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Alford Literally Saves Game for Engineers

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, January 27, 2007

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute left winger Andrei Uryadov stayed alert while sitting in the penalty box midway through the second period at Yale Friday night.

Nine seconds after coming out, he set up Seth Klerer's eventual game-winning goal as the Engineers outlasted the Bulldogs, 2-1 in a defensive thriller.

Matt Angers-Goulet also scored one goal for the Engineers, Jake Morissette assisted on both goals and junior goalie Jordan Alford stopped 27 shots.

Alford kept his cool late in the game when the Bulldogs enjoyed a 3-man advantage for 38 seconds.

With RPI freshman defensemen Erik Burgdoerfer and Peter Merth in the penalty box, the Bulldogs pulled goaltender Alec Richards at 18:20. Burgdoerfer's penalty did not expire until 18:58.

In the meantime, Yale peppered Alford with repeated shots.

He made a huge glove save on Bill LeClerc, big pad saves on Mark Arcobello and LeClerc, a stick save on a Brad Mills blast and steered a rebound into the corner.

Finally, the Engineers cleared the puck just before Burgdoerfer returned and killed the remaining one minute of Merth's penalty, just as the game ended.

Alford let out a loud yell as the Engineers mobbed him.

"They were coming at us pretty hard; it was all a bit of a blur, really," Alford said. "I just tried to take them one shot at a time. On the 6-on-3, (Yale) shot some wide and our defensemen blocked a couple of shots, too, which was key."

"Jordan was great," said RPI coach Seth Appert. "But the most impressive thing about it all was how our guys (penalty killers), with all hell breaking loose around them, they all stayed composed and executed very well."

The victory marked just the second time all season the Engineers registered standings points in two straight league games, their having tied St. Lawrence in their previous outing.

Without regard to intricate, multi-team tiebreakers, the decision, coupled with Union's 5-3 victory at Brown, moves the 3-6-4 Engineers into a four-way tie for ninth-place in the 12-team ECACHL with Union (5-8-0), Harvard (5-8-0) and Brown (4-7-2).

Yale, at 5-7-1, 11 points, remains in eighth place. The No. 8 team will be at home for the preliminary round of the playoffs, while those finishing 9-12 will play on the road.

"Andrei made a good play," Appert said. "Like all good goal-scorers, when sitting in the penalty box, he said, 'hey, I could score a goal coming out.'"

"He jumped out yelling," Appert continued, "Jake (Morissette) took a look up the ice and got him the puck and he went in on a wide-angle breakaway. The goalie (Alec Richards) made a real nice save and the backcheckers both went to the rebound."

Klerer got there first, however, and fired it past Richards.

The 7-11-7 Engineers scored the game's first goal when Angers-Goulet flipped home the rebound of Morissette's blast on a power play at 5:24 of the second period.

"We had some good puck movement on that power play," Appert said. "And we attacked on the rush very well. Once again we struggled to finish but we created some chances."

And the RPI penalty kill, struggling so badly 2-3 weeks ago, killed all seven Yale power plays.