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RPI Gets an Appropriately Freak-y Goal

By Ken Schott

Schenectady Daily Gazette, February 9, 2003

TROY - When hockey games go into overtime, coaches always tell players to shoot the puck from anywhere on the ice, because you never know what might happen.

Ryan Shields heeded that advice late in overtime Saturday against Brown.

Shields' shot from the left-wing corner hit Bears forward Tye Korbl and caromed past goalie Yann Danis with 7.1 seconds left, lifting the Engineers to a dramatic 4-3 ECAC victory before a raucous crowd of 5,070 on Big Red Freakout night at Houston Field House.

The victory ended a six-game losing streak and an 0-8-1 winless skid for RPI (3-11-2 ECAC, 9-19-2 overall), which last won Jan. 3 against Minnesota-Duluth. It also extended the Engineers' unbeaten streak to 13 games (9-0-4) in the Freakout.

"You talk about it, and you talk about it," said RPI coach Dan Fridgen, who won for the first time since receiving a three-year contract extension Jan. 16. "Sometimes, it's the simplest things. It's just the little things that make a big difference."

Shields was just trying to make something happen when he sent the puck to the front of the net as he straddled the goal line in the left corner. He was stunned when he saw the puck hit Korbl's skate and go in.

"I knew there was not a lot of time left on the clock," Shields said. "I was just trying to throw the puck to the net, and hoping we had guys going to the net. We finally got a break."

The goal touched off a wild celebration on the ice and in the stands, where the fans clapped their ThunderStix in appreciation of RPI's second straight overtime win in the Freakout. The Engineers beat Clarkson, 4-3, in last year's Freakout. RPI is 15-7-4 all-time in the Freakout.

"I'm happy for those guys in the locker room," Fridgen said. "They've worked real hard. What a better night to break out of it. It's a kind of an appreciation to the fans because they've been with us. Even though we've been struggling, they've stayed right behind us. We're very appreciative of that."

The Engineers remain in 11th place, six points behind Colgate for the final home-ice spot in the first round of the playoffs. The Engineers are hoping the win over the Bears (8-7-1, 10-10-2) gives them a lift over the final six games of the regular season.

"This is a huge win for us," Shields said. "It gets some confidence back. We've been working hard for a couple of weeks, we just haven't been getting any breaks. Finally tonight, we got a couple of bounces and got a win. Now we're going to build some confidence going into the homestretch."

Scott Basiuk scored twice for RPI, and Kevin Croxton added a goal. RPI scored eight goals over the weekend, a sign that its offense could be snapping out of its season-long doldrums.