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Engineers, Dutchmen Skate to Tie

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, December 2, 2001

TROY - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's frustration against rival Union continued Saturday night.

The Engineers didn't lose, but the 1-1 tie came in a game against an opponent they flat-out should beat - at home at least.

The underdog Dutchmen, however, outplayed the Engineers over the final 17 minutes after Matt Murley's power play goal broke a scoreless tie at 2:44 of the third period.

The Engineers played well, but the decision certainly isn't a good one, though coach Dan Fridgen and the players accentuated the positive.

"I thought it was a hard-fought battle," Fridgen said. "Good game, close checking. I thought we could have executed a little better around the goal as far as scoring opportunities were concerned, but I thought we competed real hard."

Rensselaer captain Steve Munn said he was "real proud of them. Everyone competed. We had a great defensive game. I don't think they got a whole lot of quality chances. We worked our forecheck well, we just didn't have the touch around the net. We only got one point against them tonight, but it's better than a loss."

Rensselaer had more quality chances but couldn't find the net.

"Yeah, it's just a matter of executing right now," Fridgen said. "We're creating a lot of opportunities ... that we just missed. But as long as the competitiveness is there, you really can't fault them. The execution will come."

The deadlock leaves the Engineers with a 1-1-1 ECAC mark, 4-4-1 overall. Union (3-4-3) is still the only ECAC team without a conference victory at 0-2-1. Besides the two area teams, every other ECAC team except St. Lawrence has at least two wins.

And the Engineers once again didn't play well with the lead, surrendering it just 1:21 after Murley one-timed a cross-ice pass from Marc Cavosie and rifled it past Union goalie Brandon Snee.

Though the Dutchmen had been struggling to score - with three shutout losses this season - RPI's goal seemed to ignite them.

Jeff Hutchins, standing in front of RPI goalie Nathan Marsters, deflected Jason Kean's shot from the point. It bounced off Marsters' stick high into the air, hit the back of his head on the way down and trickled in behind him. It was Union's first goal in well over five periods of play.

The Dutchmen, many of whom appeared more disturbed by the deadlock than some RPI players, played to win throughout the five-minute extra session.

"Yeah, and I think we played to win the entire game," Union coach Kevin Sneddon said, "which is good for a younger team playing against a veteran team. I was proud of the way we improved as the game went on."

A big key, of course, was the fact that the Engineers did not take control of the contest on Murley's goal.

"It would have been nice if that one could have held up as the game winner," Murley said, "but you can't expect to get a 1-0 win."

Some of the Engineers' best chances came during the first two scoreless periods.

At 14:36 of the second, Mikael Hammarstrom sent Conrad Barnes in on Snee alone. Barnes went right, to his forehand, waited until Snee went down but couldn't lift the puck over him.

"I just didn't get the puck up," Barnes said. "It was a good pass and I had him (Snee beaten) but I just didn't get it where I needed it."

After the ensuing faceoff, Snee stopped a hard wrister from the right circle by Murley.

With 4:50 left, Nick Economakos set up a short chip shot by Hammarstrom in front, but it hit Snee's pads.

With just over one minute remaining, Murley outworked two Dutchmen for the puck behind the net and fed Jim Henkel in front but his one-timer was high.

About nine minutes into the game, Eric Cavosie made a nice steal near the RPI blue line while penalty killing and had a true breakaway up the ice.

The junior winger, who played a rare game at center Saturday, had his first goal of the season lined up and beat Snee with a forehander - but he shot it high over the crossbar.

Eric Cavosie had an even better chance with 8:02 remaining in the game.

Murley, along left wing, gave him a quick 2-on-1 centering pass and Snee quickly went sprawling.

Cavosie's shot hit him.

"I read the play all the way," Snee said. "I saw (Cavosie) and I was lucky enough to get across in time and he held the puck on for a bit. I got a piece with my stick."

"Knocking on the doorstep again," said Eric Cavosie, who is scoreless despite having nearly as many chances as his high-scoring brother and Murley.

It's back to two-game weekends for the Engineers next week, as they host Yale (3-3-2, 3-4-2) and Princeton (3-5-0, 3-8-0) in 7 p.m. ECAC contests on Friday and Saturday.