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Big Green See Red, Rip RPI

By Ken Schott

Schenectady Daily Gazette, March 14, 2004

HANOVER, N.H. - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute knew that a desperate Dartmouth team was going to come out and play hard in an effort to save its season.

Still, there was little the Engineers could do to stop the Big Green machine.

Fourth-seeded Dartmouth dominated the opening 20 minutes, scoring twice, and cruised to a 6-0 victory Saturday over fifth-seeded RPI in Game 2 of the ECAC tournament quarterfinals at Thompson Arena, ending the Engineersí five-game winning streak.

The best-of-three series is tied at one game apiece, and the deciding game will be played tonight at 7. The winner advances to the championship round next weekend at Pepsi Arena.

Dartmouth (13-9-9) had a strong third period in Fridayís 3-1 loss, and that carried over into Saturdayís first period. It had numerous scoring chances against goalie Nathan Marsters. The Big Green held the Engineers (22-14-2) without a shot for the first 10 minutes of the game, and had a 14-3 shot advantage in the opening period.

"It was pretty obvious, right from the drop of the puck," RPI coach Dan Fridgen said about Dartmouthís desperate play. "We were expecting that. Youíre talking about a team with their season on the line. Thatís the way they played, and we certainly didnít match that intensity."

The Big Green scored the first goal just past the midway part of the period. Jarrett Sampson skated down the right wing and beat Marsters with a shot over his right shoulder.

Lee Stempniak made it 2-0 with 3:26 left in the first. He came out untouched from the left side of the net and put a low shot past Marstersí left pad.

"We have to come out and play with a lot of intensity, and play hard and play well," Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet said. "Basically, thatís what we did in the first period."

RPI co-captain Scott Basiuk didnít understand why his team didnít have the passion to put the Dartmouth away.

"You win five in a row, and guys maybe start thinking that theyíre better than they are," Basiuk said. "Things were going pretty good for a while. We hadnít lost a game in three weeks. Maybe some guys thought it would be given to us tonight, and those guys were going to shut it down. As much as the guys in leadership can say you want to come out with fire, not everybody did tonight."

The Engineers played much better in the second period. They had two good chances to score. Kevin Croxton was stopped on a two-on-one break early in the period. A few minutes later, Cody Wojdyla had a chance to score into an open net, but he couldnít get to a loose puck near goalie Dan Yacey.

The Big Green put the game away with 1:31 left in the second. Sean Offers had a shot blocked from the right point, but the puck came right back to him. He then fired another shot that Mike Ouellette tipped between Marstersí pads.

Eric Przepiorka, Dan Shribman and Mike Turner scored in the third period for the Big Green. Shortly after Shribmanís goal, Marsters was replaced by Andrew Martin.

"Weíre going to let that one go, and move onto [tonight]," RPI co-captain Ben Barr said. "Now, weíre facing the same situation they were. If we canít get up for a game that could end our season, then none of us should be playing hockey."