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Second Period Surge Lifts Cornell over RPI

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, January 12, 2008

TROY - Rensselaer played with passion, fire and intensity on Friday night; all those ingredients you need to win.

It wasn't enough, however. The Engineers don't have a skilled playmaker/finisher such as Cornell's Topher Scott. They couldn't break out of their offensive doldrums and couldn't end their losing streak, as Scott set up one goal and scored the second, leading the Big Red to a 2-1 ECAC Hockey victory.

The loss was the sixth straight for the Engineers, the third by one goal in that skein, and dropped them to 3-3-2 in league play, 8-11-3 overall.

Discounting RPI's 5-on-3 goal vs. Colorado College, the tally by defenseman Garret Vassel early in the third period was just the Engineers' seventh goal in their last five games.

The Engineers visibly outplayed the Big Red (5-2-0, 7-5-2) for the entire first period but couldn't finish on several scoring chances and that fact, coupled with RPI's utter futility on the power play, cost them the game.

A silver lining for strict optimists was the fact that the Engineers, outscored 31-7 during the third period this season, played a solid final stanza.

Vassel having scored on a backhander at 31 seconds, though, RPI couldn't net the tying goal.

It's hard to imagine RPI players not being frustrated at this point but head coach Seth Appert used the word disappointing.

"It's disappointing, I don't know about frustrated. Sure, we did (play well enough to win and I think we've done that a lot this year and some of (Friday's loss) I think, again, is our immaturity.

"We played really hard tonight with a lot of passion," Appert said, "and controlled much of the game. We did not execute (well), or use our smarts the last five or six minutes of the game."

Sophomore defenseman Erik Burgdoerfer took a major checking from behind penalty with two minutes remaining in the game and while forechecking well in their attempt to tie the game, the Engineers didn't handle the puck well.

"Obviously taking the penalty (hurt)," Appert said, "and then throwing the puck around and playing a little panicked in those last five minutes and that where you really have to have the poise, calmness, the maturity, from everybody on the ice, no matter what class (in school) they in."

Cornell goalie Ben Scrivens made a big stick save on Ben Contini after a giveaway in the Cornell zone with 7:20 remaining in the first period.

Jake Morissette shot high from right in front of the net and Matt Angers-Goulet took three backhanded whacks at the puck on a wraparound try with 4:37 remaining.

The Engineers struggling to score goals, outshot the Big Red 14-4 in the period but left the ice in a scoreless tie.

"I don't think it cost us the game, because we still played aggressively," Morissette said.

Morissette and his frustrated teammates had their heads up in the RPI lockerroom, believing if they keep playing the way they did on Friday night, the victories will come.

"We really can't be disappointed with our effort or the passion we played with," Morissette said, "but we have to be prepared for another game (tonight vs. Colgate) and come out and get a win."

Vassel walked down the slot at the outset of the third period and notched his first goal of the season.

"Good pass by Andrew Lord and I got a quick-backhander," Vassel said.

The shot hit Scrivens in the chest and knocked him off balance and he fell over the goal line with the puck.

Cornell's Tyler Mugford cross-checked Lord several seconds after the goal but no penalty was whistled.

A weird bounce over an RPI stick gave Scott and Michael Kennedy a 2-on-1.

Scott passed right to left and Kennedy beat Lange with a chip shot.

"I tried to move over but I was a little late," Lange said. "They executed it well."

"It's frustrating for everybody" Lange said. "I thought we outplayed them all game except for a couple small stretches of the second period."

Scott deked around a defenseman later in the second period and wristed one past Lange for a 2-0 lead.

"I thought we played well in all three periods," Appert said. "I thought we were great in the first, very good in the third, except for the last five or six minutes and I thought the second was pretty even.

"Their seniors and their skilled guys executed a few more plays in the scoring area than we did," Appert said. "Any time you play a team of that talent level and outshoot them 30-13, you've done a lot of good things. We just didn't execute to finish them off.