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Engineers Want to Re-claim Home Ice

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, February 9, 2007

TROY - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute won its first home league game - on Seth Klerer's overtime goal - way back in November, despite being thoroughly outplayed by Princeton.

The Engineers have not won an ECAC Hockey League game at Houston Field House since, going 0-5-2.

As they prepare to host Colgate and Cornell this weekend, they feel like they owe their fans some victories.

Well, now that they're aware of the home ice futility, anyway.

Klerer was among many players who didn't know that the one decision over Princeton - the Tigers outshot RPI, 39-13.

"No, I didn't know," he said prior to Thursday's practice.

"I didn't know that, so thank you for bringing that up," said assistant captain Kevin Broad. "It's always nice to win at home for your fans. I think we have some of the best fans in the country. They've been very loyal. We'd like to give them something to cheer about."

Rensselaer will honor legendary former coach Ned Harkness during tonight's game.

The Engineers, 8-13-7 overall, were outscored 16-2 in lopsided defeats to Harvard, Dartmouth and Union in January and though RPI earned some redemption by winning at Union and playing much better in home games with Clarkson (a 4-1 defeat) and St. Lawrence (3-3 tie), the RPI faithful would love to cheer them off the ice after a win or two, though, to be sure.

"Absolutely they (deserve to)," Klerer said of the fans. "But it doesn't matter as far as getting some (standings) points. Whether we were on the road or nobody here, we're coming to win."

Standings certainly are important.

The Engineers are 11th in the 12-team ECACHL with 12 points (4-8-4) but are just one point behind Yale and Brown and two points behind eighth place Princeton (6-8-2).

The eighth-place finisher gets the final home ice berth in the preliminary round of next month's playoffs.

"We do owe them," said sophomore winger Andrei Uryadov. "We've played hard but we have to get some points and have home ice in the playoffs."

Cornell (11-9-3), despite a recent 0-5-2 slide, comes into the game ranked No. 20 nationally and in fourth place in the ECACHL at 7-6-3.

Colgate, 6-7-3, 12-14-4, is in seventh place.

The Engineers bolted to a 3-0 lead in the earlier game at Cornell but spent two-thirds of the rest of the game killing penalties and eventually settled for a 3-3 tie. They lost a 2-0 one night later at Colgate, as a pair of 5-on-3 goals allowed the Raiders to tie the game and they eventually won on Marc Fulton's power-play tip-in late in the second period.

"It's going to be a playoff atmosphere in here this weekend," Broad said.