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Cavosie the Hero in Engineers' Win

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, March 2, 2003

TROY - Eric Cavosie isn't used to being a hero.

Marc Cavosie's brother certainly is today, having scored the second and third career goals of his career and sparking - and inspiring - victory-starved Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to a 4-2 triumph over Vermont Saturday night.

The victory, just the second in the past 16 games for the Engineers, sets up an all-Capital District series in the first round of the ECAC playoffs.

The 11th-seeded Engineers (4-15-3 in ECAC play, 10-23-3 overall) travel to meet No. 6 seed Union (10-10-2, 14-16-4) next weekend. If the first two games are split on Friday and Saturday nights, Game 3 will be Sunday night (all at 7 p.m.).

Entering the final night of the season, RPI could have opened the playoffs at either Brown or Dartmouth.

It's too late now, but maybe Eric Cavosie, not blessed with the stickhandling skills and goal-scoring abilities of his All-American brother, should have been given some power play time previously.

He certainly looked like a big-time scoring threat Saturday night - much like his brother, who left RPI after last season to join the NHL's Minnesota Wild.

Cavosie, playing possessed in the final Houston Field House appearance of his career Saturday night, scored a pair of power-play goals and assisted on another.

He took a fake-shot pass by Nolan Graham from the blue line and backhanded past Vermont goalie Shawn Conschafter from the lower right slot to give RPI a 1-0 lead at 7:40 of the first period.

He set up Graham's power play goal with a shot on net midway through the second period, then gave the Engineers a 3-1 lead with a laser-like roof job from the mid slot at 6:59 of the third.

"Coach put me out there ... I don't know why exactly," Cavosie said. "He stuck me out there, we worked on it and we just clicked tonight. This just feels so great. I'm just so happy with the way things turned out."

On his first goal, "Nolan gave me a great pass," Cavosie said, "right there on my backhand."

On the second, Conschafter had no chance on Cavosie's rising shot.

"Kevin made a nice play, gave me a lot of space and I got it up there."

"Sometimes, you just go on hunches," RPI coach Dan Fridgen said. Not only did he decide to let his three senior forwards play on the same line - centered by Graham with Carson Butterwick on right wing - but also to let Cavosie stay on the ice for power plays, despite his career scoring line of one goal, 22 assists in 120 games.

"I thought they played real well together, they had a lot of intensity."

As for Cavosie's sudden, dramatic presence on the score sheet, Fridgen said, "Hey, Eric does those kind of things in practice. I don't think the fans get to see that at all but he's certainly capable of putting it into the net. It just never carried over to a game situation."

"He came out tonight, scored two goals ... and to win by two goals, and this being [Senior] night, I can't see anything more fitting."

After Vermont (8-14-0, 11-18-3) pulled within 3-2 on John Longo's shorthanded goal at 7:53 of the third period, the Engineers never permitted the Catamounts to gain control, limiting them to five shots on goal during the final period.

And RPI got a lucky break with 5:35 remaining, when Conschafter came out of the net to play the puck high and misplayed it. Freshman Croxton, RPI's scoring leader, fired his 14th goal into the open net for the final count.

"I would have to say so," Fridgen said when asked if this was as good as any Rensselaer performance this season.

"I just felt this was probably the best game we've played in a long time as far as getting some scoring opportunities, to Nate holding up in the pipes and the defense playing real well in its own end and playing a real physical game with some intensity."

Cavosie's rebound shot of Eberly's blast from the point came right to Graham in the lower right slot and he buried it to snap a 1-1 tie at 10:20 of the second period.

"I'm just real happy for Eric," Graham said, "You see how excited he got at the end there. Maybe, playing behind his brother, a guy (as great as Marc), kind of a little tough. A night like this (for Eric), everyone couldn't be happier."

"I'm ecstatic for Eric," Butterwick said.

"Great ... I feel great," said RPI's senior captain Danny Eberly. "Nolan, Carson, Eric went out there and played hard for the fans and the rest of the guys played hard for us."

How about the first-round match with Union?

"I don't think there's one guy in [the locker room] who's not excited about that. Union's always been our biggest rival and it's probably going to be one of the best playoff series."