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RPI Brushes Colgate

But Engineers show little bite in third period after being outplayed

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, November 10, 2001

HAMILTON - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute opened ECAC play with a victory Friday night, outlasting Colgate, 2-1.

Temper your celebration though, RPI fans.

The Engineers were thoroughly outplayed during the scoreless third period by a youthful Colgate team that had troubles at both end of the ice in its five previous games. And the Red Raiders, now 1-5-0, were picked by coaches and media to battle Princeton, Brown and Yale for the final couple of ECAC playoff berths.

Rensselaer had just one shot on goal in the third period and 18 overall.

If the Engineers (2-3-0) are to duplicate their two-victory trip they enjoyed the last time they came to central New York late last season, they'll need to dramatically increase their intensity and improve their puck movement tonight at Cornell.

Nolan Graham scored the game-winning goal and assisted on the Engineers' first-period goal, while Kevin Kurk stopped 28 shots and his defensemen did a good job tying up sticks and deflecting passes in front of him.

"That was a typical ECAC road win," Rensselaer coach Dan Fridgen said. "It wasn't pretty, it was ugly, but I mean, when you're on the road, they're not always supposed to be pretty. You just have to really concentrate on doing the little things. Fortunately tonight... they got a couple of bounces that almost got by us because they were flying. They turned up the pressure like we knew they were going to do and we were able to sustain that pressure."

The decision was RPI's first by a one-goal margin and after three one-goal defeats, that in itself should help the team.

"It was a greasy one," RPI captain Steve Munn said of the victory. "But it was nice to get a close one after the three tough losses."

The Engineers had chances to take command of the game but couldn't do so. They had a pair of power plays midway through the second period, but their puck movement on both was not sharp and they took just the one goal lead into the final period.

Fridgen wasn't displeased with that, though, and said the Colgate penalty killers were outplaying the Engineers.

"I thought we were moving the puck too much and not shooting enough (on an earlier power play)," he said. "And they (Colgate) were turning it up a notch. They were trying to score a goal and when you have that, you can't let the penalty killers outplay the power play guys. I think that's what was happening. There's that mindset that you're in an outnumber (advantage) with five guys, they've got four and the tendency is to relax a little bit."

The Engineers had a chance to all but put the game away with a power play with a little more than five minutes to play, but failed to get a shot on goal.

Thus they had to sweat out the final three minutes the same way they had the entire third period.

"We were puck-watching a little bit too much," Fridgen said, "but I thought the 'D' did a real good job, we blocked some shots and Kurky stood tall in the pipes for us."

Tied 1-1 five minutes into the second period, RPI defenseman Hamish Cunning worked hard to keep the puck in the zone and chopped it to Murley.

He sent a circle-to-circle pass to Graham on the right.

"I just took a one-timer in the slot and I think it went through his (goalie Jason Lefevre's) 5-hole as he slid across."

"Hamish made an awesome play to keep it in and he gets all the credit for that goal," Murley said. "Normally that just comes out of the zone and we've (still) got a tie game."

The Engineers got on the board early, with Murley scoring at 1:07, just 44 seconds after a Dmitry Yashin tripping penalty.

Graham dug the puck from the endboards to Lefevre's left and fed Marc Cavosie in the slot. His shovel pass found Murley cutting down the slot and the senior left winger scraped the bottom of the crossbar with his sixth goal of the season.

"I got a real good pass from Marc," Murley said, "and coach has been on me all week to start shooting more, so as soon as I got it... I kind of moved a bit so it wouldn't get blocked... and I just figured to shoot it and it popped in the net."

The Engineers gave up a 2-on-1 breakout shortly after the second period faceoff, with Etienne Morin converting on a short wrister from Kyle Doyle.