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RPI Again Victim in Big Red Freakout

Bob Weiner

Schenectady Daily Gazette, February 15, 2009

TROY - Red used to be a dominant color for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, with a full house of red-clad fans in the stands and plenty of red-lamp flashes behind the net, for the annual Big Red Freakout.

But 10th-ranked Yale spoiled the Engineers' alumni-weekend celebration with a 4-1 victory before a crowd of 4,780 Saturday night at Houston Field House.

The ECAC Hockey league-leading Bulldogs improved to 14-3-1 in the league, and 19-5-1 overall. RPI, which dropped to 6-11-1 in the conference and 7-21-2 overall, is 18-9-5 in the Freakout.

"I think it's exciting," said Yale coach Keith Allain of the Freakout atmosphere. "One of the reasons kids play college hockey is to play in an environment like this."

Yale defeated Union, 4-2, Friday night despite getting only 15 shots on goal. The Bulldogs doubled that total against RPI.

"[Saturday] is more like we play usually," he said. "I think we matched their intensity."

Yale capped off the one-sided game with an empty-net goal by Jeff Anderson with 41 seconds left.

RPI coach Seth Appert obviously didn't like the score, but he was satisfied with his team's effort.

"I hate losing any night," he said. "We're fortunate that our guys are used to playing in front of big crowds a lot of nights. This game is special for the history and tradition of this program. But I thought we got beat by a better hockey team. We played hard, blocked shots and played physical. We didn't transition very well, and our puck play was poor. But our kids played hard.

"We had our opportunities, but we were hyper with the puck. We need to learn from this. We need to balance that effort with poise."

The Bulldogs got an opportunistic goal to stretch their advantage to 3-1 early in the final period. After RPI goalie Mathias Lange stopped Broc Little's initial shot with a pad save, the puck remained on the ice near the prone goalie's skate. Several seconds went by before anyone reacted to the puck, and sophomore Denny Kearney finally skated in and cleaned up on the play, scooping the puck into the net.

Yale opened the scoring at 13:24 of the first period when the Bulldogs took advantage of a line change. Junior center Mark Arcobello picked up the puck from junior right winger Chris Cahill and fired a long wrist shot from just inside the blue line to beat Lange. It was Arcobello's 12th goal of the season.

The Bulldogs increased their lead to 2-0 at 2:26 of the second period when Patrick Brosnihan got off a shot between the circles.

The Engineers finally got on the board late in the second period when Bryan Brutlag flipped the puck in front to set up Alex Angers-Goulet for a point-blank shot. It was Angers-Goulet's sixth goal of the season.

"This is a great atmosphere for us," said Brutlag, who set up teammates for several good scoring opportunities. "It gets a little frustrating when you make a good pass and the puck doesn't go in, but that happens sometimes.

"We still think we have a chance to win home ice for the playoffs. We always believe. There is a lot of pride in this program."

"Yes, we still have a chance, but we've got to win three games minimum to have a possibility of home ice," said Appert.

RPI has now lost back-to-back Freakout games.

"It's not like we're playing patsies in the Freakout," he said. "Yale has a power rating of seventh in the country."