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Engineers Upend Princeton, 5-1

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, January 11, 2009

PRINCETON, N.J. - Things just all came together for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Saturday.

All the Engineers' problems against Top 10 teams of the past two seasons were cast to the wind when they routed No. 7 Princeton, outplaying the Tigers from start to finish and riding Mathias Lange's outstanding goaltending to a 5-1 ECAC Hockey victory.

Lange was magnificent late in the second period when the Tigers, trailing 3-1 and on a power play, peppered the RPI net with a series of high-quality scoring chances.

Then, the Engineers, outscored 32-8 in the third period before Saturday, maintained control of the game in the third, getting goals from Chase Polacek and Erik Burgdoerfer.

Unofficially, Burgdoerfer is believed to have become the first RPI defenseman to score two goals in one game since Keith MCWilliams did so in a 3-2 loss at Princeton on Nov. 20, 2004.

Burgdoerfer also assisted on Alex Angers-Goulet's goal which gave the Engineers a 2-0 lead midway through the second period.

Josh Rabbani had scored the first goal just 1:22 into the game, his fourth, fellow freshman winger Patrick Cullen claimed three assists, Polacek also had one assist and Matt Angers-Goulet assisted twice.

Rensselaer, which forged a 2-2 tie at Quinnipiac on Friday night, improved to 3-5-1 in ECACH play and 4-15-2 overall.

The Tigers (8-4-0, 13-5-0), losers of three straight, will undoubtedly not retain a Top 10 position but they were all week long and after RPI had been dominated by highly-ranked teams in recent seasons - an 0-13-0 record and being outscored, 35-16 - Saturday's victory was a huge one.

"Yes, and more important," said head coach Seth Appert, "is to see (the players') six weeks of working hard to get better in practice, finally rewarded. We needed to improve in a lot of areas and we still do, but it's so good (morale-wise, as well as the standings) to have them see some rewards for their hard work."

Princeton goaltender Alan Reynolds was making his first college start and RPI didn't take it easy on the rookie, scoring early and continuing the pressure all period.

Appert said Rabbani's goal was the games's prettiest.

"Patty Cullen made a really high-end backhand pass to Chase (Polacek)," Appert said. "Chase made a beautiful, no-look, right-to-left pass across the middle to Josh, who had beaten his man down the left side."

Alex Angers-Goulet scored on a feed from his brother for a 2-0 lead at 8:26 of the period, his third goal in five games.

"But we could have had 10 goals tonight," Appert said. "We created a lot of chances. Your success against Princeton starts with stopping them in the offensive zone, then you can get the odd-man rushes the other way."

When the first period ended just 2-0, though, the 100 or so RPI fans may have been worried.

"So was I," Appert said.

Burgdoerfer rifled a blast past Reynolds just 1:01 into the second period and the Engineers had a rare three-goal lead.

Then Lange took over.

Last season's ECACH Player of the Year Lee Jubinville socred on a power play to bring the Tigers within 3-1, then Lange took over.

"From the middle of the second period until the end of the second, we really leaned on Mathias Lange and he was spectacular," Appert said.

Lange made point-blank or lower slot saves on Brett Wilson (twice), Jubinville, Mike Kaiser and Sam Sabky to keep the Tigers at bay.

Then, for the first time this season, RPI controlled a third period.

"That was so important," Appert said. "The third was great. We continued with the improved habits that has made us a better hockey team. We continued to create odd-man rushes and we scored the two goals."

Finally, the Engineers return to Houston Field House next weekend, hosting Colgate (1-4-3, 6-9-5) on Friday night, league-leading Cornell (percentage-wise, 6-0-2, 10-1-3) the following evening. The Engineers haven't played at home since Nov. 28.

Union 4, Quinnipiac 2: The Dutchmen posted their first ECACH weekend sweep since last Jan. 18-19 and moved into seventh place in the league. The Dutchmen's 4-4-0 mark is the sixth-best record percentage-wise.

Jason Walters scored two first-period goals for the 11-8-1 Dutchmen and assisted on Adam Presizniuk's goal, his ninth, which gave Union a 3-1 lead at 4:55 of the second period.

"It's just my linemates," junior center Walters said of his two-goal night. "They (Preaizniuk and Stephane Boileau) are making it easy for me. On my second goal Pres and Stephane got the puck to the net and gave me a chance. We were just clicking tonight."

Union coach Nate Leaman said the Dutchmen "needed to get back to .500 in league play. This three (-weekend) stretch is probably going to be our toughest league games."

Corey Milan stopped 29 of 31 shots for the second straight night to earn his 11th win of the season.

Mario Valery-Trabucco tallied the final goal for Union with 1:40 remaining in the game, while Andrew Meyer and Eric Lampe scored for Quinnipiac (6-4-2, 11-7-2).

"I thought the three guys who really came to play tonight were Jason Walters, Adam Presizniuk and Corey Milan," Leaman said. "For whatever reason I thought we played well. We got up 3-1 and kind of flatted out. We were fortunate to have Corey keep us in it and then Mario had a big goal at the end there."

The Dutchmen are 3-1-1 in the past five meetings with the Bobcats since dropping the previous four.

Women's Hockey

Rensselaer 3, Quinnipiac 3: The Engineers stubbed their toe, blowing a 2-0 lead, permitting three power-play goals and failing to beat a Bobcats team that has won just four times in 25 games.

Whitney Naslund scored her ninth and 10th goals of the season and freshman Alisa Harrison assisted on both but the Engineers were outshot by the 4-18-3 Bobcats, 32-25, and didn't create enough scoring chances.

The defeat dropped Rensselaer to 6-2-2 in ECAC Hockey play and 11-7-3 overall. The Engineers had entered the weekend with the league's top-record percentage-wise, along with St. Lawrence, at 6-1-1.

Naslund broke a 2-2 tie at 6:14 of the third period, taking a feed from Harrison and roofing it over Quinnipiac goalie Tia Wishart but the Bobcats' Janine Duffy tied the game with 3:25 remaining with her seventh goal of the season.

The Engineers did a dismal job at killing penalties.

With Quinnipiac trailing 2-0 midway through the second period, the Bobcats' Elyse Cole scored just 24 seconds after Harrison's interference penalty.

With seven seconds remaining in the period, Trudy Reyns pulled Quinnipiac into a 2-2 tie just nine seconds after RPI co-captain Nicole McDonald was whistled for interference.

Duffy's goal came 1:19 into Allyson Weidner's hooking infraction.

Freshman defenseman Sierra Vadner scored a 4-on-4 goal midway through the second period to give RPI a 2-0 lead.

The toughest stretch of their schedule is facing the Engineers. They are on the road next weekend at Colgate and Cornell, then the next six games are against ECACH contenders St. Lawrence, Clarkson, Dartmouth and Harvard.