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RPI Undaunted Despite Loss to BU

Coaches See Good Signs from First Two Games

By Matt Graves

Albany Times Union, October 18, 2002

TROY - After surprising the University of Wisconsin on the Badgers' home ice in their season opener, the RPI hockey team found itself up against an even tougher opponent in the final of the Ice Breaker Tournament, facing old rival Boston University.

"They're a very good hockey team," RPI coach Dan Fridgen said. "They're solid from their goaltending to the defense right to the forwards. We would have had to play an even better game than we had played the night before (5-1 over Wisconsin). However, if you take away that first period, you've got a 2-1 hockey game."

One of RPI's assistant coaches said he would be surprised if the Terriers weren't in the Frozen Four this season. Another ranked them in the top five in the country, a third assistant put them as high as third off what he saw.

The Engineers fell to BU 5-1, but Fridgen still had reason to be happy after the underdog Engineers roughed up Wisconsin in RPI's first game since Marc Cavosie and Matt Murley moved on.

"I would have to say it was satisfying," Fridgen said. "Anytime you put yourself into a position where you're playing for a championship, especially in the first weekend of the season, you've got to be happy about that. It was plain they didn't expect us to be playing in that game."

The Engineers were outshot 41-15 by Boston University.

"Against teams like that, you can't afford to have a bad minute," Fridgen said. "You have to be on top of your game every second, and in playing that kind of team (BU) you have to play a more disciplined game. I thought we took too many penalties."

What was encouraging about the tournament is the fact that six different players scored goals for the Engineers.

"We're pretty well-balanced," Fridgen said. "What a team like BU does is expose your weaknesses pretty quickly. We have to tighten up in our own end of the rink, and that's just a matter of communication."

Union goalie auditions: Union coach Kevin Sneddon knew he had big skates to fill when goalie Brandon Snee graduated, and he'll start his third goaltender in as many games tonight.

"I've told our goalies all along that we wanted to give everybody a shot," Sneddon said. "It was just a matter of which order we put them in. Kris (Mayotte) will get the start against Niagara, and we'll go from there. It may take a couple of rotations before we know exactly where the guys stand."

Sneddon said all three will get their chances to prove themselves.

"My sense is that we'll get into a two-man rotation at least for the first part of league play and try to find the hottest goalie for the stretch," he said. "I thought Tim (Roth) played very well against Providence for most of the game. We didn't give him a lot of help."

Marc Wise got roughed up early, but settled down in a 4-4 tie at Merrimack.

"Marc Wise would be the first one to tell you that he just didn't play very well," Sneddon said. "To his credit, we kept him in there, and he gave us an opportunity to win the game when it was all said and done. I certainly appreciate and admire the way he battled back mentally because he did let in two or three really soft goals."