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Solid Effort, Same Result for Engineers

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, February 8, 2003

TROY - Things looked great for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for the first 20 minutes against heavily-favored Harvard Friday night.

Then the second period began. Ten and one-half minutes later, the Engineers, who had a one-goal lead after the first period, trailed by three.

The 13th-ranked Crimson tied the game on a fluke goal early in the period, then took control of the contest by scoring four more times to hand the Engineers their seventh straight defeat, 6-4.

Rensselaer senior center Nolan Graham and senior right winger Carson Butterwick - who two seasons ago played on one of the nation's highest-scoring lines - scored goals in the same game for the first time this season.

The Engineers clearly outplayed the Crimson throughout the first period, but after Harvard tied the score 54 seconds into the second period when the puck slid past goaltender Kevin Kurk, the game changed.

The 14-6-1 Crimson filled the net, chased Kurk and left the Engineers bewildered - and winless in their last nine games.

The Engineers are 2-11-2 in ECAC play and 8-19-2 overall.

Six different Crimson scored goals and none had more than two assists. Tyler Kolarik, Brett Nowak and Kenny Turano had two helpers each as Harvard's outstanding depth was again on display.

Sophomores C.J. Hanafin and Nick Economakos also scored for RPI. It was the sixth of the year for Economakos, who also assisted on Butterwick's goal.

Rensselaer coach Dan Fridgen called perhaps the earliest timeout of his RPI tenure, following Harvard's fifth goal 10:31 into the second period.

Yet he said flatly that the Engineers "played well enough to win the game."

"But there were a couple of shifts where we got running around defensively," Fridgen said. "That's going to happen in games. But we generated a lot of offense, played with a lot of energy and outworked them for much of the time. The only meaningful difference was, they got six (goals) and we got four."

While the tying goal, credited to defenseman Ryan Lannon, went off the foot of a forward in front of the net, the next three scores in the Crimson barrage were textbook.

Following an RPI turnover at center ice Charlie Johnson raced in on the back end of a 3-on-2 and rifled a wrist shot past Kurk to give Harvard a 3-2 lead at 2:35.

Five minutes later, a Harvard player beat his RPI counterpart to the puck. Tyler Kolarik dished off to Brett Nowak behind the net. Nowak fed Dennis Packard, who put a one-timer past Kurk from the left slot. Nathan Marsters replaced Kurk, and a few minutes later, Harvard star center Dominic Moore welcomed him to the game with a dazzling move.

Moore took a pass in the right circle, deked around one RPI defender, avoided another, ducked under a screen as he skated to center and snapped one past Marsters' stick.

"That was a real nice play," Fridgen said. "But if you're going to give a player like (Moore) time and space and you're not going to play the body, he'll do that to you every time. We talked about it ... you have to play the body because (Moore's) not the only skilled player they have. And were a few shifts we got puck-watching and you get puck watching (against Harvard) ... well, they showed you."

Fourth-liner Aaron Kim completed the Crimson's five-goal second period, chipping a bad rebound over Marsters.

"Those guys in that lockerroom played their hearts out," Fridgen said.

To their credit, the Engineers controlled the third period, too. With seven games remaining, that's something positive to build on.

Six minutes into the game, Economakos slid his own rebound into the crease. As it was inching toward the goal line, Butterwick nudged it over for his third goal of the season, second in three games. He had 13 last season.

Economakos has 11 points (6-5-11) and has moved from 13th to seventh on Rensselaer's scoring chart.

"That's just a direct reflection of the people I'm playing with," he said, giving credit to linemates Butterwick and center Ben Barr (two assists Friday).

On his late-game goal, Economakos said defenseman Matt McNeely "made a brilliant pass. I can't assume any credit."

On Hanafin's second-period tally, Eric Cavosie slid the puck between the legs of a Crimson defenseman right onto Hanafin's stick in front of goalie Dov Grumet-Morris.

Tonight, the Engineers take on Brown (8-6-1, 10-9-1) on the Annual Big Red Freakout.