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Bâby Sparks Cornell Past RPI, 3-2

By Bob Weiner

Schenectady Daily Gazette, January 19, 2003

TROY - Rensselaer might have won the first and third periods, but Cornell showed why it's ranked among the top teams in the nation with a dominating second period.

The Big Red scored three times in the second session, including two on the power play, and then held off a late charge by the Engineers for a 3-2 ECAC victory Saturday at Houston Field House.

Stephen Bâby, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound junior right wing, was involved in all three scores for the Big Red (8-1, 14-3). He knotted the score at 1-1 by freeing himself from a crowd in front of the net and flipping the puck past Rensselaer junior goalie Nathan Marsters at 3:02 of the second period.

Bâby then connected for a power-play goal on a hard slap shot from the slot at 14:44 before setting up the Big Red's third goal, also on the power play, by blasting a screamer from the left point. Ryan Vesce, Cornell's leading scorer, deflected the puck into the net for his 11th goal of the season.

"What makes this win so special is that we finally figured out their penalty kill," said Cornell head coach Mike Schafer. "It was frustrating for a while, but we finally did it."

"I thought we came out real hard. It's very frustrating for us right now," said Rensselaer head coach Dan Fridgen. "We won the first period, 1-0, and we won the third period, 1-0. We should have won the game. But we end up giving up two power-play goals, and that's the difference in the game."

"I think we elevated our game. We bounced back real well from the loss to Colgate."

Rensselaer got off to a fast start when sophomore left winger Nick Economakos took a pass from Ben Barr and beat sophomore goalie David LeNeveu with a quick wrister just 2:03 into the opening period.

But the Big Red kept the pressure on Marsters for the rest of the period, putting 10 shots on goal.

"Cornell is a good team. They don't make mistakes," said Marsters. "I think that first goal I gave up was a rainbow knuckler that I just didn't see that well. I wish I had that one back."

"Their last goal was deflected, and I didn't see it until the last second. I feel bad, because if I had stopped a couple of those goals, we could have won this game."

Rensselaer climbed back to within a goal when freshman winger Kirk MacDonald scored his second goal of the season at 5:33 of the final period.

"The puck took a crazy bounce off the boards, and everyone was going the other way," said MacDonald. "I just fired the puck at the goalie."

"We all went out and played hard tonight. Nobody expected us to win. But we outplayed them in the first and third periods."