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Terriers Take Bite Out of RPI

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, October 12, 2003

BOSTON - Sometimes, a young hockey team can be overwhelmed in a short period of time. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is still a young hockey team and Saturday night, Boston University bewildered the Engineers in the first 10 minutes of the second period and dealt them a 5-2 season-opening defeat.

The Engineers, coming off a 12-25-3 season, outplayed the more-seasoned Terriers for much of the scoreless first period. Things quickly turned sour at the outset of the second period, though, as the bigger, quicker Terriers asserted themselves and the Engineers made a habit of allowing odd-man breakouts and leaving BU forwards unchecked in front of the net.

The Terriers scored four times in the first 9:58 of the period and, at this point at least, Rensselaer is not a team that can overcome three-goal deficits. Rensselaer's senior co-captains each scored a goal. Defenseman Scott Basiuk beat BU's All-Hockey East goalie Sean Fields with a blue line blast amidst BU's four-goal outburst, and center Ben Barr flipped his own rebound past Fields at 7:26 of the final period to pull the Engineers within 4-2.

"I thought we played them pretty strong early on," RPI coach Dan Fridgen said. "We had them back on their heels but we couldn't capitalize. I thought that would have been key to capitalize early on them. We had one 3-on-1 where we gave it to a guy on his backhand instead of making the play to the guy who was on his forehand. And we had some other missed opportunities."

All that said, though, RPI senior goalie Nathan Marsters kept the game from being a rout with a half dozen brilliant saves from the goalmouth and lower slot areas. The Engineers' aforementioned good scoring chances in the opening minutes included freshman center Oren Eizenman knocking down Fields with a forehand blast from the left circle two minutes into the contest, Barr shooting wide with some net at which to shoot and on a power play, Kevin Croxton chipping one off Fields' glove and through the crease.

"Had we capitalized on a couple of the opportunities we had to start the game, it would have been them coming from behind, as opposed to us (and) that's a different game to play," Fridgen said.

Later during that BU penalty kill, Marsters made a brilliant save to keep the game scoreless, getting his pads on Brad Zancanaro's point-blank shot following a giveaway from behind the Rensselaer net. He would make several later, robbing Gregg Johnson, Mark Mullen and Ryan Whitney from just a few feet away.

Meanwhile, Marsters wasn't getting much defensive support from his teammates.

"I thought in the second period we didn't do a very good job of sticking to the game plan as far as running our forecheck is concerned," Fridgen said. "I thought we started getting a little cute, carrying the puck into the (offensive) zone and paid the price for it. And then when we did get in the zone, we got caught with three guys deep (in the offensive zone) on a couple of occasions. Tell you what," Fridgen said, "when they (BU) smell the offense, they all jump into the play, all five guys are coming up the ice. It was pretty obvious one of our guys didn't have anybody (covered) and they did a real nice job capitalizing on a 2-on-1."

Fridgen was describing David Klema's goal at 9:58 of the second, which concluded the Terriers' four-goal rush. Earlier, Johnson had scored on a power play rebound and 59 seconds later, the Engineers allowed Matt Radoslovich skate around the back of the net untouched. He came around the other side and beat Marsters with a wraparound. Then, Dave Van der Gulik was left totally alone in front, from where he took Whitney's pass and slid it under Marsters.

"I thought we played pretty soft in our end of the rink at times and not making the opposition pay the price for standing in that prime real estate area," Fridgen said. "We were soft, playing nice, for whatever reason, but that's certainly not the kind of hockey we're going to be playing. And I think they got the message (after the game)."

Radoslovich and Klema each had one goal and one assist and BU got goals for all four of its forward lines.

"They're always a very good team," Barr said of the Terriers. "You just can't have stretches like that against them. When they get in a groove like that they're hard to stop. But I thought we did a good job in the first and third periods."

The Engineers have dropped three games to BU over the past 12 months, being outscored 14-4. They do not meet the Terriers again this season. Rensselaer heads down I-95 to Providence College tonight.