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RPI Gets Win Out of Mid-air

Helfrich's First College Goal in Overtime the Difference

By Matt Graves

Albany Times Union, October 21, 2007

TROY - Tyler Helfrich couldn't have picked a better time for his first collegiate goal. It turned out to be the only goal produced by either RPI or Sacred Heart in 61 minutes and 56 seconds of hockey Saturday night.

Helfrich found himself alone at the edge of the crease when the rebound of a shot by Jake Morissette from between the circles flew straight up in front of the Sacred Heart crossbar.

The freshman forward waited momentarily until the puck fell to legal height (below the crossbar) to avoid a high-sticking call and knocked it out of mid-air past goalie Stefan Drew to end a scoreless duel 1-0 in front of 5,049 fans at Houston Field House.

"From what I could remember of it, there was a battle there just by the circle and the puck shot loose to Mo (Morissette) and he was fortunate to get a good shot on net," said Helfrich, who had no doubt it was a legal goal. "I think it hit something and popped up and kind of squirted. I beat my guy and was fortunate to bat it out of the air."

Some of the Sacred Heart players complained briefly, but the goal stood and RPI had its third victory of the season. The Engineers have still not allowed a 5-on-5 goal in five games (3-2-0) this season and this was goalie Jordan Alford's second shutout (26 saves).

"We saw it on tape," said RPI coach Seth Appert. "It was under the bar. Where his stick started was above the bar, but when he hit it, it was well beneath. It was probably 8-10 inches beneath the bar when he hit it."

All of that drama might have been avoided had the Engineers not continued to struggle mightily with their power play. They went 0-for-6 with the man advantage and have managed to convert only once in 24 power-play situations this season.

The best action of the first 40 minutes came on a bone-jarring hip check from RPI freshman Bryan Brutlag on Reade Wolansky that riled teammate Bear Trapp into a penalty, but the Engineers again couldn't capitalize.

"Both goalies played very well," Appert said. "We were very physical in front of our own net. I thought it (his check) was great."

Sacred Heart (0-2-0) coach Shaun Hannah did not question the game's only goal.

Notes: Troy native Kevin Sullivan, an official for 20 years, worked his final men's college game as an assistant referee. ... Union coach Nate Leaman was in the stands scouting the Engineers, his first-round opponent in Friday's Governor's Cup Tournament at Times Union Center. Union plays an exhibition with Trois Rivieres today in Schenectady.