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Miami Rallies Past RPI

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, December 16, 2007

TROY — Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's played with, even outplayed at times, 2nd-ranked Miami on Saturday night for two periods on Saturday.

Then the Engineers came crashing to the ice as the RedHawks filled the net in the third period and dealt RPI a 7-3 drubbing.

The 16th-ranked Engineers bolted to a 3-1 lead late in the first period but then totaled just six shots on goal the rest of the way against the bigger and far more-skilled RedHawks.

The defeat was typical of several of the Engineers' six losses this season. The Engineers build a 2-goal lead against superior teams such Miami, or Minnesota, or Notre Dame, then falter in closing period.

This time, though, the Engineers (8-6-3) stopped competing hard and senior goaltender Jordan Alford had an off night.

Miami's five-goal third period means RPI has been outscored 21-6 in the third period this season.

The Engineers led 3-1 and appeared to be in total control after junior center Matt Angers-Goblet came out the penalty box, and one second later, took a pass from Andrew Lord, walked in on Miami goalie Charlie Finger and slipped in between his legs.

The Engineers had just one quality scoring chance the rest of the way.

Freshman center Carter Camper scored two goals and assisted on two others for the 15-2-0 RedHawks, while Ryan Jones and Justin Mercier each had one goal and two assists.

Trailing 3-2 after two periods, the Red Hawks' tied the score 3-3 on a deflected goal by Camper at 9:40 of the third, then Mercier scored a short-handed goal at 12:42, putting the Miami head.

The Engineers didn't respond well at that point and the RedHawks, pouncing on RPI turnovers, added three more goals over the final 5:16.

"What happened was, that's the best team in the country," Rensselaer coach Seth Appert said of Miami when asked what happened over the latter stages of the game.

"We played very good in the first," Appert said. "Take nothing away from what we did. We made plays, we were aggressive, and we used our speed. (Then) they decided they wanted the puck in the second and third.

"That is the physically strongest team that I've seen in college hockey in some time," Appert said of the RedHawks. "They compete for pucks like none other.

"Still, we didn't give up that many opportunities," Appert said. "Our defensive corps competed hard tonight and defended pretty well. Jordan and Mathias (Lange, the other goaltender) have been great all year but (Saturday night) was not a strong effort for Jordan. There were probably three or four goals that you'd say were of the soft variety."

The RedHawks pulled within 3-2 on Camper's shorthanded goal just 40 seconds into the second period, when the Engineers got caught in deep and gave up a 2-on-1 break. Alford made the initial save on Jones' backhander but the puck slipped loose and Camper fired it home.

"We still had a chance to win the game," Appert said. "You have to stay aggressive, especially mentally. They took it to us … but we still could have won with stronger play, especially from our upperclassmen.

"Guys have to look inside," Appert said of the Engineers. "We had too many guys in the second and third (periods) who didn't want the game to be that hard, wanted it to be easy. And that's part of being young. That's where your upperclassmen have to be stronger, more competitive and tougher in those situations. You can't expect the freshmen to lead the way in that tough of a game."

Seth Klerer scored on a goalmouth rebound for RPI 3:29 into the game and freshman defenseman Bryan Brutlag fired one past Effinger for a 2-1 lead at 10:38.

The teams meet again today at 4 p.m.

Can the Engineers stay in the game all the way?

"They're a big team and all that," said RPI defenseman Peter Merth, "but we just have to outwork them, for 60 minutes, not just the first (period). We can, we've done it before."

"Play with passion for the whole game," said winger Andrei Uryadov. "I know we can, we did in the first period. You have to for the whole game against a team like Miami to be successful.