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On the Offensive

Engineers Find Scoring Touch, Tie Dartmouth

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, February 9, 2008

TROY – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute gave its fans plenty to cheer about on Friday night, though not a victory. After trailing by four goals in the second period, the Engineers roared back to tie Dartmouth, then nearly won the game in overtime before settling for a 4-4 ECAC Hockey deadlock.

Andrei Uryadov scored on a pretty backhand goal from in front, after skating around the net, to tie the game at 5:37 of the third period, his seventh goal of the season and his first point since Dec. 1.

Freshman center Chase Polacek and both his linemates Tyler Helfrich and Scott Halpern all scored one goal and assisted on another for the Engineers, who had won just one of their previous 13 games.

The standoff leaves the Engineers with a 4-9-3 ECAC Hockey record and moved them ahead of St. Lawrence (4-9-2) into ninth place in the 12-team league, while Dartmouth remained in last place at 3-10-2. The Big Green (8-11-2 overall) had bolted to a 4-0 lead early in the second period, as RPI goalie Jordan Alford wasn't sharp.

After Dartmouth freshman Kyle Reeds half fanned on a shot from the right circle, he quickly teed up again and fired a blast past Alford for a 3-0 lead at 4:17 of the second period.

Mathias Lange replaced Alford and less than three minutes later, a shot by defenseman Dan Markowitz, which was heading way wide, hit the shoulder of an RPI defender and bounced past Lange.

Then the Engineers (9-17-4), who had scored a total of just 11 goals in eight previous league home games, erupted, and goals by Halpern, Polacek and Helfrich made the count 4-3 by the 11:40 mark.

Rensselaer defenseman Jeff Foss sent a long shot on net in overtime that nearly jumped over the stick of Dartmouth backup goalie Joe Grossman, and Matt Angers-Goulet was open in front but the puck couldn't haul in a goalmouth pass.

"At no time in the game tonight did I feel like we were playing poorly," RPI coach Seth Appert said. "We were outshooting them, probably outchancing them pretty strongly, and we were down 4-0.

"Jordan Alford's been really good for us this year, tonight he battled it a little bit," Appert said. "He probably gave them their first two goals, probably ones he would normally save. Then Lange goes in there and (the Big Green) get a goal that ricochets off about four guys and goes in the net."

"I wasn't happy that we gave them that lead," Appert said, "... but when all seemed to be going against us, we were struggling ... to have the resiliency to come back and to play that hard, I was really happy to see that. It showed (there's) a lot of character in that room."

Uryadov had six goals and 10 assists through the first 18 games but hadn't hit the score sheet in 11 games since. He picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone, skated around one defender, went behind the net, shredded another defender, turned as he skated through slot and backhanded the puck past the Grossman's blocker.

"(Andrew) Lord set a great pick for me, to come (from behind the net)," Uryadov said. "I was amazed at how open I was. It (the puck) stood up on me a little bit, so I had to get it off the ice a little bit."

Grossman had made a huge, pad-stack save on Uryadov late in the second period. The big Russian wouldn't be denied again.

"That was a great save by him," Uryadov said. "I thought I had him beat. I beat the defenseman and I was trying to take it wide but he made a great play."

Trailing 4-0 and looking lifeless, lethargic and lazy, the Engineers erupted, creating three rapid-fire goals.

Matt Angers-Goulet won a puck battle in the left corner and fired the puck to Scott Halpern cutting down the right slot and the freshman winger deflected the puck past Grossman at 7:54.

"We got a turnover at the blue line," Angers-Goulet said. "Andrei got it to me and I battled through and got in the corner. I saw Halpern coming down full speed, heard him screaming, so I just put it on his tape and he had a nice finish."

Thirty seconds later, Brutlag shot the puck netward from the top of the slot and Polacek, knifing across the slot, sent a pretty deflection between Grossman's legs.

"I went 5-hole," Polacek said. "He (Grossman) had it for a bit, then it kind of trickled in."

At 11:40, Polacek and Helfrich delighted the crowd on a 2-on-1 break into the Big Green zone.

Polacek, on the right, sent a cross-ice pass to Helfrich, who rifled a blast from the top of the circle, sizzling past Grossman to pull the Engineers to within 4-3.

"I got a lot on it," Helfrich said. "It was right along the ice. I wanted to get it up but it ... it worked out. I just beat him on the short side. He was still sliding over. Yeah, it was a quick. Polie gave a hard pass and I got a lot on it."

Midway through the first period, Alford stopped Josh Gillam's sharp-angle shot from the right side but allowed the puck to trickle through him and into the net. Early in the second period, Alford went to knock down a chip pass from behind the net and more or less slapped it right to Rob Pritchard, who fired it past him.

Reeds scored two and one-half minutes later.

"Goals seem to come in bunches, especially when you're struggling," said RPI captain Jake Morissette. "You get that (first) one and the confidence comes and you're able to put a couple more in the net."

The Engineers are off tonight, then travel to meet eighth-place Colgate next Friday night, to Cornell on Saturday.