Sunday, February 12, 2006

RPI Wins in the Freakout!

Engineers wish every night could be Freakout!
By: Ed Weaver, The Record

TROY - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute can't lose on Big Red Freakout! Night.Well, at least the Engineers haven't done so in 16 years now after Saturday night's 4-2 victory over Brown.
Kevin Croxton scored his first goal since his hat trick on Dec. 10 and Ryan Swanson and Andrew Lord each had one goal and one assist as the capacity crowd of 5,317 at Houston Field House watched the Engineers improve to 12-0-4 on Freakout! Night since 1990.The victory gave the Engineers a modest three-game unbeaten streak (2-0-1), kept them in seventh place in the 12-team ECAC Hockey League and marked the first time since Nov. 11-12 that they posted a 2-0 weekend."Long time coming," Oren Eizenman said of the weekend sweep (RPI beat Yale, 2-1 on Friday night). Croxton used the same words to describe his power-play goal that opened the scoring Saturday night at 9:58 of the first period, on which he stick-handled his way through the Brown defense across the slot until he was able to fire a shot past Bears goalie Mark Sibbald."Very long time," he said. "It was long way back (from his ankle injury)."Oren gave it down to me (off the boards)," Croxton said. "I just dragged it inside, kept walking in, walking in and finally got an open lane to shoot. (Kurt) Colling did a great play, (he) tied up the 'D' man so I could get that far with the puck."As for keeping the Freakout! streak going, Croxton said, "I mentioned that to Yurk (senior winger Mark Yurkewecz. I gave him a big hug and said, '4-and-0 on the Freakout!" "It feels good, really good," said Yurkewecz, a Troy native. "You see the guys (several classes) before you do it and you hope you can contribute to that streak. It's sad that it's over (for us)."Swanson, a couple steps from the blue line at the right point, took a pass from Chris Hussey in the mid slot and broke a 1-1 tie with blast at 14:30 of the first period, for the first goal of his 43-game RPI career."That ends the longest scoring drought I've ever had in my life," the junior defenseman said. "It was a fun one to get, especially tonight."Swanson displayed a sense of humor saying, "I actually got two tonight. I don't know if you caught that first one (by Brown's Jeff Prough that tied the score 1-1) went in right off my stick."The bad news is, the Engineers (13-14-4 overall) have no remaining game with the 3-17-6 Bears, who are struggling through a horrible season. They are 2-12-4 in league play and haven't beaten a team from the four major conferences since November. If an RPI fan wanted to be strictly critical, though, he could point out some other less than optimistic news, he could point out that after the Engineers dominated the first period on Saturday night, they went for a stroll on ice for much of the rest of the game. Their third-period shots on goal total of three included Colling's empty-net goal and for the game, they had just 20 shots.The Engineers gave up a through-the-neutral-zone 3-on-1 with seven minutes remaining in the second period and had defenseman Scott Romfo not deflected a pass between the circles, who knows how the remainder of the game may have unfolded? "I thought the (Brown) guy made a dumb play," Romfo said. "I was just backing up. (It was) a legitimate 3-on-1 and he tried to make the most difficult pass he could right away. On a 3-on-1 (as the one defender), you just try stay in the middle and take away whatever passing lane you can. He passed it and I just stuck out my stick."The Engineers got a break on Lord's goal midway through the second period. Sibbald had Lord's wrist shot from the top of the slot but didn't close his glove and literally dropped it into the net."I shot it through their 'D' man," Lord said, "so I was hoping the screen would distract their goalie a bit and I think it did. He bobbled it a bit."Hopefully it was a hard shot," Lord said. Colling's goal with 42 seconds remaining, on a feed from Lord, came 18 seconds after Brown's Matt Vokes deflected one in on a 6-on-5 with 1:00 remaining.

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