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Collapse Crushing to RPI

Engineers Blow Lead, Drop Fifth Straight Game

By Kelly Tomlinson

Albany Times Union, February 1, 2003

CANTON - Ben Barr couldn't so much as muster a smile.

What should have been a night to remember for the junior forward wound up being just another in a long string of forgettable performances for RPI.

The Engineers gave up three third-period goals Friday night and lost 4-2 to St. Lawrence in an Eastern College Athletic Conference game at Appleton Arena.

RPI's fifth straight loss left it four points behind St. Lawrence, which is in a three-way tie for eighth in the ECAC. The Engineers are 1-9-1 in their last 11 games.

"It's getting kind of old, you know?" said Barr, who scored both RPI goals. "Up 2-1 going into the third period. ... It just doesn't happen. It's frustrating, but you've got to keep going."

A disconsolate Dan Fridgen agreed.

"First period we did a great job," the RPI coach said. "Second period? We did a great job. It probably should have been about 5-1 in our favor. We just didn't capitalize. We came out 2-1, but then we let down for two minutes and it's bang, bang. What can you say?"

"You look at it - I thought we played well enough to win. It shouldn't have been that close."

RPI (8-17-2 overall, 2-9-2 ECAC) led 2-1 heading into the third on a pair of power-play goals by Barr. The 6-foot, 190-pound center scored his seventh and eighth goals of the season 4 minutes, 2 seconds apart at the end of the second period.

It was Barr's second two-goal game of the year. He also scored twice at Mercyhurst on Nov. 23.

His second goal, on a wrister from just outside the crease after Saints goalie Mike McKenna failed to cover up Nick Economakos' snap shot off left wing, seemed to suck the life from SLU, coming with just 1:59 to play in the second. But the Engineers couldn't maintain the momentum in the third.

St. Lawrence got goals from John Zeiler and Josh Anderson in the first 4:34 of the third to take a 3-2 lead. Rich Peverley, who stretched his season-high point-scoring streak to 11 games with a four-point effort, sealed the win with an empty-netter at 19:51.

"I don't know," Barr said. "They come out and get a quick one and it just seemed to take the wind out of our sails. We've been in that situation so many times lately, it just seems like déjà vu all over again. We need to bear down and find that little something extra."

Fridgen attributed the troubles to inexperience.

"In the third, we had a couple of shifts where we let down," Fridgen said. "It's up to everybody on the ice to realize that we have got to be focused. You're going to have breakdowns, but when those breakdowns happen, you have to make sure that you're holding down the fort - weathering the storm. All we had to do is remain composed. That's where experience comes in."

Zeiler's sixth goal of the year, which tied the score 2-2 with 2:16 gone in the third, came when no one picked up the freshman right wing as he crashed the net. Anderson scored on a delayed penalty with the Saints skating 6-on-5.

"They definitely had the energy and momentum going (into the third period)," Saints coach Joe Marsh said. "Fortunately, we had a couple of good shifts to start it. We buried one. From that point, I think it's one of the best periods we've played all year."