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Suspension Upsets Burgdoerfer, RPI

By Ken Schott

Schenectady Daily Gazette, January 23, 2009

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute defenseman Erik Burgdoerfer believes he did nothing wrong when he checked Cornell defenseman Taylor Davenport as time was set to expire in last Saturday's game at Houston Field House. So does his coach, Seth Appert.

The Big Red have a different opinion.

So does ECAC Hockey commissioner Steve Hagwell, who suspended Burgdoerfer an additional two games, not only for his hit against Davenport, but also for the hit from behind against Colgate defenseman Mark Anderson the previous night, which kept Anderson from playing against Union the following day.

Burgdoerfer, who received an automatic one-game suspension for the game disqualification on the major boarding penalty against Davenport, will miss the next three games — at St. Lawrence and Clarkson this weekend, and next Friday at Dartmouth.

The hit on Davenport occurred to the left of the RPI net as the clock wound down on the Big Red's 3-0 win. Burgdoerfer sent Davenport hard into the back boards. Davenport laid on the ice for several minutes.

"The league did what they thought was necessary," Burgdoerfer said. "That's up to them at the end of the day. I don't regret what I did. I was playing through the whistle. I thought it was a clean play. I'm glad the kid was not seriously injured on the play. But other than that, I don't regret anything that I did.

"The kid just shot the puck, and I hit him. I didn't think I hit him that hard, and he just went flying. I don't think he was expecting me to hit him. I don't know why he didn't try and brace himself. I was a little shocked at how hard he got thrown."

Appert defended Burgdoerfer's effort.

"[Burgdoerfer] was playing hard, he was playing physical," Appert said. "Cornell's trying to score a goal to add to their lead in that situation, and he was trying to defend his goalie and keep playing physical. When you look at the check, it's not from behind, it's from the front. The results you don't like to see. Obviously, we hope that Taylor Davenport's OK, and that he's going to be able to play not only this weekend, but for the remainder of the season.

"You never wish ill will on an opponent. I thought, at that point, Erik Burgdoerfer was being a good teammate, and defending his team and trying to keep Cornell from scoring another on his goaltender."

The Big Red don't see it that way.

"I could see it from the bench happening," Big Red co-captain Colin Greening told the Ithaca Journal. "It started off with a slash, [Davenport] put the puck away, and then [Burgdoerfer] just drove him into the boards. I think it was just a classless act from a frustrated player."

This isn't the first time Burgdoerfer has gotten in trouble for hits from behind. Last Jan. 11, he hit Cornell forward Joe Scali from behind and received a game DQ. Besides the automatic game suspension, the ECACH suspended Burgdoerfer an additional game.

Cornell coach Mike Schafer is hoping that Davenport can play one of Cornell's games this weekend against Yale and Brown, but isn't counting on it. Schafer and the Big Red already are looking forward to the rematch with RPI on Feb. 20 at Lynah Rink.

"Our guys will have a long memory when they come back to Lynah," Schafer said.

WOMEN'S NOTES

Union goalie Lundy Day set a team record for saves in a career last Saturday. Day's 31 saves in a 3-1 loss to Cornell gave her 1,918 saves in her two seasons with the Dutchwomen. She surpassed Amanda Hanson, who had 1,896 saves from 2003-07.

The Union women's team will host Schenectady Youth Hockey Day on Saturday at the Dutchwomen's game against Clarkson at Messa Rink. All Schenectady Youth Hockey families can attend this game for free.

In addition, members of the mites through bantam girls will participate in the pregame skate.

The RPI women's team, in partnership with the school's fraternities and sororities, will have a food drive tonight at 7. Fans are asked to bring a non-perishable food item, as the Engineers face Clarkson.

Admission to the game is free, and a prize raffle will be held for all those who make a contribution.