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Union's Power Play Subdues RPI

By Ken Schott

Schenectady Daily Gazette, February 7, 2009

TROY - Rensselaer Polytechnic had three power-play chances in the first period against Union, but failed to score.

The Dutchmen got five power plays in the second period. They made the most of them.

Union scored all of their goals on the power play, with two of them coming on two-man advantages, en route to a 3-0 ECAC Hockey victory Friday night at Houston Field House.

The Dutchmen continue to hold a recent advantage in the rivalry, improving to 7-1-1 in their last nine league games against the Engineers. Union (6-8-1 ECACH, 13-12-2 overall) is 4-0-1 in its last five visits to RPI.

Goalie Corey Milan made 31 saves to record his first shutout of the season for Union, which is tied for eighth place with Clarkson. The Dutchmen's last road shutout came against RPI, a 5-0 win Jan. 12, 2007.

The win also clinched the Capital Skates Trophy because the Dutchmen own the tiebreaker by virtue of beating RPI in a shootout at the Governor's Cup Oct. 24.

"It was an ugly road win," said Union coach Nate Leaman, whose team finished 3-for-7 on the power play. "Usually, to win on the road, you have to win the specialty teams."

Meanwhile, the Engineers (5-9-1, 6-19-2) managed just two shots on their three power plays in the first period. They finished the game 0-for-5.

"Their best players were better than our best players tonight," RPI coach Seth Appert said. "That was the game."

The Dutchmen, who will host the Engineers (5-9-1, 6-19-2) tonight at 7 at Messa Rink, have scored their last six goals on the power play, three of which have come on two-man advantages.

"We've been concentrating a lot in practice on moving it quick," said Union defenseman Lane Caffaro, who tied a career high with three points on a goal and two assists. "If we're moving the puck quick, a lot of teams have a tough time killing us."

The Dutchmen, who didn't have a power play in the first period, got their first two-man advantage for 1:16 when Kurt Colling was called for goalie interference at 5:20, and Joel Malchuk got a hooking penalty 44 seconds later.

Caffaro one-timed a Jason Walters pass past goalie Mathias Lange at 6:17. Then, with 13 seconds left on the Malchuk penalty, Adam Presizniuk put in his own rebound at 7:54. He was to the right of the net when he took a Matt Cook pass. He whirled around and had his first shot stopped, but he quickly put the rebound home.

"I knew I wanted to take it to the net hard as soon as I got it," said Presizniuk, who has a team-leading 12 goals and 28 points. "Luckily, I got a rebound back there, and I put it in there."

Union got a two-minute two-man advantage with 6:03 left when defenseman Peter Merth was called for a cross-check in front of the Dutchmen net, and forward Chase Polacek elbowed Stephane Boileau after Boileau drove to the net for a shot.

Eighteen seconds into the five-on-three, Caffaro sent a pass from the right circle to Mario Valery-Trabucco to the left of the net. Valery-Trabucco fired it past a helpless Lange.

"I thought our power play really executed," Leaman said. "They were snapping that puck around. Even on that second five-on-three, we forced them to call a timeout because the guys were playing so well."

The frustrating part for the Engineers is they outshot the Dutchmen, 25-8, in even-strength play, and had nothing to show for it.

"I liked the way were playing five-on-five," Appert said. "We were aggressive, we were physical, we were attacking. I thought they did a good job protecting their lead in the third period."