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RPI Must Cut Down Errors

By Ken Schott

Schenectady Daily Gazette, October 17, 2003

TROY - The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute hockey team was generous last weekend in its games against Boston University and Providence.

Too many giveaways cost the Engineers in a pair of 5-2 losses, and RPI coach Dan Fridgen believes those giveaways can be prevented.

The Engineers make their Houston Field House debut tonight at 7 when they host the University of Connecticut.

"We had a lot of turnovers that, in my opinion, are correctable because they're mental errors," Fridgen said. "Both games, we certainly had our share of them."

Fridgen wasn't upset with the loss to BU as much as he was with the Providence game. Four of the Friars' goals came as a result of Engineers giveaways.

When senior defenseman Scott Basiuk gave away the puck in front of his own net, Peter Zingoni took advantage and scored, tying the game at 1-1. It was a bad sign of things to come.

"I don't think it cost us as much in the BU game as it did in the Providence game," Fridgen said. "Not only that, instead of protecting the puck down low, we were always starting their breakout. I had no problem with the work ethic of the guys, but we need to play a lot smarter."

The Engineers could be excused for some of their mistakes last weekend. For starters, it was the first two games of the season, and there will be some rustiness.

They were also dealing with the Oct. 5 death of RPI women's coach and former men's assistant coach Bill Cahill from a heart attack. The team attended Cahill's wake last Thursday and the funeral the next day.

"When you have stress and those types of things play on your mind, they make you tired," Fridgen said. "That was a part of it. I think the first game for some of the guys was a part of it. They were a little tentative. I basically told them [to] just go out and play the game."

"When you have such a short time to implement systems, you've got a lot of thought going on in the minds of players, which will also make them tentative. As we go on with practices, that will become second nature to them."

Fridgen doesn't know much about the Huskies (0-1), other than that they lost their season opener last Thursday to Massachusetts, 6-3. He saw UConn (8-23-3 last season) lose at Union, 8-0, last Nov. 24.

"They're a team similar to us," Fridgen said. "They had an off year last year, and they're looking to rebound."

Notebook

Fridgen said there are plans to honor Cahill and equipment manager Tom Cavosie before the game. Cavosie, the father of Eric and Marc Cavosie, died in a boating accident in July. Fridgen added that the Engineers, who are already wearing "TC" patches on the left side of their jerseys, will have "BC" patches on the right side in a couple of weeks. . . .

The last time RPI and UConn played each other, there wasn't a Houston Field House, and UConn had a different name. RPI defeated Connecticut Agricultural College, 6-5, on Jan. 18, 1930. . . .

This is just the second time in the last eight years that RPI hasn't played a home opener against a Hockey East opponent. UConn plays in Atlantic Hockey, which is comprised of the schools that played in the MAAC from 1998-2003. . . .

RPI is 11-0 against the former MAAC schools. . . .

The Huskies feature freshman defenseman William West of Ballston Lake. West played junior hockey for the Capital District Selects.