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Quinnipiac Holds Off RPI

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, February 2, 2008

TROY - So typical a defeat was Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's 3-2 loss to Quinnipiac on Friday night.

The Engineers played hard, played intense, played smart. They simply, once again, could not produce enough offense to win.

The difference in the game can also be used to illustrate RPI's big problem.

Eric Lampe, the Bobcats' third line centerman, scored a hat trick, giving him 10 goals for the season.

Rensselaer has no one with as many as eight.

It appeared that the Engineers were to held to one or 0 goal for the fifth straight home game in when freshman defenseman Bryan Brutlag scored an extra-attacker goal on a rebound with 58.6 seconds remaining.

Rensselaer again pulled goalie Mathias Lange after the faceoff and pressured the Quinnipiac zone but couldn't get another scoring chance before time ran out.

"I think tonight we got beat by a team that's probably better than us," RPI coach Seth Appert said. "Their stick skills and their size and strength … and their depth.

"We did a good job containing their top two lines (centered by Brandon Wong and Dan Nelson) but that's why they're one of the premier teams in the country, because they have guys like (David) Marshall and Lampe on their third line."

Appert agreed that Lampe's points production (10-3-13) "speaks to (Quinnipiac's) scoring depth. We don't have that.

"And that's the strength of their team, their depth, their stick skill and their size and they were a little too much for us."

For the third time in the past five games, RPI scored the game's first goal but came away a loser. The Engineers are now 3-8 in games decided by one goal.

The loss drops the Engineers, 9-16-3 overall, to 4-8-2 in ECAC Hockey and keeps them firmly drops them into a tie with St. Lawrence for 10th place in the 12-team league. Sixteenth-ranked Quinnipiac gained a second-place tie at 7-3-3 and improved to 15-7-3 overall.

Andrew Lord scored RPI's first goal, becoming the first RPI player this season to notch a goal in three consecutive games.

His disappointment wasn't tempered by that fact.

"A loss is a loss," he said. "It doesn't really matter who got a couple goals."

On a power play, Lord, standing in front, deflected a shot by Chase Polacek past Quinnipiac goalie Bud Fisher. That's been missing most of the year as RPI's power play has struggled.

"The power play seems to be getting better," Lord said. "Seems like the guys are getting a lot more confident with the puck. We seem to be snapping it around out there a more and winning a lot more battles, getting control of the puck."

The Engineers had a full power play to begin the second period but after the failed to create scoring chance with the man advantage, Quinnipiac took command.

Lange made a pad save of a right-slot blast by Dan Henningson and the rebound kicked right to Lampe in the lower right slot. The sophomore fired the puck over Lange to tie the score at 6:09.

Three and one-half minutes later, Lampe won a puck battle behind the net, fought off a check and fired a wraparound between Lange and the goalpost. He banged in his own rebound on Quinnipiac's pretty 3-on-2 rush into the RPI zone, on which right winger Marshall and defenseman Henningson made sharp passes.

"We were in back, in position," Appert said. "But one of their guys beat one of our guys to the net. But they made three extremely highly-skilled plays up (the ice) on the way to the net. Then, (Lampe) beat our guy to the net."

Brutlag described his goal.

"I was pinching in low and Chase put a shot on the net and it hopped out on my stick and I just put it in. We were playing real aggressive at the end there and it paid off."

Unfortunately, the Engineers needed another one at that point. They had some good chances earlier.

Just 2:20 into the second period, Dan Peace had Fisher beat from the mid-slot but shot wide. A few minutes later, a Matt Angers-Goulet's deflection went just wide.

Late in the third, Polacek couldn't haul in Tyler Helfrich's cross-ice pass that would have created a good chance and six minutes into the third, a rebound trickled away from the unchecked Angers-Goulet.

The Engineers host Princeton tonight on Big Red Freakout! Night, hoping to extend their unbeaten string (12-0-5) on that traditional night to 18 games.

Having Freakout one night after another tough loss can be a positive.

"I think so," Appert said. "(Tonight) is a special night for anybody who puts on that (RPI) sweater. This is one of the many points of history and tradition here that make RPI hockey special."

"It's always good to have something like (Freakout) to look forward to," said RPI assistant captain Jon Ornelas.

"Freakout always a very exciting night no matter how you're heading into it," Morissette said.