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Reversal of Fortune for RPI Hockey Team

By Ken Schott

Schenectady Daily Gazette, October 19, 2008

TROY - Last year, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute dominated Bentley in a season-opening 4-0 win. The Engineers outshot the Falcons, 45-16, and thoroughly controlled the play.

A year later, the Engineers did not give a repeat performance.

Jeff Gumaer scored his second goal of the game 1:44 into sudden-death overtime Saturday, lifting Bentley to a 4-3 non-conference victory over the Engineers, stunning a homecoming sellout crowd of 4,780 at Houston Field House.

The fans were standing and cheering, hoping the Engineers could get their first win of the season. Instead, they fell to 0-3.

The last time RPI failed to win at least one of its first three games was in 2003-04, when it started

0-2-1. The Engineers haven't lost their first three games since they opened 1995-96 0-5.

"It was sloppy," RPI coach Seth Appert said. "It was a letdown after how hard we played last night [in a 1-0 loss at New Hampshire]."

Gumaer, who scored the game's first goal 1:25 into the second period, was skating down the left wing on a three-on-two when RPI defenseman John Kennedy went to the puck carrier, Dustin Cloutier, in the slot. Defenseman Bryan Brutlag had Cloutier covered.

Gumaer ripped a wrist shot past goalie Allen York, silencing the RPI fans.

"Cloutier looked the other ‘D' off. He looked like he was going to go wide to [Kane] Osmars," Gumaer said. "I just filled that lane. Once [Cloutier] stepped over the blue [line], the ‘D' had no idea I was there."

Bentley coach Ryan Soderquist believes it's the biggest victory in the program's history, especially after the Atlantic Hockey team was dominated by the Engineers last year.

"We left here last year very disappointed," Soderquist said. "We wanted to anything to get back here again and play, and we had the opportunity to play here again and we took advantage of it."

The Falcons (1-1) were coming off a 4-1 loss at Colgate on Friday. Appert got a scouting report from Colgate coach Don Vaughan, who said the Falcons played a physical game. Some of the players didn't get the message.

"Our players just weren't prepared mentally for how hard Bentley was going to play, especially our younger players," Appert said. "I thought our older players were very good today.

"Our younger forwards didn't want it to be that hard tonight."

The Engineers took a 2-1 lead late in the second. Tyler Helfrich ended RPI's scoring drought at 137 minutes, 25 seconds when he scored with 5:02 left in the period to tie it, 1-1. Seth Klerer snapped the tie with 1:31 left. Thirty seconds later, Dain Prewitt tied it for Bentley.

The Falcons regained the lead with 5:56 left in the third when Pat Percella tipped a Mike Switzer drive past York. Two seconds after York was pulled for an extra attacker, Matt Angers-Goulet scored with 1:12 left to tie it.

The Engineers killed off a power play that carried into OT. Twenty-nine seconds later, Gumaer scored to make RPI 3-21-1 in its last 25 games dating back to last season.