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Giveaways Prove Costly to Engineers

By Phil Janack

Schenectady Daily Gazette, October 13, 2003

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - New night, new state, new opponent - same frustrating result.

For the second game in a row, the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute menís hockey team lost. As head coach Dan Fridgen sees it, it wasnít so much that the Engineers fell to 0-2 to start the season for the first time in eight years, but how they did it.

Giveaways led directly to four Providence goals as the Friars skated to a 5-2 victory Sunday night at Schneider Arena.

Jonathan Goodwin netted the eventual winner with 1:41 left in the second period, and Nate Meyers and Stephen Wood tacked on goals in the third as Providence improved to 2-0.

Kirk MacDonald in the first period, and Ryan Shields in the second had the goals for RPI, which lost by the same score at Boston University on Saturday. The Engineers havenít lost two straight off the bat since dropping five in a row to open the 1995-96 season.

"Thatís the thing that hurts the most. Weíre not playing smart hockey right now," said Fridgen, who held a 15-minute team meeting following the game. "I realize itís the first weekend. I really felt it was a situation where we had to keep it simple, being on the road in another teamís building, and we didnít do that at times."

"We had 11 giveaways in the first period, and two of them resulted in goals. I wish to heck we had goals given to us that easily."

A turnover by co-captain Scott Basiuk in front of his net enabled Peter Zingoni to score on a rebound midway through the first period, tying the game at 1-1 and providing a sign of things to come.

Providence made it 2-1 with 3.8 seconds left in the period, when Chase Watsonís centering pass deflected in off the leg of defenseman Blake Pickett, who slid to block the puck.

"We should have won it, thatís whatís so frustrating," Basiuk said. "We have guys that donít need to be making mistakes, making mistakes. We gave them the game, basically. I gave one up. I donít know if itís a mental thing or just bad luck or whatever, but we gave it to them and thatís whatís aggravating."

Shields deflected in Brad Farynukís shot to tie the game at 2-2 at 6:16 of the second period. The score stayed that way until Goodwin picked off a Kevin Croxton clearing pass in the slot and was all alone to beat goalie Nathan Marsters.

RPI appeared to tie the game 34 seconds into the third period, when freshman Oren Eizenman batted a rebound of Shieldsí shot out of midair and into the net. Referee Joe Andrews negated the goal, saying the net had been dislodged before the puck went in.

"The ref made the call, it was just bad luck," Basiuk said. "That would have been a huge goal; it would have tied the game. We had some chances, but we couldnít get it back."

Instead of being 3-3, it became a 4-2 Friars lead at 5:23 when Meyers stepped into a loose puck in front and ripped a shot past Marsters as the Engineers got caught flat-footed.

RPI had opportunities in the third period with three power plays, the last a major penalty with 5:05 left after Meyers was ejected for checking freshman Kevin Broad from behind into the boards. The Engineers managed just one shot before Wood scored into an empty net from center ice - on another giveaway.