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Power-play Goals Not Enough for RPI

By Ken Schott

Schenectady Daily Gazette, October 13, 2008

TROY - If there is something that Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst­itute hockey coach Seth Appert can build on from Sunday's exhibition game with the U.S. National Under-18 team, it is that the team may have discovered its power play.

Now, Appert has to make sure that his team stops taking too many penalties.

The Engineers scored three power-play goals, but they also surrendered three power-play tallies in a 5-4 loss to the Under-18 team at Houston Field House.

The victory completed a sweep of the Capital Region for the Under-18 team. It beat Union, 5-4, Saturday at Messa Rink.

RPI, which arrived back on campus at 2 a.m. after Saturday's 4-1 loss to Vermont in Quebec, and the Under-18 team combined for 24 power-play attempts in a game that featured 26 penalties called by referees Harry Dumas and Bob Ritchie. This is the first year of the two-referee, two-linesmen system in college hockey.

Appert doesn't believe the way Sunday's game was called will be the norm this season, as teams get used to two refs calling penalties. There were 17 penalties called in Saturday's contest.

"I thought the officiating in [Saturday's] game was very good," Appert said. "For whatever reason, there's a lot called [Sunday]. I felt the teams took some unnecessary ones."

The Engineers' power play ranked last in the country last season at 7.1 percent. They scored just 12 power-play goals, and didn't scored more than one in a game. The last time they had a multiple power-play-goal game was Feb. 23, 2007, when they had two against Brown.

"They moved it well," Appert said. "Even in the second, we had some great looks that we just didn't convert. And both power-play units scored, as well, which is good."

RPI got a break on its first power-play goal of the game late in the second period. Goalie Brandon Maxwell stopped Bryan Brutlag's drive, but defenseman John Ramage accidently put it in the net as he tried to clear it.

Chase Polacek was involved in RPI's two third-period power-play goals. He assisted on Josh Rabbani's goal at 2:56, sending a pass from the left point to the front of the net.

Polacek scored with 9:05 left.

"We've got all the confidence," Polacek said. "We started off a little slow, and then we started seeing a couple of seems. We started going, and into a flow out there."

But the Engineers couldn't stop the Under-18 team's flow in the second period. The Under-18 team scored four straight goals to erase a 1-0 deficit. The first three goals came on the power play.

The first one was set up by Jerry D'Amigo, who has committed to RPI for next season. He bounced off Erik Burgdoerfer's check behind the RPI net, and got the puck to Chris Brown. He passed it to Cam Fowler at the left point, and he skated up the left wing, went behind the net and stuffed it past goalie Allen York.