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'Gate Shut Tight for Engineers

Red Raiders Add to RPI's Offensive Woes

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, January 18, 2003

TROY — If Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is to make a move in the standings and open the ECAC playoffs at home, that move appears to be a ways off in the distance.

The Engineers are going to have to pick themselves out of a deep pit — and put the puck in the net from time to time.

They missed a golden opportunity to advance a bit on Friday night, dropping a 3-0 decision to a banged up Colgate team that had been reeling.

And when the Engineers say "we're just not getting the bounces" — as head coach Dan Fridgen, center Ben Barr and goaltender Kevin Kurk each did after the game — it wasn't just a cliché.

Moreover, Colgate certainly did get the bounces.

"Both of them (CU's first two goals) went in off our defenseman," Kurk said.

Red Raiders goalie David Cann stopped all 28 shots, several with brilliant saves and nearly half of RPI's shots came from down low — Ryan Shields had four himself.

The Engineers didn't totally outplay the Red Raiders but played well enough to and did have many more quality scoring chances.

Colgate won though, when a blast from the blue line by Colgate defenseman Joey Mormina caromed off the skate of RPI defenseman Blake Pickett and past Kurk, snapping a scoreless tie at 2:54 of the third period.

The Red Raiders withstood the Rensselaer bids the rest of the way and added two late goals against the visibly frustrated and beleaguered Engineers.

After a scramble in front, Colgate right winger Adam Mitchell flipped one toward the net and it too slipped past Kurk after deflecting off an RPI skate.

The loss puts RPI (8-13-2 overall) in a 9th-place tie in the ECAC with a 2-5-2 record.

Worse, Rensselaer has not scored a goal in nearly 94 minutes; and that's against Union and Colgate, neither of whom is among the better defensive teams in the ECAC. Tonight, RPI faces No. 4-ranked Cornell, perhaps the nation's best defensive team.

"Maybe that's a good matchup for us," Fridgen said.

"I thought we played really well, too, a real solid game," Fridgen said when asked about missed scoring chances. "The opportunities were there. I thought we did a real good job covering our guys, coming back through the neutral zone, picking up checks. Again, it comes down to a bounce here and there."

Rensselaer's best chance to score came late in the first period when Scott Basiuk found Ben Barr alone next to the Colgate net on a power play but Barr didn't catch the puck cleanly and misfired; his stick hit the goalpost as the puck trickled away.

"I didn't pick it up right until the last second," Barr said. "He (Basiuk) made a great play. I should have put it in. I didn't see it until the last second and it was too late. I lost it in my skates or something."

"We just didn't get the bounces, they capitalized on a couple breaks and game over," Barr said.

The Engineers had several chances to break the scoreless deadlock midway through the second period.

Cann dove and got an arm on the left-shooting Nolan Graham's chip shot from the right side of the net with 11:18 remaining.

"I had to wait for the puck to come across the goal line from in back of the net and he (Cann) had time to get across the crease," Graham said. "It was a good save."

One minute later, Eric Cavosie stole the puck near the Colgate blue line and set up Mikael Hammarstrom in the lower slot but he couldn't find the handle.

Notes: Captain Danny Eberly sustained a shoulder injury and a banged head when he went hard into the boards. He's questionable for tonight. ... The Engineers dropped to 1-3-0 against teams behind them (or had been) on the ECAC ladder. ...Defenseman Matt McNeely came back after missing 10 games and played well.