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Engineers Go Down Fighting

By Brandon Thomas

Schenectady Daily Gazette, March 16, 2009

ITHACA - It was the best possible time for the the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute hockey team to deliver its "best game of the playoffs," as coach Seth Appert said.

The Engineers skated vigorously, they pounded bodies into the boards and they made Big Red goalie Ben Scrivens break a sweat for the first time in their ECAC Hockey championship quarterfinal series.

But they also couldn't recover from surrendering three goals in a span of 3:36 in the second period and lost Sunday's decisive Game 3, 4-3, at Lynah Rink.

Evan Barlow's second goal of the game - and fourth in the last two nights - countered a short-handed goal by RPI's Matt Angers-Goulet midway through the second period to start the stretch that doomed the Engineers.

"We had to take our opportunities when we could get them," said Barlow, who had four goals in the final two games of the series. "I think that short-handed goal was a little bit of a kick, but I thought we had to rebound and obviously swing the momentum back."

"I thought if we could've gotten through that penalty kill, that'd probably be the difference in the game," Appert said.

Keir Ross and Michael Kennedy stretched the Big Red's lead to three goals by the end of the second period, but RPI fought back again in the third.

"I just thought that their best players made some really skilled plays there in that critical 10-minute juncture after we scored the short-handed goal," Appert said. "They batted one goal out of mid-air. They walked the middle on another goal. They made some good plays."

Scott Halpern slipped a low shot past Scrivens 5:16 into the final frame to make the score 4-2. And with goalie Allen York pulled for an extra attacker in the final minute, defenseman Jeff Foss picked a corner from the blue line to draw RPI to within one.

But the Engineers failed to threaten from there, and Cornell advanced to a semifinal date with Princeton on Friday at Times Union Center.

RPI wrapped up its season with a 10-27-2 record, breaking the school record for losses in a season, but won its first playoff series since the 2003-04 season.

"I think we showed in these five games there's a lot inside that room. And [our seniors] helped us take a step," Appert said. "We came here to win. It wasn't a moral victory, but I was very proud with the way we played."