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Engineers Come Up Short

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, October 13, 2008

TROY - Well, add discipline to the growing list of needed improvements for the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute hockey team.

The Engineers, after a nearly 7-hour bus-ride Saturday night, paraded to the penalty box repeatedly during the second and third period on Sunday and surrendered three power-play goals in a 5-4 exhibition game loss to the U.S. Under 18 National Team.

After RPI penalty killers survived three USA-18 power plays in the first period, the Engineers were called for eight penalties within the first 15:34 of the second period and three more within the first 6:19 of the third.

The national team connected on successive power play goals by Cam Fowler, Kyle Palmieri and Kenny Ryan within a stretch of 9:40 to build a 3-1 lead.

Kevin Lynch also scored for the US-18 in the four-goal second and high-scoring Jeremy Morin scored what proved to be the game-winner with a one-timer on a pretty 2-on-1 with Brown.

Future RPI player Jerry D'Amigo set up Fowler's goal that tied the game 1-1 at 6:43 of the second period.

Rensselaer freshman goalie Allen York had made some big saves in the first period, denying A.J. Treais, Brown, Morin, Ryan and Drew Shore from close- to mid-range.

Referees Bob Ritchie and Harold Dumas whistled nine interference calls in the game and a couple were among a handful of both lazy and foolish variety.

The Engineers had opened their season with a 4 p.m. game in Quebec City on Saturday - a 4-1 defeat to Vermont - and didn't arrive back home until after 2 a.m.

Head coach Seth Appert said the long trip played a part in both the Engineers' lack of discipline, and the fact that the speedy USA team skated around and through them for most of the game.

"Oh, I think they (did), but that's why we played this exhibition game," Appert said. "It was intentionally put on the schedule after a (road game) because this is what our young men will have to face in ECAC Hockey. You play a game, you get on the bus and get to the next hotel (late). Now, (Saturday) night's trip was (nearly) seven hours and the league trips are two or three."

"Now, it only affects you if you let it affect you mentally," Appert continued, "and I think some of our guys did. There's question that the guys who had more jump early on tonight were the guys who did not play (Saturday) night."

Appert said he "was happy to see some of those new guys play. They brought a lot of energy."

One of them was right winger Josh Rabbani, who scored a power play goal and assisted on Chase Polacek's power play goal, while Polacek set up Rabbani's goal.

Matter of fact, though stats of the game don't count toward RPI's ledger, Engineer fans had to be happy to see the Rensselaer power play tally three goals in 10 tries.

Rensselaer's power play futility - 12 goals in 170 chances (7.1 percent) gained national notoriety last season.

Sophomore defenseman Bryan Brutlag pulled the Engineers within 4-2 with a power play marker at 19:29 of the second period.

"They've moved it well tonight," Appert said of the power-play units. "Even in the second, we had some great looks that we just didn't convert. And both power-play units scored, which was good. Different units, different guys. I liked that a lot."

"And I thought Josh Rabbani was very, very good in his first game in an Engineers uniform."

Freshman Alexandre Angers-Goulet had given the Engineers a 1-0 lead with a pretty breakaway goal at 10:33 of the first period.

Midway through the first period, seconds before Chase Polacek came out of the penalty box, Morin faked a slapshot from the left circle, faked a pass, took one stride in and lasered a snapper off the near goalpost.

York made the save and after a scramble in front, the puck jumped out to Matt Angers-Goulet and the senior center sent his brother in on goal alone.

"We got down, I think, with four power-play goals in the second (four overall, three on the power play)," Appert said. "It seemed like we were in the box for the whole period."

"Then, in the third," he said, "we played great. We played with a lot of spirit, with a lot of fight, we executed on the power play, we executed (well) a couple faceoff plays and we had three great looks at the end there."

Polacek had a clear shot from the mid-slot with 10 seconds left but his effort was deflected.

D'Amigo, a left winger who'll join RPI next season, liked giving fans a preview of himself.

"Definitely, a great atmosphere, I liked what I saw," he said.

D'Amigo avoided a check by Erik Burgdoerfer behind the RPI net, kept control of the puck and passed to Brown in front. Fowler tapped in the rebound of Brown's shot.