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Captain a Major Role These Days

But Eberly Welcomes Role of Leader on Young Rensselaer Squad

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, November 8, 2002

TROY - Danny Eberly has a lot of responsibility these days.

Not only is he Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's captain - on a young team seeking to establish itself - he's also the leading goal-scorer.

The senior from Canton, Mass., welcomes the leadership role, in which he follows recent popular RPI players such as Pat Brownlee, Mark Murphy, Alain St. Hilaire, Brian Pothier and Steve Munn.

Responsibility? Bring it on!

"I definitely take responsibility for the losses we've had," Eberly said. "It's not an issue of talent on this team, I think it's just an issue of us playing well together as a team. That's definitely my fault."

Eberly was referring to an 8-4 loss to UMass Lowell in which the Engineers played awfully at both ends for about 52 minutes, and a 4-3 loss at UMass in which they blew a two-goal lead and collapsed in the third period.

And perhaps a recent 3-0 loss at St. Cloud State in which he and the rest of RPI's other penalty-killing unit allowed three goals.

"When we're not playing well as a team we're not really doing much on the ice," he said.

After the dismal loss to Lowell, Eberly took much of the blame personally for "trying to do too much on the ice."

That's an urge he has to fight off much of the time.

"That's a close balance," he said. "Sometime I find myself trying to do everything myself out there. That's when, leading by example, I'm not doing a good job and a few of those games it showed."

The captain's responsibilities, coupled with less success than was expected of the teams, eventually wore on Eberly's immediate predecessors, Pothier and Munn.

Eberly doesn't foresee such a problem for himself.

"I hope it doesn't," he said. "I think it's an honor to wear the 'C' and every time I step on the ice with these guys, I get excited. I don't think it'll wear on me. Yeah, it gets frustrating when we don't win, but that's just because I hate losing. That has nothing to do with the 'C'. I just try to compete hard every day and get these guys to do the same thing."

Eberly was an assistant captain to Munn as a sophomore two seasons ago and was the easy pick of the Engineers to lead the team this season.

"I hope they look up to me," he said when asked. "I try to lead these guys on and off the ice as much as I can and put forth 150 percent."

"He brings a strong mental approach and work ethic that compels the rest of the team," RPI coach Dan Fridgen said of Eberly.

Eberly thinks the Engineers' bulldog approach is their main strength, as well as some better balance at forward.

"The attitude of the team, the work attitude, is great. Some other teams I've been on... you can have the best talent in the league, but if someone isn't happy to be there every day or doesn't want to show up and work hard, that's a very hard thing to overcome."

"These guys, everyone has a go-get'em attitude. These guys lay it on the line every day. We don't have the individual goal-scorers on this team like we had last year in Marc (Cavosie) and Matt (Murley), but we still have lots of talent on this team and when we get six guys playing hard for a full shift, we're a hard team to beat."

Biggest thing to work on?

"I'd say concentrating on team defense is something we're going to have to focus on and get better at over the season," he said. "When we put our minds to it and play well defensively, we can shut teams out. But it's definitely going to be something we're going to have to concentrate on and be more consistent."

Eberly is not only RPI's captain, but also the most veteran defenseman on a corps that includes four freshmen. That would seem to make his job even harder.

"I'd say yeah (it would) if they weren't doing so well, but they're playing great right now," Eberly said. "So, no. We do have a lot of young defensemen out there but they're doing better than anyone expected. It's great (when) you have two freshmen out there together and you don't have to worry what's going on out there. They're solid."

Brad Farynuk, from Enderby, B.C., currently leads the Engineers in scoring (2 goals, 6 assists, 8 points) and is often on the ice in penalty-killing situations.

Keith MCWilliams (1-3-4), Alexander Valentin and Scott Romfo have gotten some added ice time with the injury to assistant captain Scott Basiuk, and have generally played well.

"It helps the whole team out knowing that the young guys we have back there can do the job," Eberly said.

Prior to this season, Eberly had just eight goals in 84 games at RPI, but already this year, he's put in four goals (4-1-5) on just 15 shots on goal.


"Yeah, it surprises me," he said. "I don't think of myself as a goal-scorer, but I'll take'em. When I get the chance to shoot, I'm going to shoot. In the past, I kind of looked for the (pass), especially out on the power play with Matt and Marc, I'd look to dish it off."

Eberly may also look to drive to the net more, too. While three of his goals came on slapshots, he made an outstanding move to score against Boston University.

He took a loose puck in the circle, faked a shot, skated in on goal and scored high on the glove side.

"Yeah, I'm looking for whatever I can get: shoot it if I have a lane to shoot through, or if there's room to skate it in, I'm going to skate in."