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Barr Changes Position, Sparks Rensselaer Win

By Ken Schott

Schenectady Daily Gazette, November 24, 2002

TROY - A shift from right wing to center proved to be the right move for Ben Barr.

The junior forward had the first two-goal game of his career Saturday, and he tied a personal best with three points in leading Rensselaer to a 5-3 non-league hockey victory over Mercyhurst at Houston Field House.

Barr's second goal of the game, a short-handed tally with 5:36 left in the second period, was his fourth of the year. That matches his career high, set during his freshman season.

It also proved to be the game-winner, his second of the season. Of his 10 career goals, Barr has four game-winners.

"He had a real solid game," RPI coach Dan Fridgen said. "He did a great job killing penalties. He's the type of guy, through his work ethic and the way he's worked during the off-season, and even since the start of the season, he's one of those guys that you can count on to give 100 percent every single night, no matter what he's doing."

Barr centered a line with Eric Cavosie on the left wing and Nick Economakos on the right.

"[Barr] is very solid defensively, no matter if he's on the wing or at center," Fridgen said. "To give that line a little bit more stability from a defensive perspective, I wanted to put him in the middle as opposed to somebody else, because I know he's capable of doing that."

Barr, whose other three-point game came Feb.17, 2001, against Yale, is one of the players who is needed to help pick up the scoring void left by the departures of Marc Cavosie and Matt Murley.

"It's always nice to put a couple in the net," Barr said. "But different guys have been stepping up for us. We had Kevin [Croxton] the last couple of games. The puck's going to start bouncing our way one of these days."

Barr picked up an assist on Mikael Hammarstrom for a power-play goal with 4:56 left in the first period, which gave RPI (6-7) a 2-1 lead.

After Dave Borrelli tied it for Mercyhurst (4-6-1) on a power-play goal with three minutes remaining in the first, Barr regained the lead on RPI's second power-play goal of the game with 49 seconds left in the period.

But it was his short-handed tally that proved to be the difference.

Barr forced a turnover in the neutral zone. He sidestepped two Mercyhurst defenders and had a breakaway. Goalie Matt Cifelli attempted to poke the puck, but that left the top half of the net open. Barr fired it over Cifelli's left shoulder.

"I chipped it by the first [defenseman] trying to get it out of the zone," Barr said. "It was bouncing. Another guy went down on his knees. It was bouncing between his legs. I just picked it up. I saw [Cifelli] come out and try to pokecheck, so I shot it upstairs."

That goal certainly took the life out of the Lakers.

"It certainly was a killer," Mercyhurst coach Rick Gotkin said.