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Black Jerseys Fit Engineers Well, 7-1

By Mike MacAdam

Schenectady Daily Gazette, November 15, 2003

TROY - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is back in black.

Wearing black jerseys as part of a new Black Friday promotion, the Engineers got back on the winning track with a penalty-filled 7-1 victory over Vermont before a mostly black-clad crowd of 3,156 Friday night at Houston Field House.

Kevin Croxton had two goals and an assist for RPI (2-1 ECAC, 4-3-1 overall), Nick Economakos had a goal and two assists, and Nathan Marsters was a rock in goal.

The Engineers' game-worn black jerseys were auctioned off to fans after the game.

"We might have to put in another order," RPI head coach Dan Fridgen said. "We played real well from start to finish, and the jerseys certainly added to the excitement. We didn't get too hungry as far as goals were concerned and never stopped concentrating on defense, and that led to a lot of our offensive opportunities."

"There was a little buzz around campus," Economakos said. "It's always exciting when you get people talking about hockey and you get a raucous crowd out there. It got the guys fired up, but we looked pretty sharp out there, too."

The Engineers dominated play so thoroughly, they could have worn pink jerseys with fuchsia polka dots, and still won.

Vermont supporters might have suggested that the referees' black pants be auctioned, instead, after the Catamounts were whistled for five penalties in a span of less than four minutes late in the first period.

That led to power-play goals by Croxton and Alexander Valentin, and a 2-0 Rensselaer lead. Croxton roofed a wrist shot while the Engineers skated 5-on-3, and Valentin scored when his pass to the slot caromed off a defenseman's skate.

With AC-DC's "Highway to Hell" blaring over the public address, Economakos skated up ice and head-manned to Ben Barr for a breakaway and a 3-0 Rensselaer lead at 19:19 of the first.

"I've been in a little rut, but you keep sticking with the system, and games like this will happen," Economakos said.

"He gives you everything he's got, and he makes real smart reads," Fridgen said. "You can put him on the power play and he'll make some plays, and you can put him on the penalty kill, and he's not afraid to go down and block a shot, which actually led to our third goal in the first period. He blocks that shot, chips it over to Benny, and Benny finishes off the play."

The game marked the return of former Union head coach Kevin Sneddon, now the head coach at Vermont, to the Capital Region. The Catamounts fell to 0-3 in the ECAC, 0-6-2 overall.

"I'm not going to say a thing about our team right now," Sneddon said. "It's not worth my time right now. I will say RPI wanted it, they played extremely well, they won all the battles from start to finish and they certainly deserved to embarrass us tonight."