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RPI Hopes Scoring Explosion an Indicator of Things to Come

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, November 12, 2007

TROY - If the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers can eventually do everything as well as they broke out of a team scoring slump on Saturday night, 2007-2008 could turn out to be a successful season.

Playing at a place where they'd won just one of their past 13 games (1-11-1), against a team that, more recently, had beaten them eight straight times, the Engineers consistently beat Dartmouth up and down the ice and filled the Big Green net in a 7-4 victory.

Jake Morissette scored a hat trick, freshman right winger Chase Polacek had one goal and three assists, Matt Angers-Goulet scored two goals and Andrei Uryadov scored one goal and assisted twice.

In their previous six games, the Engineers had totaled just eight goals in regulation time.

"We had confidence the guys would eventually get some goals," RPI coach Seth Appert. "They'd been struggling but they hadn't been overly frustrated, they didn't let their frustration take away their focus."

Appert admitted the Engineers could easily have lost confidence after Friday night's 3-0 loss at Harvard, having to then bus to the site of loss after loss over the years.

"There are two ways you can go when things aren't going well," Appert said. "You can let your frustrations get the best of you as a team and as a (coaching) staff, or you can stay positive and continue to believe in one another."

"We looked the other way," Appert said. "We told them (Saturday) that's what we wanted to do. We left the hotel upbeat and in a positive mood. There were no serious meetings, no questioning what we were doing."

"We said before the game," Appert continued, "that if we make an error tonight, let's err to offense, on the side of the puck."

"Give the guys credit," he said. "They believed and went out there and played a very strong offensive hockey game."

Morissette said his last hat trick "was in juniors, for sure, my last year in junior hockey (British Columbia Hockey League)."

"It felt pretty good," he said.

Morissette, RPI's captain, had said the Engineers hadn't talked much about the fact that they'd never tasted victory against Dartmouth.

"We didn't talk much about it," he said. "You're always aware of it yeah, but this is a totally different team."

And they didn't on the bus ride home, either - getting that monkey off their backs, Morissette was asked.

"Monkey off our backs," he repeated. "No, nobody really brought it up. We were very happy to get some goals and more importantly, get our first league win."

"Any league win on the road is very important," he said, "and that was our first league win, even more important."

Morissette reiterated that the Engineers' level of confidence in their ability to score but that they certainly feel better in that regard today.

Now, don't expect the team to average 4.5 to 5.0 goals per game the rest of the season but hopefully, there will be no further extended scoring slump.

So, the Engineers, ranked No. 16 in US College Hockey Online's poll (a new one will be released today), avoid a losing streak. Prior to the loss at Harvard, they'd been unbeaten in six games (4-0-2). They are now 1-1-2 in ECACH action, 6-3-2 overall.

Angers-Goulet's first goal came on the power play, as the Engineers had gone without a power play goal in their previous 38 chances.

In addition to Polacek's four-point night, fellow freshman winger Tyler Helfrich had three assists.

The Engineers do not play until hosting American International College on Nov. 23 in the first round of the Rensselaer Holiday Tournament.