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College Hockey:
Uryadov Stars, RPI Blanks Bentley In Season Opener

— It was a nice way for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to open up the 2007-08 season.

The Engineers dominated Bentley from start to finish. Andrei Uryadov scored twice, Jordan Alford earned his first shutout in three years and the Engineers rolled to a 4-0 non-league hockey win over the Falcons at Houston Field House.

Matt Angers-Goulet and Jonathan Ornelas had a goal and an assist each, and freshman forward Tyler Helfrich got two nifty assists in his college debut.

“We’re very pleased with the victory. It’s always nice to get a victory, without question,” RPI coach Seth Appert said. “But I was pleased with how we played for 60 minutes. We’re still learning to win as a program. It’s not an overnight process. That’s something that’s a learned process.”

RPI outshot Bentley, 45-16. There was very little RPI did wrong.

“More than anything, our puck decisions were the only things that got us in trouble at times, turnovers that resulted in scoring chances for them, or sometimes penalties for us that led to scoring chances for them,” Appert said. “For the most part, it was a dominant performance. We were relentless in our pursuit of how hard we got off the puck, and the puck battles we won. We also saw that we are in better shape than a year ago, and we’re faster than a year ago.”

Ornelas got things going 6:07 into the game. Andrew Lord carried the puck into the Bentley zone, and drew the defensemen to him. That left Ornelas open on the right side. Lord passed the puck to Ornelas, who skated a couple of feet before firing a wrist shot between goalie Jason Kearney’s pads.

“[Lord] made a great play,” Ornelas said. “They left me all by myself. It was an easy job for me.”

The Engineers put the game away with a three-goal second period, starting with a botched three-on-one by the Falcons.

Bentley had the three-on-one, with RPI freshman defenseman Bryan Brutlag back, just as Anders Olson came out of the penalty box. But the Falcons got pass-happy, and Ornelas broke it up. He started a three-on-one the other way. Ornelas passed the puck to Matt Angers-Goulet on his right, and he ripped it by Kearney.

“That was all Jon Ornelas,” Appert said. “We were pressing on the power play late. They came out of the box, so they transitioned into a three-on-one. Bryan Brutlag did a good job buying time for the backcheckers, but also, Jon Ornelas busted it back the whole way. He gets rewarded with making a nice offensive play to Angers-Goulet for a one-timer.”

Uryadov scored the next two goals, with Helfrich assisting on both of them.

On the first goal, Helfrich made a nice spin-a-rama move in the left circle and fired a pass to Uryadov at the net. Uryadov looked startled for a second that the puck was on his stick, but quickly recovered to put it into the net.

“He told me he saw me coming to the back of the net, so he tried to get it to me as soon as possible,” Uryadov said. “As he was spinning around, he threw it right to me. It was a good, hard pass.”

Helfrich was in the right circle when he took a pass from Peter Merth at the right point. Helfrich sent the puck to Uryadov at the net. Kearney stopped the first shot, but Uryadov tucked the rebound.

Alford made 16 saves to earn his second career shutout, with the other coming Nov. 26, 2004, against Robert Morris. Alford’s biggest stop came late in the third period, when he stopped Jeff Gumaer on a breakaway.

“Jordan Alford played a very nice game,” Appert said. “He wasn’t tested tremendously. The times he was early, he was strong. He allowed us to get a lead, and allowed us to build the lead. When we got it, he shut the door making a few strong saves in the third period.”

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

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