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RPI's Broad His Own Bully

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, December 5, 2003

TROY - I picked up Saturday's edition of the Lowell Sun at breakfast and right in the middle of the sports section was a big photo of RPI freshman right winger Kevin Broad, driven into the boards and with a stick in his face.

I seemed to recall that Lowell freshman defenseman Justin Coutu, the RiverHawks player causing Broad's distress, was not among the handful of players penalized in the cleanly-played game, and that the only cross-checking penalty of the night went to RPI freshman D-man Jake Luthi.

Then this writer's fiancée, on closer look, pointed out that the stick in Broad's face was also in his hand - it was his own stick.

The middle of the shaft was seemingly lodged in the grill of Broad's facemask.

None of the Engineers had seen the local paper that morning. They breakfasted, had a light skate, showered and headed for the University of New Hampshire, site of their Saturday night game, 58 miles away, early in the afternoon.

Needless to say, Broad's linemates Ben Barr and Mark Yurkewecz, got the biggest kick out of the photo when it was shown to them prior to Thursday's practice.

"Ooh, Broader taking it in the face," Yurkewecz said.

"Wow," Barr said. "I think we should put this right up on the (locker room) board."

And he did, calling to his winger as he walked into the room.

"When was that - I don't even remember that," Broad said. "Man, I'm eating my own stick, I like that.

"No, I don't like that," he said on second thought.

It was mentioned that the Sun photographer could win an award for the shot.

"Great," Broad said, "a whole bunch more people will see it."

Officiating strong: The Hockey East officiating crew of referee Jeff Bunyon did an excellent job in Friday night's game at Lowell.

Ditto for the crews of Bunyon (with different linesmen) and Joe Andrews during RPI's season-opening games at Boston U. and Providence, each a 5-2 loss for the Engineers.

Saturday night at New Hampshire, Tim Benedetto did a fairly good job, though the delayed cross-checking penalty against Scott Romfo that led to Preston Callander's 6-on-5 goal looked much more like a forearm shove - you cross-check with your stick, not your arms - and he failed to give RPI a power play when freshman center Jacob Micflikier initiated an incident with Scott Basiuk.

Basiuk blocked a shot and fell (inadvertently) on the puck. Then the 5-foot-8, 172-pound Micflikier slashed Basiuk, trying to get at the puck, then tried to roll the 6-2, 205-pound defenseman to get him off the puck.

Barr pounded on Micflikier repeatedly at that point but wasn't penalized. Basiuk, as he stood up, gave Micflikier a shove and each received a roughing minor.

Micflikier should have been given a double minor, Barr two minutes, Basiuk nothing.

That may be next-day nitpicking but what was disturbing is that early in the game, Benedetto allowed too much after-the-whistle nonsense to take place, nearly all of which was initiated by the host UNH players.

Had he taken two players from each time during one of those early instances, the two third-period near-brawls may not have transpired.

Overall, though, RPI received solid, fair performances from the Hockey East crews.

Musical center-iceman: Oren Eizenman walked into the hotel lobby in Lowell Friday night - after the Engineers' 2-1 victory at UMass-Lowell - saw a piano, sat down and began playing as his teammates paraded from the team bus into the lobby.

The freshman center from Toronto played for about five minutes and a number of RPI players' parents and other hotel guests were impressed.

Eizenman says he's been playing since early in grammar school but as the level of his hockey skills and competition were raised, his time on the ivories diminished.

How good is he?

"I'm okay compared to most amateurs," he said. "Compared to serious amateurs who play a lot, serious musicians, there are a lot of better pianists than I am."

Or when compared to the average hockey player?

"Right," he said, "when compared to hockey players, I can more than hold my own," he said with a chuckle.