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College Hockey:
Bright ‘Black’: Rensselaer Holds Off Clarkson

— Black Friday at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute had a little of everything.

There was the ceremony honoring former RPI great Adam Oates. The Engineers were wearing black jerseys. There was the emotion the Engineers playing their archrival Clarkson. And there were 27 penalties called.

The Engineers took advantage of all the excitement and scored all of its goals on the power play, holding on to a 5-3 ECACHL victory over the Knights before a raucous crowd of 4,980 at Houston Field House.

RPI (1-0 ECACHL, 5-2-1 overall) had a 4-1 lead after two periods. Two goals in 10 seconds by Clarkson (0-1, 2-5) just past the midway point of the third period made it a tight game. But the Engineers held on.

“I thought we did a good job of keeping our emotions in check,” RPI coach Dan Fridgen said. “For two periods, I thought we did a good job of getting the puck to the net and scoring some goals. Then we had a little bit of a letdown in the third period, and they scored bang, bang. It’s a breakdown we can let happen.”

Kevin MacDonald scored two of RPI’s five power-play goals. Alexander Valentin, Nick Economakos and Kevin Croxton (an empty-netter) also scored with the man advantage for the Engineers, who had 11 power-play attempts.

The Golden Knights (0-1, 2-5) had nine power-play chances, but only scored once.

“We knew coming in that was the key to the game,” Clarkson coach George Roll said. “We were undisciplined tonight, but I can’t fault our effort.”

In the first 48 seconds of the game, each team took a penalty, and each team scored a power-play goal.

Croxton sent a pass to MacDonald from behind the net, and he snapped it between goalie David Leggio’s right pad and the left post at 20 seconds. Twenty-eight seconds later, Mac Faulkner tied it.

A hitting from behind major to Mike Arciero midway through the first gave RPI a five-minute power play. Alexander Valentin made Clarkson pay when he scored with five seconds left on the advantage.

Economakos and MacDonald scored less than two minutes apart in the second period. For MacDonald, it is his fourth two-goal game of the season.

“You’ve just got to shoot the puck,” said MacDonald, who has nine goals this season. “I’m not really doing anything different.”

RPI goalie Andrew Martin protected the lead, making 20 of his 37 saves during the second.

“They had real good puck movement, and they were moving it around pretty well,” Fridgen said. “But Andrew was there when he needed to be.”

Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.

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