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Colgate Sends RPI Home with Sweep

By Matt Graves

Albany Times Union, March 4, 2007

HAMILTON - The rookie season of coach Seth Appert and the careers of six RPI seniors came to a disappointing conclusion Saturday night when the Engineers were eliminated by Colgate in a third consecutive sweep in the opening round of the ECAC Hockey League playoffs at Starr Rink.

Colgate scored a pair of third-period goals, one on a penalty shot by Jesse Winchester that broke the game open at 14:12, and goalie Mark Dekanich was brilliant in net as the Raiders (15-19-4) advanced to next weekend's quarterfinals by winning the best-of-3 series two games to none.

"Their best players made a lot of big plays, especially Dekanich," said Appert, whose first season at RPI goes in the record books at 10-18-8. "He was spectacular."

The junior made 25 stops. Three in the first five minutes of the third period, when it was a one-goal game, proved critical.

"We've been getting that from (him) all year long," Colgate coach Don Vaughan said. "We knew they (the Engineers) weren't going to roll over. But for a few big saves by Mark we could still be out there or back here tomorrow."

Winchester's penalty shot was only the third successful one in school history, beating Jordan Alford with a fake and a backhander.

RPI's Oren Eizenman appeared to have scored a tying goal at 2:33 of the second period when the goal judge at the east end of the rink turned on the red light. A discussion between the officials resulted in a no-goal call.

Colgate had taken the 2-1 lead seven minutes into the second period on a strong individual effort by Tom Riley, who scored a fluke goal for the Raiders in the first game. Dekanich played a huge role in that, as well. He made a big save against Eizenman, who got the puck back and sent in another shot. Dekanich had lost his stick but still made the second save and sent the puck out to Riley. He skated over three lines and past RPI defenseman Christian Jensen to score top shelf.

RPI was stymied by Dekanich and the Colgate defense, going scoreless on eight power-play attempts despite a number of close chances.

"It's sort of been the story of the year," said senior captain Kirk MacDonald, who finished a courageous career in five seasons after missing 2005-06 recovering from testicular cancer. "I guess it was just meant to be. Both nights we felt like we were wearing them down coming into the third period. Both nights we gave them that third goal."

Colgate jumped to a 1-0 lead at 4:34 of the first period when freshman Jason Williams knocked a turnaround wrister underneath Alford with one second remaining in the game's first power play. RPI battled back and got a scrappy goal at 13:13 of the first period to tie the game after 20 minutes.

Jake Morissette sent a shot from the left circle that Dekanich knocked down in front. MacDonald poked at the loose puck underneath Dekanich before a Colgate defenseman cleared it out onto the stick of Jonathan Ornelas, who rammed it back home.

This was also the finale for Eizenman, Kevin Broad, Luthi, Ryan Swanson and Tommy Green.