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RPI Skid Ends on Freaky Goal

Brown Player Knocks Puck into Own Net in Overtime

By Matt Graves

Albany Times Union, February 9, 2003

TROY - It was "Big Red Freakout" on Saturday night at Houston Field House, and there couldn't have been a freakier way for the homestanding Engineers to end their seven-game losing streak.

A season-high crowd of 5,070, many regaled in outrageous shades of red for the annual rite of RPI fanfare, broke out in wild celebration when Ryan Shields' desperate shot from the left circle was knocked into the Brown net by Bears captain Tye Korbl with 7.1 seconds left in overtime to give RPI an unforgettable 4-3 victory.

A stunned Brown goalie Yann Danis could only shake his head as Korbl banged his stick against the half-boards in frustration and the RPI fans reached a fever pitch.

"I knew there wasn't a lot of time left on the clock," Shields said. "I was just trying to throw it at the net and hoped there would be guys going to the net. I saw it go in. I was just confused as to how it went in. We finally got a break."

It was the second year in a row that RPI won an overtime thriller on "Freakout" night, but they needed this one a lot more after going winless in their last nine games (0-8-1). Last year, they rallied from a 3-0 deficit to beat archrival Clarkson en route to an ECAC playoffs home berth.

"It's a huge win for us," said Shields of RPI's first victory since Jan. 3. "The fans just picked us up. It was like we were playing with six guys out there the last period. In the overtime, they never sat down the whole time."

Shields' seventh goal of the season came after Brown had tied the score at 3 only 2:27 into the third period on Les Haggett's second goal of the game.

Defenseman Scott Basiuk had given RPI a 3-2 lead at 18:42 of the second period with his second goal of the game. The RPI assistant captain grabbed a long rebound just outside the right circle and rifled it past Danis after shots by Vic Pereira and Mikael Hammarstrom.

"We just tried to get it on net a lot tonight (38 shots)," Basiuk said. "This goalie is really good. We just got a couple of bounces finally."

The puck was bouncing into the net frequently in the first period as the teams left the ice at 2-2, RPI tying it with 33 seconds left when Basiuk scored off a Ben Barr assist.

The Engineers got on the board first on a power play when freshman Kevin Croxton made a nice move from behind the net across the crease and flicked it in at 10:43. Brown got goals from Shane Mudryk and Haggett within 58 seconds to take a 2-1 lead at 15:49 of the first.

Brown (8-7-1 ECAC, 10-10-2 overall) was playing without three players suspended in a brawl at Union on Friday night, but RPI (3-11-2 ECAC, 9-19-2) seemed to be playing with an extra man all night as the crowd created a playoff atmosphere despite RPI's 11th-place status.

"There's something about 'Freakout,'" Basiuk said. "In my 16 or 17 years of playing hockey, I've never seen anything quite like this for one game. It's a spectacle. The fans are going crazy. It's one of the greatest things a player could ever be a part of."

The victory gave coach Dan Fridgen his first victory since signing a three-year contract extension Jan. 16.

"I'm real happy for those guys in the locker room that worked real hard," Fridgen said. "What better night to break out of it. We didn't deserve to win that hockey game. We earned it."