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Engineers' Efforts Go Unrewarded in 2-1 Defeat

By Phil Janack

Schenectady Daily Gazette, January 12, 2008

TROY - Only 20 seconds had ticked off the Houston Field House clock Friday night when RPI forward Kurt Colling sent Cornell's Doug Krantz flying with an open-ice hit at center ice.

It was a scene repeated over and over by the Engineers, who outworked, outshot and outplayed the Big Red nearly all night, only to find themselves outfinished. Again.

Cornell scored twice off turnovers in the second period and outlasted RPI for a 2-1 ECACH victory. It was the sixth straight loss for the Engineers (3-3-2, 8-11-3), making their return to league play.

The Big Red (5-2, 7-5-2) won their third straight game and moved two points past RPI in the conference standings.

"We played really hard tonight with a lot of passion, and controlled much of the game" Engineers coach Seth Appert said. "We needed to come out and establish a physical presence, and not be reactionary players, but initiate that physical contact. I thought the guys did a really good job of that.

"Cornell plays a certain style and tries to keep you to the perimeter, and they defend well. I'd say we probably had 10 or 12 [shots] right from the slot. That's a lot against this team, and that's enough to score more than one goal. Anytime you play a team of that talent level and outshoot them, 30-13, you're doing a lot of good things. We just didn't execute to finish them off."

RPI came out hitting in the first period and dominated Cornell, outshooting the Big Red, 14-4, but came away empty. The Engineers best chances came off the stick of Jake Morissette at 4:18 and freshman Ben Contini at 12:40, both wide open looks from the slot.

The momentum began to swing Cornell's way in the second, and resulted in the game's first goal. RPI right wing Andrei Uryadov put the rebound of his own shot over top of an open net, and the Big Red broke out of the zone.

Once in the Engineers' end Topher Scott lofted a pass on a two-on-one down low to Mike Kennedy, who put a wrister inside the left post at 4:34 on Cornell's fifth shot of the game.

A giveaway in RPI's end allowed the Big Red to extend their lead. Raymond Sawada intercepted a clearing pass in the slot and dished to Scott, who skated around a sliding Engineer defenseman in the right circle and flipped a shot that trickled in off goalie Mathias Laing's shoulder at 10:26.

"It's frustrating for everybody, not just me," Laing said. "I thought we outplayed them all game except for little stretches of the second period. We definitely played well enough to win. They put a couple goals on the board and we could only put up one and that was the difference."

RPI nearly caught a break late in the second period killing Cornell's second power play. Leading a three-on-one short-handed break, MorĀ­isette had his centering pass deflect off a Big Red defender in front and sail inches wide of an open net.

The Engineers finally broke through in the opening minute of the third period. Andrew Lord carried the puck up right wing and dished to a streaking Garett Vassel for an open backhander in close. Cornell goalie Ben Scrivens made the save, but his momentum carried him backward and into the net with the puck.

"I thought RPI carried the play to us in the first period, and we didn't handle things very well," Big Red coach Mike Schafer said. "I thought we were very fortunate to get out of the first period 0-0. We came out in the second a little more alert, and the third was a wacky period, but we survived. We did a great job of protecting the lead."