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RPI's Celebration Is Brief as Dartmouth Secures Tie

By Mike MacAdam

Schenectady Daily Gazette, November 16, 2003

TROY - It was a weird sight, the Houston Field House crowd cheering as Dartmouth's Eric Przepiorka skated along the boards and high-fived his bench after scoring late in the third period.

The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute fans were still celebrating Matt McNeely's goal eight seconds earlier, and that was the extent of the scoring, one little eight-second stretch in an entertaining 1-1 tie Saturday night.

RPI (2-1-1 ECAC, 4-3-2 overall ) had two great scoring chances in the final seconds of overtime, but Nick Economakos missed a wide-open net from the left post on a rush, and goalie Dan Yacey blocked a redirected dump-in from the right circle as time expired.

Engineers goalie Nathan Marsters and his defense played so well this weekend, giving up two goals in two games, that Marsters didn't even mind talking about the one shot that got away on Saturday.

"He put it in a good spot. It was rolling when he shot it, so he was a little hesitant, but he put it where I couldn't get it," Marsters said.

The game was scoreless until 6:12 of the third period, when McNeely took the puck from his right defenseman's position off a faceoff, moved up the right boards and cut untouched in front of Yacey. The goalie went down, and McNeely flipped it over him.

Eight seconds later, the game was back where it started, as Przepiorka ripped a slap shot past Marsters.

"It wasn't so much a letdown, but I think we were still feeling good about our goal," RPI head coach Dan Fridgen said. "That was kind of a broken play, because it's a high pass through the neutral zone to begin with, we knock it down, and their guy just happened to have a step on us and took the shot. It wasn't like it was a breakaway or something. It was just a well-executed shot."

RPI shut down Dartmouth's star line of Hugh Jessiman, Lee Stempniak and Mike Ouellette, who went scoreless for the weekend.

Ben Barr, Conrad Barnes and Ryan Shields were assigned to match up against them, and captain Scott Basiuk tangled with the 6-foot-5 Jessiman for much of the night.

"You just have to try to contain him and let him do his thing and not let him get by you," Basiuk said. "He's bigger than almost every guy in the league, and you just have to live with that and be smart about it."

"You could see that they were getting frustrated by the way they were hacking and chirping. They're probably not used to not scoring for a whole weekend. Those are three of the top players in the league. We worked hard to shut them down. So did Union."

The Engineers showed more zip than the Big Green (1-0-3, 2-0-3) in the first period, outshooting Dartmouth, 10-4, and turning a long five-on-three for Dartmouth into an uneventful 1:32 stretch of hockey.

Barr, Basiuk and Scott Romfo each cleared the puck once, and Brad Farynuk laid out to block a shot from the point that effectively finished off the five-on-three.

Dartmouth generated nothing in front of Marsters in the first period; the second period was a different story, as the Big Green peppered him with 20 shots.