left, Matt Angers-Goulet got a power-play goal, and the game ended in a 4-4 tie.

"I don't know if it sends a message that we try to win at any cost," Appert said. "We're not going to give up. We are playing to win, regardless of the situation. Hopefully, the guys understand that."

The move was even more gutsy when you consider the number of Engineers who were hurt. Already playing without forward Tyler Eaves and with forwards Kevin Broad and Jonathan Ornelas playing hurt, forward Kirk MacDonald was out, and forward Oren Eizenman was injured during the game.

"It was an opportunity to change some momentum," Appert said. "We were a little short-manned, in terms of some of the injuries. We thought we were playing accurately well, and had some jump and some life."

The thought to remove Lange for an extra skater was in the back of Appert's mind when the third period began. When RPI defenseman Jake Luthi got a five-minute crosschecking major at 4:19 of the third, and Jamie Bates scored a powerplay goal 15 seconds later to make it 4-1, Appert looked for the right time to do it.

That time came at 5:43, when Quinnipiac forward David Marshall was called for hooking. A few seconds later, Lange was heading to the bench.

"Coach [Jim] Montgomery and I talked about it," Appert said. "Once it got to 4-1, we thought this was an opportunity. Quinnipiac is a real skilled team, probably the most skilled in our league. To come back from 4-1 on them, as good defensively as they are because they play a pretty patient game [and] they trap well, so it's tough to [come back] five-on-five."

"We all look intelligent if the players execute. You have to give the players credit."

MACDONALD PICKED

If RPI doesn't get to the Frozen Four in St. Louis in April, at least MacDonald will have a chance. MacDonald is one of 89 finalists for the Frozen Four Skills Challenge April 6.

The list will be paired down to 32 later this season.

MacDonald is one of nine ECACHL players among the fi nalists. The others are Quinnipiac's Reid Cashman, Harvard's Kevin Du, Colgate's Marc Fulton, Dartmouth's Tanner Glass, Princeton's Grant Goeckner-Zoeller, Yale's Bill LeClerc, Cornell's Mark McCutcheon and Clarkson's Mike Sullivan.

NASLUND HONORED

RPI freshman Whitney Naslund won her second ECACHL women's rookie of the week award on Monday.

Naslund had two goals and three assists in leading the Engineers to a two-game sweep of Union over the weekend. She scored the goals and had two assists in Friday's 7-0 triumph. She also had a plus-5 defensive rating. Naslund scored the game's first goal in Saturday's 5-1 win.

Naslund's teammate, Jamie Jacquard-Sowa, was named to the honor roll. She had two goals and two assists over the weekend.

USA TEAM PICKED

USA Hockey named its roster for the World Junior Championships, which begin Dec. 26 in Sweden. A total of 17 college players are on the roster.

Seven of those players were on last year's team. They are North Dakota defensemen Taylor Chorney and Brian Lee, Michigan de fenseman Jack Johnson, Minnesota defenseman Erik Johnson and goalie Jeff Frazee, Boston College forward Nate Gerbe and Wisconsin forward Jack Skille.

The other 10 college players are goalie Jeff Zatkoff (Miami), defenseman Kyle Lawson (Notre Dame) and Jamie McBain (Wisconsin), and forwards Justin Abdelkader (Michigan State), Mike Carman, Kyle Okposo and Ryan Stoa (Minnesota), Jim Fraser (Harvard), Blake Geoffrion (Wisconsin) and Bill Sweatt (Colorado College).

Former Clarkson and Harvard assistant coach Ron Rolston is the Team USA head coach. Union coach Nate Leaman will be an assistant coach.

WILD WEEKEND

The two-game WCHA series between Alaska-Anchorage and Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colo., was crazy. Both games were decided in overtime.

On Friday, Alaska-Anchorage jumped to a 4-0 lead in the first 15:05 of the game. The Tigers came back to tie it win one goal in the first period and three in the third. Colorado College got a power play in overtime, but the Seawolves' Justin Bourne scored his team's second short-handed goal of the game with 14 seconds left to give his team the victory.

That was just the appetizer.

In Saturday's game, the Tigers saw a 3-1 lead disappear in the third period. Josh Lunden's goal with 1:46 left in the third period tied the score, 3-3, and sent the game into overtime.

Again, the Tigers got a power play in overtime. This time, they converted as Scott McCulloch scored with 1:01 left to win it, 4-3.

After the goal, a bench-clearing brawl broke out. When things finally settled down, six Seawolves and five Tigers were given five-minute majors for fighting and game disqualifications, meaning they will be suspended for the next game.

Seawolves coach Dave Shyiak sounded defiant afterwards.

"We were the best team, we won the game," Shyiak told the Anchorage Daily News. "We were the best team on the ice, and I'll take the two points with an asterisk."

LOCAL UPDATE

Here's an update on how college hockey players from the Capital Region who are playing outside the area did last week.

Clarkson junior forward Shawn Weller (South Glens Falls) scored twice in last Tuesday's 3-1 victory over North Country rival St. Lawrence. Weller had a potential third goal taken away in the third period after a video review showed the puck never crossed the goal line.

Boston University junior forward Peter MacArthur (Clifton Park) had two assists in the Terriers' 4-2 win over Providence on Friday.

St. Lawrence freshman forward Tara Akstull (Clifton Park) scored her first two collegiate goals Friday, including the game-winner, in leading the Saints to a 5-1 victory over Maine. Akstull scored again Saturday as St. Lawrence beat Maine, 5-1. Akstull was named to the ECACHL honor roll.

Brown senior defenseman Lauren Deeb (Menands) had an assist in the Bears' 3-1 triumph Tuesday over Boston University.

Maine senior goalie Rachel Gettings (Watervliet) made 29 saves in Saturday's loss to the Saints.

SLAP SHOTS

Former BU star and longtime NHL veteran Shawn McEachern was named an assistant coach at Northeastern. McEachern played 13 years in the NHL with five teams, and won a Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 1992. . . .

Brown's 3-2 overtime victory over Yale on Saturday was the Bears' first OT win since March 5, 2005, when they beat RPI, 4-3. The Bears were 0-6-9 in their last 15 OT games. . . .

The BU-Boston College game that was postponed Dec. 1 because of fog at Kelley Rink has been rescheduled for Jan. 24. . . .

Brown women's coach Digit Murphy became the NCAA's alltime winningest Division I women's hockey coach when the Bears beat BU last Tuesday. Murphy has 293 career wins, passing former Providence and Yale coach John Marchetti. The win also puts her in third place all-time for all divisions, behind Middlebury coach Bill Mandigo (334 wins) and Minnesota coach Laura Halldorson (326 wins), who also coached at Colby. . . .

In BU's 8-0 women's victory over Sacred Heart on Saturday, the Terriers outshot the Pioneers, 42-4.