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Croxton Fits in Quickly

Calgary Freshman Helps Ease RPI Scoring Burden

By Matt Graves

Albany Times Union, November 22, 2002

TROY - Everybody knew RPI had a pair of big skates to fill this season on the offensive end, and freshman Kevin Croxton is beginning to get comfortable with the fit.

Croxton, a 6-3 forward from Calgary, has been one of the few bright offensive lights over the last two weeks for the Engineers in a dull ECAC start that has them 1-3 in the league.

After a slow start, Croxton has scored four goals in the past three games for the Engineers, who get a break from the ECAC schedule Saturday with a non-leaguer against Mercyhurst of the MAAC.

Croxton almost single-handedly gave RPI its lone league victory, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win against St. Lawrence, and he has scored a goal in each of the other league games to tie Yale's Christian Jensen for the freshman goal-scoring lead.

"He's got a lot of confidence right now," RPI coach Dan Fridgen said of his team's co-scoring leader. "He's always had a touch around the net, but until you get that first one ... With all the hard work and what he's put into it thus far, he's feeling pretty confident."

Freshman defenseman Brad Farynuk is one of the players tied with Croxton for the team lead with eight points (2-6) along with veteran forward Nolan Graham. It has been a slow start for most of the other veteran forwards.

"As we progress here and get deeper into the season, and the freshmen get more games under their belt, that's more experience for them," said Fridgen, who seems unconcerned about the poor ECAC start. "You'll see, as the season progresses, more of them stepping up and feeling more confident about their play and their capabilities at this level."

The Engineers are 5-7 overall, including a 4-4 mark in non-conference games, but they haven't scored as many as five goals in a single game since the season opener at Wisconsin.

"There's times where we've struggled to score goals in all periods," Fridgen said. "We've had some real good opportunities. Hopefully, that's a trend we hope to change as the season progresses and we gain more experience." Union underrated? Union also gets a week off from the league schedule for a rare Sunday night game against Connecticut of the MAAC. The Dutchmen, picked near the bottom in preseason polls, are 2-1-1 in the league and 4-4-3 overall.

Freshman goaltender Kris Mayotte (4-0-1) is off to a blazing beginning, sporting a 2.84 goals-against average.

Ice chips: Union's Kris Goodjohn and Joel Beal are running 1-2 in overall scoring in the ECAC with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Beal's 11 assists is the ECAC's best. ... Three of RPI's last four games have been decided by one goal.