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In the Crease

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, February 6, 2004

SCOUTING RPI

'One at a time': That's the story of most games in college hockey with Friday-Saturday play but it would be only natural for the Engineers to look past tonight's game to Saturday, when they host rival Clarkson. It's Big Red Freakout Night, Houston Field House will be sold out, the 1953-54 NCAA championship team will be honored and RPI will be seeking a rare season sweep of the Golden Knights.

"Actually, Bas (Basiuk) and I were riding around (earlier in the week) and I expressed such a concern to him," Farynuk said. "Everybody gets so hyped up over the Big Red Freakout that some people tend to forget the fact that we have maybe even a bigger game (against) St. Lawrence."

As co-captain, Basiuk must help the team focus on SLU.

"You'd think that would be (a possibility of looking ahead to Clarkson)," Basiuk said, "but we're not looking past Friday. Guys obviously get jacked up (for Clarkson and Freakout Night) but this whole weekend's big. We need both these games to stay up where we are in the standings (fifth) and it's another huge weekend for us."

Saints' forecheck tough: Not regarded as one of the ECAC's better forechecking teams, the Saints bottled up the Engineers throughout the game, though the Engineers' utter lack of intensity was one factor.

"Well, I said to Matty (McNeely), my 'D' partner, that that's the most pressure we've had on us," Farynuk said. "That was the only time this year that I could say we felt hemmed in our zone, for any length of time."

Who's hot: Sophomore right winger Kirk MacDonald continues to be the hottest Engineer, with one goal and six assists over his past three games. MacDonald is 5-7-12 over his past eight. Croxton is 3-2-5 over his past four games and has 13 points (6-7-13) in his past 13 outings. ... Farynuk is 1-3-4 in his past four games.

Notes: Fridgen will surpass legendary coach Ned Harkness for the No. 2 spot on RPI's all-time coaching victories list should the Engineers win both games this weekend. He has 175, Harkness 176, all-time leader Mike Adessa has 186. Fridgen wouldn't comment, but there's no doubt that RPI fans - even Fridgen's detractors - would pick no other team against who to post the milestone win. ... The Engineers began the season 0-2-1, then when they blew a third-period lead in a 4-3 defeat at New Hampshire, a 1-5-0 slide was ignited. In all other games, RPI is 13-3-1. ... The Engineers are 10-2-2 when they score first, 4-8-0 when allowing the first goal.

SCOUTING ST. LAWRENCE

'Saints look to future': St. Lawrence has one of the ECAC's top-scoring sophomore duos in left winger T.J. Trevelyan and right winger Jon Zeiler. Each had 10 goals as a freshman last season, Zeiler with 27 points, Trevelyan with 23. Trevelyan (18 goals-12 assists-30 points) is one of just two ECAC players with as many as 30 points this season.

Ten other St. Lawrence players who are regularly in the lineup are freshmen or sophomores.

'But first things first': St. Lawrence hasn't given up on this season yet. The Saints are only two points behind Harvard for the final homeice spot in the first round of the playoffs and they have a game at hand on the Crimson and still have a home game remaining with them.

"We've been playing much better overall," said coach Joe Marsh. "We're still allowing too many goals but the guys are confident. They're after home ice."

To get it, the Saints must get some points on the road, where they are 1-5-1 in the ECAC and 1-9-2 overall.

They have a win and a tie against ECAC tailenders Vermont and Princeton but 11th-place Union spanked the Saints 4-1 on their own ice. St. Lawrence plays at Union on Saturday night.

Who's hot: Senior center Rich Peverley is tied for second in the ECAC with 18 assists. He has four goals and seven assists for 11 points in his past eight games. Trevelyan is 7-3-10 over the past seven games. While Zeiler is without a goal in 10 games, he does have eight assists in the past seven.

Freshman center Kyle Rank is 3-4-7 over his past six games, defenseman Ryan Glenn is 2-5-7 in his previous eight, left winger Jamie Parker is 2-2-4 in five games and defenseman Drew Bagnall is 1-4-5 over his past seven.

Last season: The Saints had a precarious 1-0 lead early in the third period at Houston Field House last season but were outshooting the Engineers 22-12 (35-19 for the game) and seemed to be in control.

Kevin Croxton scored a pair of goals, though, earning a 2-1 lead over the Saints.

At St. Lawrence, Ben Barr scored a pair four minutes apart in the second period to give RPI a 2-1 lead but the Saints scored three times in the final period for a 4-2 triumph.

Productive offense: Earlier in the season, the Saints were struggling to score goals. They had 14 goals in eight games during one stretch, just two goals in four games during another. Further, the Peverley line (Trevelyan-Zeiler) was the only one putting the puck past opposing goalies with any regularity weeks into the season.

Scoring certainly hasn't been a problem for the Saints lately. They've scored 30 goals over their past seven games and are the No. 2 team offensively in the ECAC in the past month.