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Terriers Spank Engineers

Rensselaer Can't Capitalize on Momentum, Drops 4-1 Decision to Boston University

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, December 11, 2002

TROY - Usually to win a hockey game, a team must establish some momentum for some length of time.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute did so for a few brief moments Tuesday night, but seconds after tying the score, the Engineers permitted Boston University to score again and the Terriers skated on to a 4-1 victory.

The 14th ranked Terriers outshot the Engineers 10-3 during a scoreless first period and leading 1-0 midway through the second, appeared ready to blow out the Engineers.

Rensselaer came alive, put pressure on the BU net during two successive power plays and tied the score during the second one.

Nolan Graham deked around a BU defenseman and chipped a quick pass to Kevin Croxton streaking down the left wing.

The talented freshman beat BU goalie Sean Fields with a quick forehand wrister and the Engineers appeared to have that all important momentum.

It lasted 42 seconds.

Boston U.'s Mark Mullen skated past one Engineer in the right circle, held off defenseman Blake Pickett as he skated in on RPI goalie Nathan Marsters and beat him to the high side and the Terriers led, 2-1.

"That was the turning point in the game," said veteran BU coach Jack Parker. "They (RPI) were playing well at the time. I thought it was a more even game than the final score, especially the second and third periods."

Rensselaer coach Dan Fridgen also said Mullen's play thwarted the momentum that RPI could have gained and turned the game around.

"I thought that (goal) that Kevin scored - Nolan made a great play on it, put it through some soft ice with Kevin breaking - was going to get us going. But the next shift later ... I just thought that, overall, we had too many turnovers that they capitalized on."

"And mistakes can certainly kill any momentum."

The Engineers let BU 4th -line winger skate Matt Radoslovich right down the slot to score midway through the third period for a 3-1 Terriers lead and after a turnover, freshman defenseman Keith MCWilliams allowed Justin Maiser to walk around him and fire away at Marsters on the final goal.

"Sometimes when you turn the puck over, it can leave a defenseman flatfooted," Fridgen said.

Croxton, RPI's hottest player with five goals and four assists in eight games, was superlative in his praise of Graham's pass.

"Oh, that was a big-league play by him," the slender right winger said. "He delays in the middle, then puts it on a string almost. I couldn't ask for any better of a pass."

And it was the kind that can turn a game around but it didn't.

"We have to be more consistent," Fridgen said.

The 9-6-2 Terriers, who've had an up-and-down campaign since a 5-1 win over Rensselaer early in the season, protected their lead well. And the Engineers seemed to lose their will in the third period and gave up two soft goals.

The Engineers were trying to post a two-game winning streak against teams from the four established conferences for the first time this season. Instead, they fell to 7-9-1 overall. But that mark is 4-9-1 when one excludes three victories against the lower-level Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

It marked the sixth time this season the Engineers were held to one goal or less.

And, even though there were just 48 shots on goal in the contest (25-23 RPI), the Engineers had some Grade A chances. Fields robbed them on several.

He gloved a faceoff one-timer by Ryan Shields that was ticketed for the cage roof with 5:08 remaining in the first period.

Eric Cavosie made a great move around a defenseman with 8:00 remaining in the second and zoomed in on Fields and appeared to have his second career goal in 103 games. Fields' glove got in the way.

"It was close, but it didn't fall for me," Cavosie said. "I think he had a good read on it. I'd rather he got lucky but ... I was a little unlucky on that one. Maybe next time."

NOTES: The Engineers are now off until Saturday, Dec. 28 when they host Merrimack in the first round of the 52nd Annual RPI Holiday Tournament ... Croxton leads RPI in scoring at 6-9-15 ... Graham's point was just his third in 11 games. The Engineers need the senior center to step up in the second half.