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For RPI, Green Means Go Time

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, March 13, 2002

TROY - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute hockey players left Dartmouth University's Thompson Arena last March 10 with a lousy feeling.

They've never totally lost that feeling.

The Engineers had just lost to the Big Green 5-1, dropping their ECAC first-round playoff series in straight games and concluding a most disappointing 17-15-2 season.

The Engineers had come out strong the previous night and scored early, but blew a 2-0 lead in a 4-2 defeat and never recovered the next night.

They faced a 3-hour bus ride home to reflect on both the dismal season and how poorly they played in the playoffs.

"The outcome of last year's (series) wasn't the product of the quality of the talent we had in the locker room," said two-year captain Steve Munn.

"Very bad taste still from that series," said senior winger Chris Migliore.

Even though the Engineers didn't beat Dartmouth during this season (0-1-1), they are anxious to meet up with the Big Green again in tonight's play-in game to the ECAC semifinals.

"We've been looking back at last year's playoff loss," Matt Murley said. "We've been looking to redeem ourselves for a while, it's on a huge stage now and we're pretty anxious to get back at Dartmouth for what they did to us last year."

"The last four games against them we haven't come away with two points," Marc Cavosie said.

The 18-12-4 Engineers, seeded fifth, and the No.4 Big Green (14-12-5) face off at 7:30 at Lake Placid's 1980 Olympic Arena. The winner will face No. 1 seed Cornell (23-6-2) in Friday night's (7:30) semifinals, following a 4:30 semi between No. 3 Harvard (13-14-4) and No. 2 Clarkson (17-13-6).

The consolation and championship games will be played Saturday at 4 and 7:30 p.m.

Two years ago, RPI ousted a freshman- and sophomore-laden team from the playoffs with a first-round sweep at Houston Field House. The Big Green emphatically turned the tables last season.

This year, the winner will have a major task as a reward,

Dartmouth or RPI will have to win three games in three nights to bring home the conference title. However, each appears capable of the task, since they are the ECAC's two deepest teams at the forward position.

Mike Maturo, the ECAC's third-leading scorer with 14 goals, 22 assists and 36 points, tops the Big Green attack. However, six other players have more than 20 points, including center Jamie Herrington (12-19-31), center Kent Gillings (11-18-29) and winger Chris Baldwin (10-19-29).

Defensemen Pete Summerfelt and Trevor Byrne have 22 and 21 points, while left winger Lee Stempniak has a 12-8-20 line. Center Frank Nardella and right winger Mike Murray add 19 and 18 points.

"Tremendous balance," Munn said.

Right winger Carson Butterwick, RPI's third-leading scorer at 13-13-26, was recently moved to center with Andrew McPherson (6-14-20) on his left and Ben Barr (2-4-6) on the right.

Jim Henkel's line of LW Eric Cavosie and RW Chris Migliore (7-4-11) dominated the Princeton series, Migliore leading the way with three goals and one assist.

"We've had some great efforts out of those (third and fourth) lines this year," Munn said.

"Henkel's line, called the meat line, is doing a great job for us. Not only are they probably our best defensive line, they're putting goals in for us too. And they're killing penalties. They've been outstanding."

"We're an energy line and as long as we keep up the high energy, we'll be all set," added Henkel (9-14-23).

"The two games we played this year," Murley said, "we had them on the run both times. They came out with the most points in the (regular season) series, but we're confident against them and we've been a very confident team this past month and a half."