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RPI Recruits Should Boost Sagging Attack

By Ken Schott

Schenectady Daily Gazette, May 22, 2003

TROY - The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute hockey team had the second worst offense among ECAC teams last season. Coach Dan Fridgen is looking to change that.

The Engineers added some potential scoring talent among the seven incoming players who were announced Wednesday for the 2003-04 season.

The top incoming player is 21-year-old Kevin Broad. The 6-foot, 190-pound right wing had 44 goals and 32 assists for the Chilliwack Chiefs of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League last season. The previous year, Broad had 34 goals and 28 assists for the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.

"He had a pretty good playoff run," Fridgen said. "He seems to have a nice touch around the net. He's got some good size to him."

Wexford Raiders center Oren Eizenman was third on his team in scoring with 25 goals and 32 assists, and was tied for seventh in scoring in the South Division of the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League.

The 6-0, 175-pound Eizenman, the 2002 OPJHL South Division Rookie of the Year, was the team's second-leading scorer in the playoffs with six goals and 18 assists.

"He's got the capabilities of winning some key faceoffs," Fridgen said. "But he's also the type of player that has real good vision."

Tommy Green, a 5-11, 165-pound center, was the fifth-leading scorer for the Melfort Mustangs of the SJHL with 27 goals and 27 assists. He had five game-winning goals, third best on the team.

Those three players are expected to help improve RPI's attack. The Engineers, who were 4-15-3 in ECAC play and 12-25-3 overall, averaged just 2.35 goals per game. In ECAC games, the average was 2.23. Only Princeton was worse in league and overall play.

Only two RPI players managed to score more than 10 goals. Freshman Kevin Croxton led the team with 15 goals and junior forward Ben Bar had 11.

The Engineers added two defensemen. Ryan Swanson, a 6-3, 210-pounder, is from the Soo Indians of the North American Hockey League. He had four goals and nine assists with 76 penalty minutes.

Jake Luthi comes to RPI from the Sioux Falls Stampede of the United States Hockey League. He had seven goals and seven assists, and amassed a team-leading 150 penalty minutes.

"We felt we needed to get stronger back there," Fridgen said. "One way to do that is to get some size."

RPI will have two transfers from Fairfield, which dropped its program at the end of last season. Both players just completed their sophomore seasons.

Left wing Cody Wojdyla (6-1, 185) had six goals and six assists for the Stags. Goalie Andrew Martin posted a 5-11-1 record with a 3.13 goals-against average and a .879 save percentage.

The addition of Martin won't have an effect on the future of Kevin Kurk, who was suspended by Fridgen for the playoffs. Fridgen said Kurk will be back for his senior season.