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RPI Left Red-faced After Rout

Second-half Spiral Continues for Engineers

By Alan Hart

Albany Times Union, March 1, 2003

TROY - Friday night started out so promisingly for RPI's struggling hockey team against Dartmouth College.

Carson Butterwick scored unassisted on a power play with a drive from the slot at 10:22 of the first period to give the Engineers a 1-0 lead and a glimmer of hope of pulling out of a slump in the next-to-last regular-season game. A momentum builder just in time for the upcoming ECAC playoffs.

But Dartmouth had its own agenda.

The Big Green grabbed a 2-1 lead by the end of the period and got a hat trick from freshman center Mike Ouellette in a 7-1 rout of the Engineers.

"They're going to have to put this behind them," said RPI coach Dan Fridgen, whose club has won only one game since Jan. 3 - a span of 15 games.

"This was the type of game we didn't want to play against this team," Fridgen said. "You can't afford to open it up when they have all that offensive firepower. They're certainly very good offensively, and when you don't play well in your own end, they're going to take advantage of it."

Dartmouth (16-11-1 overall, 12-9-0 league), scoring three power-play goals, won for the fourth time in its past five games and earned its second win of the season over RPI.

The Engineers, who fell 7-3 to the Big Green on Jan. 15, dropped to 9-23-2 overall and 3-15-3 in league play. The 23 losses is a team record for one season. RPI will try again tonight (at 7) against the University of Vermont - the last home game this season.

Ouellette, who had scored only 10 goals before Friday, tied it at 1 at 11:51 from in front off a nice pass from freshman Hugh Jessiman, who had a goal and two assists. Their linemate, sophomore Lee Stempniak, scored on a backhander at 15:33 with RPI a man down, and the guests had the lead for the first time.

Ouellette made it 3-1 with another power-play goal at 6:21 of the second period. In a key sequence, RPI sophomore Nick Economakos missed an open wrist shot from directly in front of goalie Nick Boucher with 8:10 to go in the period. Shortly after that, Dartmouth made it 4-1 on a goal by Kent Gillings.

Instead of getting within 3-2, the hard-luck Engineers were down by three goals.

"That's been the story of our season," Economakos lamented. "You've got to bury a shot like that, because every goal this time of year when you get near the playoffs is a big goal."

Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet, whose team has already clinched home ice for the playoffs, said the final score was deceiving.

"This wasn't a 7-1 game," Gaudet said. "We got great goaltending from Boucher and we made the most of our chances."