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RPI Ousts Union

By Ken Schott

Schenectady Daily Gazette, March 9, 2003

SCHENECTADY - After scoring just three power-play goals in its previous nine games, Union College finally got things going with two goals in its first seven opportunities Saturday against Rensselaer.

The Dutchmen had a one goal-lead, and were going on their eighth power play with 8:29 left in the third period. It was an opportunity for them to take control and force a third game in the ECAC tournament first-round series.

Instead, two decisions by Dutchmen goalie Kris Mayotte to outrace Engineer players to loose pucks backfired - and put a sudden end to the Dutchmen's season.

Ben Barr scored two short-handed goals in 50 seconds, lifting the Engineers to a 3-2 win over the Dutchmen and a sweep of the best-of-three series at Achilles Rink.

Eleventh-seeded RPI (12-23-3), which also got a goal from Carson Butterwick, advances to the quarterfinals, where it will face top-seeded Cornell (24-4-1), the second-ranked team in the country. The best-of-three series starts Friday at Lynah Rink in Ithaca.

Scott Seney had a power-play goal for sixth-seeded Union, which ends its season 14-18-4.

Kris Goodjohn's power-play goal at 9:53 of the third gave the Dutchmen a 2-1 lead. When RPI's Blake Pickett went off for roughing at 11:31, the Dutchmen appeared to be in good shape.

"You can almost call it a false sense of security when you're going on the power play, there's not much time left on the clock midway through a period and you're up, 2-1," RPI coach Dan Fridgen said. "It goes to show how quickly a game can turn around."

Scott Basiuk dumped the puck out of the RPI zone. With Nick Economakos chasing it down, Mayotte skated from his crease to the bottom of the right circle. Economakos won the race, chipping the puck past Mayotte. Barr, who was trailing the play, picked it up fired it under a couple of Union defenders and into the open net at 11:47.

At 12:37, Economakos cleared the puck to the bottom of the right circle. Again, Mayotte came out to play it and beat Barr to the puck.

But Mayotte shot it into Barr. The junior forward then put a shot off the left post and over the goal line to give RPI the lead.

"I had a bad angle, and I had the whole net," said Barr, who has three of RPI's four short-handed goals this season. "I didn't want to fire it. I'd probably miss the net, knowing me. I tried to finesse it in there. It hit the post, and it trickled in."

Mayotte had no regrets.

"I thought I had a chance to get out and get to the puck," Mayotte said. "The first one, I thought I had it. I guess it went to their second wave. The second one, I got to it before [Barr] as well. I shot it right up into his chest. Just a bad bounce."

"If I had to do it over, I'd probably make the same play."

"I don't second guess what Kris did," Union coach Kevin Sneddon said. "As a goaltender, you're the last line of defense. You've got to make a decision on it in a split second. Both times, he did win the race to the puck. It was just some unfortunate bounces that happened after that."

The Dutchmen almost tied it on that power play. Nathan Gillies' shot from the bottom of the left circle went through goalie Nathan Marsters' pads. But it rolled across the crease and out the other side.

"It hit my stick," said Marsters, who made 67 saves in the series. "I froze, sat down and felt it under bum there. I thought, `I hope it's not in.' Then I saw Murph [referee Dan Murphy] wave it off.

"I smiled."