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One Good Bounce All Engineers Need

By Phil Janack

Schenectady Daily Gazette, November 22, 2003

TROY - Ugly or not, Rensselaer junior forward Vic Pereira wasn't complaining about scoring his first goal of the season.

Neither were the Engineers.

Pereira's pass attempt bounced off a St. Cloud State defender in front and trickled through the legs of goalie Jason Montgomery with 3:28 remaining to rally RPI to a 3-2 nonleague victory Friday night.

It was only the second loss this season for the WCHA's Huskies (8-2-1), making their first-ever trip to Houston Field House. They came into the game ranked fifth in the country, their only previous defeat at the hands of top-ranked North Dakota.

The Engineers (5-3-2) have yet to lose at home this season (3-0-2), stretching their unbeaten streak to three games (2-0-1), having lost only once in their last eight (5-1-2). It was RPI's first win over a top-10 ranked team since beating New Hampshire, 6-4, on Oct. 20, 2001.

The two teams meet again tonight at 7.

"I just tried to take it to the net and got a lucky bounce," said Pereira, who was robbed 7:30 into the third period on a point-blank rebound by Montgomery's right pad. "It went off something and just trickled in. It felt really good, after I missed that gimmee before that."

Mikael Hammarstrom jammed the puck free to Pereira, who was looking for linemate Oren Eizenman in front of the net. After the puck was redirected between his legs, Montgomery inadvertently pushed it in when he squeezed his pads together to try and cover up.

"I went down, and it went through my legs and trickled over the line," he said. "It's just an unfortunate bounce."

RPI rallied twice from one-goal deficits, the first coming 3:25 into the game when Huskies forward Matt Hendricks got away from defenseman Scott Basiuk and stuffed the puck under goalie Nathan Marsters.

Ben Barr got the equalizer for the Engineers 5:44 into the second period, finishing off a nice pass from Mark Yurkewecz at the left post. The play was set up by freshman winger Kevin Broad, who was drilled into the boards as he chipped the puck out at RPI's blueline.

"We needed that spark to get us going," RPI coach Dan Fridgen said. "In the first period, I don't think we were taking a hit to make a play and really competing. I thought we stood around and watched them come through the neutral zone. As the game progressed, we were competing harder and turned up our level of play."

Matt Gens scored with three seconds left on St. Cloud's first power play at 8:13, but the Engineers tied it again when Kirk MacDonald swept in a rebound with 5:11 left, also with the man advantage, ending the Huskies streak of 30 straight penalty kills.

Notebook

Basiuk and Hammarstrom both played their 100th career game Friday. . . .

Tonight's rematch will be St. Cloud coach Craig Dahl's 800th career contest. . . .

RPI now leads the all-time series with St. Cloud, 3-2.