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Third-Period Rally Lifts Vermont over RPI

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, October 12, 2008

Quebec City, Quebec - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute may win a few more hockey games this season but the Engineers still have to alleviate the same problems that have hampered them the past two seasons: not enough offense, too many penalties, and more importantly, being dominated in the third period.

That was painfully obvious in Saturday's 4-1, season-opening loss to the University of Vermont.

Defenseman and Cornell transfer Justin Milo scored two goals and Vermont outscored the Engineers 3-0 in the third period before 2,200 fans at Pavillon de la Jeunesse.

Freshman left winger Patrick Cullen gave the Engineers a 1-0 lead with a rebound goal with 2:22 remaining in the first period but the Engineers had painfully few scoring chances after that and opened a season in defeat for the third straight season.

The Engineers are home today at 5 for an exhibition game against the U.S. 18 & Under Team.

Vermont's Chris Atkinson broke a 1-1 tie just 3:45 into the third period and the Catamounts added two more within the next 7:51 but Rensselaer coach Seth Appert said the 20th-ranked Catamounts actually "won the game" in the second period.

"It looks like on the (scoresheet) they won the game in the third period but actually, they really won it in the second," Appert said. "We controlled the first period but their experience at forward took over in the second. Their speed and strength at forward controlled the play, kept us in our own end and put us on our heels."

Milo put one just under the crossbar from a sharp angle to tie the game at 1:17 of the period.

"We started to take some penalties," Appert said, noting the Engineers were penalized three times during the remainder of the second period and took three more during the first 9:11 of the third.

"We actually played quite well in the third," Appert said, "but we had some sloppiness on their second and fourth goals. Actually, on the first one, too. We gave them three easy goals that they didn't have to work very hard for."

"In terms of coverage right around the net, we were sloppy," Appert added.

Atkinson popped in a close-range rebound to tally the eventual game-winning goal just 3:45 into the stanza.

Three minutes later, Rensselaer penalty killers left Brayden Irwin wide open just inside the left circle and the junior center took a feed from Brian Roloff and rifled a shot past RPI goaltender Mathias Lange.

"That was a very nice play," Appert said.

Milo jumped into the play and scored in the lower slot at 11:36.

Jack Downing and Peter Lenes both assisted on each of Milo's goals.

"Mathias made some real nice saves for us and played pretty well," Appert said of Lange. "There was not much he could do on the second and fourth goals."

Cullen scored shortly after a faceoff in the Vermont end late in the first period.

Chase Polacek won the faceoff and eventually, Scott Halpern took a shot.

Polacek pushed a rebound on the net and Cullen banged home Polacek's rebound.

"Nice execution on that play from Chase, Scotty and Patrick," Appert said. "Chase got a swipe at it and then Patrick put in the second rebound."

The Engineers visit New Hampshire on Friday night and host Bentley in their official home opener on Saturday night at 7.