March 15, 2002

Red, Rensselaer Ready to Rumble

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LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — For more than 57 minutes in last night’s ECAC play-in game between No. 4 Dartmouth and No. 5 RPI, the Engineers played as if they were ready to catch the first bus out of town. Typically explosive offensively, RPI was lackluster and sluggish. But the Engineers struck twice to finish off Dartmouth and set up a semifinal against Cornell tonight.

“That nightmare just turned into a dream,” RPI head coach Dan Fridgen said.

Matt Murley, the leading scorer in the ECAC, tied the game 1-1 at 17:24 of the third period. He deftly flicked in a rebound shot from just inside the left slot.

“I was in the right place at the right time,” Murley said. “[The goal] settled the nerves of a lot of guys.”

RPI earned its semifinal spot with just 1:08 left — in the most unexpected way. Defenseman Scott Basiuk, who’d scored only five goals in his career, hammered a slap shot from the point past Dartmouth goalie Darren Grastrock.

“I never expect to score a goal,” Basiuk said. “They seem to trickle in sometimes.”

Tonight’s Cornell-RPI contest is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., following the Harvard-Clarkson semifinal. The Red and the Engineers met two weekends ago. The result was a controversial 2-1 win for Cornell thanks to two disallowed goals.

“They’re fresh in our memories,” Fridgen said of the Red.

“it’s definitely a bitter taste in your mouth,” Murley added about the loss.

Dartmouth controlled action for the majority of last night’s game. The Green outshot the Engineers 35-18. Dartmouth’s only goal came from Chris Baldwin at 10:59 of the third.

In other news, the ECAC announced its season awards yesterday morning, and Cornell dominated the slate. Mike Schafer ’86 won Coach of the Year, senior Matt Underhill took the Ken Dryden Award for goaltending, classmate Brian McMeekin was Defensive Defenseman of the Year, and junior captain Stephen B