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Rensselaer was in the Christmas spirit Tuesday night. Unfortunately for the Engineers, that wasn’t a good thing.
Boston University was the beneficiary of RPI’s gift giving. The 14th-ranked Terriers took advantage of numerous Engineers turnovers and turned them into goals. The result was a 4-1 non-conference win for BU at Houston Field House.
“I thought, overall, we had too many turnovers that they capitalized on,” RPI coach Dan Fridgen said. “We didn’t do a good job. We knew that if we got the puck deep on them, we could work some offense. But we weren’t consistent getting the puck deep.”
Neutral-zone turnovers in the third period enabled the Terriers to pull away from the Engineers (7-9-1). Once the Terriers (9-6-2) forced the turnovers, they turned up the speed.
Brian Collins got the puck at center ice to Dan Spang, who skated down the left wing. Just as he was going behind the RPI net, he slid the puck in front to Matt Radoslovich. He one-timed it past goalie Nathan Marsters at 10:47, making it 3-1.
Late in the game, Jekabs Redlihs kept an RPI dump-in from going deep in the corner. Redlihs sent the puck out to Justin Maiser, who came down the right side. He cut to the slot and past RPI defenseman Keith MC Williams, and fired a wrist shot past Marsters’ glove.
“We took advantage of some turnovers and scored,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “We’re a quick team when we’re moving our legs. We’re not clever, so we have to get on our horse and get after people.”
The Terriers snapped a scoreless tie early in the second period. Kenny Magowan sent a soft pass from the right circle to the front of the net. Frantisek Skladany got inside position on RPI defenseman Scott Basiuk and tipped the puck past Marsters.
“We’ve been turning the puck over,” Basiuk said. “Even in the Union game, we did it a couple of times. They didn’t capitalize on it. You can’t do that against a team like BU. They’re quick.”
The Engineers tied it with a power-play goal at 15:24 of the second. Nolan Graham stopped at the right side of the BU blue line and sent a pass to Kevin Croxton coming down the left side. Croxton got behind the BU defense to corral the puck and slipped a shot past Fields.
“Nolan made a great play on it,” Fridgen said. “He put it to some off ice with Kevin breaking. I thought that one was going to get us going.”
The tie lasted just 42 seconds as Mark Mullen skated past RPI defenseman Blake Pickett on the right side. Mullen cut to the net and jammed it past Marsters.
Both teams are off until after Christmas. RPI hosts Merrimack in the Rensselaer/HSBC Holiday Tournament on Dec. 28. Also on that day, BU will face Michigan State in the Great Lakes Invitational at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.