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Defense Fails Rensselaer

By Bob Weiner

Schenectady Daily Gazette, February 8, 2003

TROY - Rensselaer's sluggish offense woke up, but its defense fell asleep long enough to play a major role in extending its losing streak to seven games.

Harvard erupted for five second-period goals, four in a span of 10 minutes, to take control of the game, and the league-leading Crimson held off Rensselaer, 6-4, in an ECAC game Friday night at Houston Field House.

Rensselaer, winless in its last nine games, drops to 2-11-2 in the ECAC and 8-19-2 overall. Harvard improves to13-3 and 14-7-1.

"I thought we moved the puck extremely well, and we used all our options in the offensive zone during that second period. That's when we put some distance between us and them," said Harvard coach Mark Mazzoleni. "We got some momentum going, and I'm sure they lost some confidence."

Rensselaer head coach Dan Fridgen was upbeat, especially since his offense scored enough to beat most teams.

"For the most part, we played well," said Fridgen. "We generated some offense, and we outworked them. Against a team like Harvard, scoring four goals is pretty good. And against a good team, you are going to make some mistakes, which we did on defense a couple of times. When you are playing with a young defensive four back there, breakdowns are going to happen."

Harvard rebounded from a 2-1 first-period deficit early in the second period when sophomore defenseman Ryan Lannon fired in a hard wrister off Kevin Kurk's pads at the 54-second mark. Freshman winger Charlie Johnson put the Crimson ahead for good, 3-2, when he skated down the slot and connected for his second goal of the season.

Junior winger Dennis Packard scored his fourth goal of the season on a short wrister through Kurk's pads, and Dominic Moore collected his team-best 13th goal of the season after skating through several Rensselaer defensemen and beating Nathan Marsters, who replaced Kurk at 7:51 of the period.

Aaron Kim tallied on a rebound of a Dave McCulloch shot at 17:54 before Rensselaer finally got a little momentum back with C.J. Hanafin's third goal of the season on a breakaway just before the period ended.

Nick Economakos cut the deficit to 6-4 on a breakaway goal at 19:15.

"Harvard's a quick team, and getting four goals against them is a good game," said Economakos. "We got stuck in a rut feeling sorry for ourselves there for a while, but there is still a lot of hockey to be played before playoff time. If we can get some wins, we'll be right back in the thick of things."

Carson Butterwick beat a prone Dov Grumet-Morris with a low wrister on the power play to start the scoring for the Engineers six minutes into the opening period.