Thursday, March 30, 2006

Schedule Announced

2006-07 Schedule
Below is what is known of RPI's schedule for the 2006-07 season.
October 13 or 14

October 20

October 21

October 28
7:00 PM
vs. Union at Pepsi Arena

October 29
2:00 or 5:00
vs. Colgate/Quinnipiac at Pepsi Arena

November 3
7:00 PM
PRINCETON - Black Friday

November 4
7:00 PM

November 24
7:00 PM
NIAGARA - Holiday Tournament

November 25
4:00 or 7:00
COLGATE/OHIO STATE - Holiday Tournament

December 2
7:00 PM

December 3
7:00 PM

December 8
7:00 PM

December 9
7:00 PM

December 29
vs. St. Cloud State in Burlington, VT

December 30
vs. Union/UVM in Burlington, VT

January 5
7:00 PM

January 6
7:00 PM

January 19
7:00 PM

January 20
7:00 PM

January 26
7:00 PM

January 27
7:00 PM

February 2
7:00 PM

February 3
7:00 PM

February 9
7:00 PM

February 10
7:00 PM
CORNELL - Big Red Freakout!

February 16
7:00 PM
@St. Lawrence

February 17
7:00 PM

February 23
7:00 PM

February 24
7:00 PM

The ECAC schedule will also include home and road games against Union, probably on January 12 and 13.
The non-conference schedule will also include a home game against UMass-Lowell and a road game at Army, as well as a twelfth game not named yet.
The first-round matchups in the Holiday Tournament and UVM's tournament are not definite.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Committee Convenes

RPI forms committee to find hockey coach
Athletic director says he has 40-50 inquiries so far

By TIM WILKIN, Staff writer Click byline for more stories by writer. First published: Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Of the 59 schools that play Division I college hockey in the United States, only two of them have coaching vacancies.
One of them is at RPI. Athletic director Ken Ralph doesn't know how long the vacancy will remain but vows to keep looking until the best possible coach is found.
"We want a teacher and a motivator and someone with an unquenchable thirst to win hockey games," Ralph said Tuesday. "We want someone who will push himself and the students to the highest level of achievement. We want to be very clear we want to win hockey games at RPI."
Dan Fridgen, RPI's coach the past 12 years, resigned last week. He was in the final year of a three-year contract that was set to expire June 30. The other Division I coaching job opened up Tuesday, when Yale announced coach Tim Taylor would be reassigned within the university after 28 years with the program.
Since then, Ralph said, a search committee of 10 people has been formed. He also said the school has received between 40 and 50 inquiries about the job.
Ralph declined to name any of those who made inquiries but did say the committee will take as much time as it needs.
"They will evaluate all the applications and, after interviews, they will make a recommendation to me," Ralph said.
The final recommendation, he said, will be his. Then he will go to RPI President Shirley Jackson for the final decision.
"On this one, we just have to be sure," Ralph said. "This is an important hire for us. If we have to interview 10 people, we'll interview 10 people. Right now we have had 15 or 16 hard applications already in, and we'll probably have another 10 before the end of the day (Tuesday)."
He said he has made calls to people he thought would be interested.
Ralph said the only person who has said he is not interested is former RPI goalie Kevin Constantine (1977-80), now coach of the Everett (Wash.) Silvertips of the Western Hockey League.
Constantine had stints in the National Hockey League coaching with the San Jose Sharks (1993-96), Pittsburgh Penguins (1997-2000) and New Jersey Devils (2001-02).
Providence assistant coach Stan Moore, a former ECAC coach of the year at Union (1997) and Colgate (2004), is expected to be a candidate. He did not return a call left at his office.
Ralph said he doesn't expect the interview process to start until after the Frozen Four, college hockey's championship tournament April 6-8 in Milwaukee. Ralph said whether he attends the championship would depend on how much progess has been made in the search.
He also said he is not opposed to hiring a former RPI player and said he has had contact with former Engineers star Joe Juneau. But he said that conversation was about people Juneau thought would be possible candidates for the position and not about Juneau himself.

Monday, March 27, 2006

New Booster Club

Hey- if anyone is interested in becoming part of a RPI Hockey Booster Club- click on the link below and sign up.

Players Upset About Fridgen "Resignation"!

TROY - "RPI hockey always has and always will be a family," junior winger Kevin Broad said Tuesday. "Seeing one of your family members leave is never easy."Broad summed up the feelings of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute players Tuesday afternoon, hours after they learned Dan Fridgen had resigned as their head coach."This is not the lasting impression this senior class wanted to leave on the program, being the last one to be coached by coach Fridgen," said senior tri-captain Kevin Croxton, the team's leading scorer."It's tough," Croxton said. "It happened so quickly, we haven't had much time to think about it. It hasn't really sunk in yet. "And it's tough, someone you've been around with (so long). I've known him for six years because they recruited me for a couple years. He was very good to me."The players learned of the decision that the Institute would not offer Fridgen - who spent 12 years as the head coach and five as an assistant to Buddy Powers - an extension of his contract and his subsequent resignation early in the morning. "Our captains told us (Monday) night to come in a 7 a.m.," Broad said. "Coach came in and told us. It says a lot about the kind of man he is, how he came in and told us himself rather than letting somebody else do it. "You never know what's coming," Broad said, "we've been here at 7 a.m. before."Broad said Fridgen was somewhat emotional but wished each player the best."It was tough for him," Broad said. "Being with a program for 17 years, knowing that it was the last time he was going to address us, it was tough."Right winger Kirk MacDonald missed the entire season, battling testicular cancer and recuperating from several related surgeries.Fridgen housed MacDonald for weeks after he was diagnosed last spring. "Coach did a lot of great things for me," MacDonald said. "He helped me out since I got here. Last year taken me into his house for a month at the end of the year. I'll always be thankful for that, all the things he and his family did for me. I can't say enough about that. "It's always tough when you see this kind of thing happen," MacDonald added."It was sad to see him go," said junior defenseman Ryan Swanson. "I had a good relationship with him the whole three years I've been here. I got really close to him."Swanson pledged that whomever RPI hires to replace Fridgen, the players "will support him right off the bat."Broad said he "has a lot of respect for coach Fridgen. "Coach was a player's coach. He treated you like he was one of you own. He always had an open-door policy. If something was bothering you, you'd just go in and see him, whether it was hockey, classes, whatever. Not a lot of coaches will do that for you. Going back to what he did for Mac ... he's just a great person."Fridgen often was too protective of his players when it came to critiques because he felt, regardless of how expensive was the education they were receiving for free, they were amateurs.Broad says those who suggest he was soft on them are dead wrong."No, that wasn't the case," he said. "He held everybody accountable. He was a hard-nosed coach. He coached like he played."He expected nothing but the best out of players," Broad said. "That's what he asked for an I'd like to think that's what we gave him."It's an unfortunate situation and we wish the best for him."

Friday, March 24, 2006

More News On The Search!

RPI to move fast on coach
AD eyes five weeks to find a replacement

By PETE IORIZZO, Staff writer Click byline for more stories by writer. First published: Wednesday, March 22, 2006
TROY -- RPI athletic director Ken Ralph said a few things about his next men's hockey coach. Among them: He will be a motivator. He will be energetic. And, most notably, he will be hired soon.
But Ralph did not offer any names.
"There is no predetermined list, where we can say, 'These five guys are really the short list,' " Ralph said. "This really kind of just snowballed in the last few days. We have not gotten to the point where we have a short list already."
Ralph said he's still assembling a search committee to find a replacement for Dan Fridgen, who resigned Tuesday. Ralph said he hopes the committee can begin meeting early next week. He expects to select Fridgen's replacement within five weeks.
The only candidates Ralph noted by name were assistant coaches Frank Bretti and Jeff Matthews. Both joined the RPI staff in 2004. Bretti previously served as the head coach at Iona. Though Matthews has no previous Division I head-coaching experience, he graduated from RPI in 1995.
"I'm certainly going to be willing to talk to them," Ralph said.
Bretti seemed uncomfortable discussing his candidacy, saying, "We'll have to see that in the coming days. Right now I'd feel more comfortable looking back at Dan's career and thanking him for everything he's done for the program."
Matthews was not available for comment.
RPI is the only Division I job currently open, so Ralph expects to draw plenty of applicants. Among the most intriguing possibilities is Providence assistant coach Stan Moore, who is a two-time ECACHL coach of the year. Moore won the award as a rookie coach at Union in 1997 and again in 2004, when as a one-year interim coach with Colgate he won 22 games.
Moore did not address his potential candidacy Tuesday, saying only he was "shocked" by Fridgen's resignation.
Union's current coach, Nate Leaman, is another possibility, though his interest in the job is unknown. When reached by phone Tuesday, Leaman said only, "I'm very happy at Union," and declined further comment.
Other possible candidates include Graeme Townshend, a scout with the San Jose Sharks and former RPI captain, and Bill Beaney, the coach at Middlebury College.
If RPI really wanted to recapture the Capital Region's attention, it could reach out to two of its most famous alumni, former NHL stars Adam Oates and Joe Juneau.
The idea isn't so far-fetched. Two years ago, Harvard hired Ted Donato, an alum and former NHL player without coaching experience. He won 21 games his first season and led the Crimson to the ECACHL Tournament championship last weekend at Pepsi Arena. The Crimson will be back in town this weekend for the East Regional.
The only candidate Ralph dismissed was RPI women's coach John Burke, a former assistant with the men's squad.
"I would never want to end up in a situation where I say, 'The best coach is on our women's team, so I'm taking him away from the women,' " Ralph said. "That's not going to be the case."
Free-lance writer Dan Farrand contributed to this report.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The RPI Recruits Thus Far

From ICH:


Erik Burgdorfer D 6-1 181 12/11/88 Apple Core (EJHL)

Jordan Cyr F L 5-9 175 5/12/86 Brockville (COJHL)

Jason Fortino D L 6-0 185 1/2/87 Milton (OPJHL)

Paul Kerins F 5-11 167 4/10/87 North York (OPJHL)

Ken Ralph Speaks!

Q&A with Rensselaer AD Ken Ralph
by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor
We spoke to Rensselaer athletic director Ken Ralph on Tuesday afternoon, just a few hours after coach Dan Fridgen announced his resignation.
CHN: Obviously, there's probably a truth out there that goes deeper than Dan Fridgen just resigned. What was the chain of events here?
Ralph: We had a program evaluation going on. A tremendous number of people on our campus were involved and other administrative areas on campus. We wanted to take a long look at what we were doing in hockey. Are we providing the right levels of support? Are we playing to win? We wanted to make sure we were putting the best product on the ice that we can. If we're going to spend this much money on a program — it's fully funded, it's fully staffed.
CHN: Is it clear that the president cares if you win or not?
Ralph: She (Dr. Shirley Jackson) cares deeply whether we win or lose. And it's important to her that we move in that direction. ... (Fridgen) was in the final year of his contract and he was concerned about not being renewed. He did the very professional thing and decided to step down. He told the team this morning. ... He's incredibly professional and fantastic to work with.
CHN: Is it fair to say he saw the handwriting on the wall?
Ralph: That's probably fair to say. ... He's always represented the school well. He wanted to tell the team personally, and I think that's important. And he's earned the right to do that.
CHN: Obviously, these things are tough, because they're not always personal. You have nothing against your coach. Not that too many people will sympathize with you, but these are tough decisions to make.
Ralph: These kind of days are part of the job. The main thing is making sure we're working with the students involved, and looking at taking hockey to the highest level, and get a coach they're excited about, and trying to win a championship.
CHN: To what extent is that still possible? You have a deep fan base who goes back a long time and remembers some glory years, such as the '80s. But — and this is an issue for everyone in the ECAC, St. Lawrence, Clarkson, and so on — the schools like Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan are just getting bigger and bigger. So can you win on that level again?
Ralph: We'll have to find some ways to do some things in the program that are a little different — do things more efficient than the big programs. But Rensselaer as a school is really gorwing. It has much more name recognition from a non-hockey perspective. We need to leverage some of the momentum the school has earned back into the hockey program. I do think we can bring someone in who can win. We can make changes that will take us back to the top. We'll be realistic, of course. We first have to concentrate on our own conference. And if we're competitive in conference, we'll be competitive nationally. Even this year, Dan led this team to wins over BU, Cornell, Harvard — those are (NCAA) Tournament teams — and took Miami (Ohio) deep into overtime. We can get it done. We got to make sure we do it consistently.
CHN: Of course, the inevitable question is, who will be the next coach? I'm sure you'll get plenty of good applicants.
Ralph: We want to make sure we're putting a well thought out list together. We want to make sure we go through a search expeditiously. We don't want it hanging out there.
CHN: Do you think you'll just see who applies, or will you actively pursue someone?
Ralph: I do think there will be excellent candidates, but we'll wait until we put a search committee together before deciding who to pursue. But it's correct to assume there may be some people we solicit an application from.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Fridgen Tenders Resignation From RPI
Compiled by USCHO Staff
TROY, N.Y. — After 12 years at the helm of the Rensselaer Engineers, Dan Fridgen has resigned as the head coach. In his 12 years he had compiled a record of 211-193-38, the most wins of any head coach in Rensselaer history.
Before taking over in 1994 for Buddy Powers, Fridgen was an assistant coach for the Engineers.
"Rensselaer has offered me a tremendous opportunity over the past 17 years," Fridgen said. "My family and I are very thankful for all the experiences we have shared with some tremendous people in the program, on the campus and in the community. I wish the team nothing but success."
"Dan Fridgen has served Rensselaer admirably over the past 17 years, including 12 as the head coach, and his efforts are greatly appreciated," said RPI AD Ken Ralph. "As we enter this period of transition, there is great excitement about the new opportunities ahead for our student athletes and dedicated fans."
"I applaud Dan for his hard work and dedication to the Institute and for the compassion and commitment he has exhibited to his players. We wish him all the best," said Rensselaer President Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson. "Rensselaer has a great hockey tradition, and we will now take the necessary steps to begin a new chapter in our program's history."
"We are very proud of the outstanding student-athletes Dan has recruited and introduced to the Rensselaer community," said Dr. Eddie Ade Knowles, vice president of student life. "Building on Rensselaer's strong tradition of scholar athletes, we will continue to field a team that is solid on the ice and in the classroom."
In those 12 season he compiled eight winning seasons, including five 20-win campaigns, and his teams finished in the top three in the league standings three times. The Engineers won the ECAC Championship in his first year as the head coach in 1995.
The last four years have been difficult for Fridgen as his team’s finished 11th, 5th, 11th and 6th. This past season the Engineers battled through injuries to finish in a tie for 6th place in the ECACHL, but lost in the first round of the playoffs to Quinnipiac in two games.
A search for his replacement will begin immediately.
The 2006-07 Engineers return 18 players from this year's team, including two of the top three scorers and their starting goaltender. In addition, Kirk MacDonald, the team's top scorer in 2004-05 who was a medical red-shirt in this season, is also expected to return.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

This article from Graves made me upset- I seriously doubt that this team was done in by injuries and freshmen. Those issues are not the best for a team but to hav ethe coach not take responsibility for his own shortcomings, its just another reason Danny's got to go!

Fridgen: Team showed unity
Says Engineers grew amid continued adversity

By MATT GRAVES, Special to the Times Union First published: Monday, March 6, 2006
TROY -- It will go into the record books as a second consecutive losing season and two-and-out playoff appearance, but RPI's season can't be measured simply by wins and losses in light of the adversity the 2005-06 team faced.
Beginning with the devastating news that leading returning scorer Kirk MacDonald would miss the season through complications from testicular cancer, the dark cloud seemed to hover over the team almost to the end.
Injuries kept the Engineers (14-17-6, 8-8-6 ECACHL) from having much continuity in the lineup for any sustained period of time, yet they managed to remain competitive. Other than a 5-0 loss at Yale on Jan. 21, RPI was in the hunt in virtually every game.
With a number of freshmen prematurely called to extended duty because of injuries to veterans, RPI still managed to finish in a tie for sixth place and counted eight one-goal losses among its 17 setbacks. RPI won the season series against both arch-rivals, Cornell and Clarkson (1-0-1).
"I thought as a team we really grew over the course of the season," said coach Dan Fridgen, whose contract extension ended this weekend. "We certainly finished higher than what we were picked in the preseason (9th by the coaches, 8th by the media)."
But the Engineers lost a key defenseman in senior Alexander Valentin for the last half of the season, and several other key players at different times.
"We faced some adversity where we had some injuries, this season more than any I can remember," Fridgen said. "I thought guys did a great job of picking up the slack and really gelling together. These guys were very, very coachable this year."
Ultimately, RPI's undoing was its penalty killing (11th among 12 teams in the ECACHL) and its inability to score more than two goals in any of its last four games. The Engineers surrendered three power-play goals in the playoff series against Quinnipiac and scored only three goals of any kind.
Fridgen praised his players, seven of whom completed their hockey careers this weekend.
"There's a process to growth and development for student-athletes when they go through four years of doing well academically and playing at such a high level as Division I ice hockey," he said. "They're to be commended for it. We didn't leave anything in the locker room; we left it all on the ice."
Senior captain Kevin Croxton completed a brilliant career as the team's leading scorer with 39 points (14-25) in 31 games, and junior Oren Eizenmen was the team's most improved player with a team-leading 16 goals and 38 points. He scored in both playoff games.
"This season had a lot of ups and downs," said Croxton, who uncharacteristically missed six games with a foot injury. "We grew as a team and we got better every day. That's what we asked the guys to do at the start of the year. This was an easy team to lead ... a great group to be around."
Defenseman Scott Romfo completed his best season for the Engineers, scoring 17 points (2-15) in 34 games.
"We worked hard every practice, every shift of every game," he said. "We just tried to move forward and not let there be excuses. There were rough times, but we battled every night."

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Reasons To Fire Dan

Ok- its very simple to say Dan should go but the more involved question is why? Here are my 3 reasons RPI needs a new coach.

1) The record: During Dan's tenure he is 211-193-38 (barely over .500). NCAA appearances? 1 in his first season 94-95 which you could argue was due to Buddy Power's presence rather than what Dan did (who's team also made it to the NCAA's).

2) Recruiting: We have known for a while that he isn't a good recruiter but this is getting ridiculous. First off, players last year were going around in the offseason trying to recruit and now Juneau says he wants to try and help recruit people. The COACH should be doing this not players and former players. I am very happy that they feel so much love for RPI that they are willing to step up for the coach but the coach must do this.

3) The 05-06 team was talented; but a 14-17-6 record where you have a goaltender getting 3 player of the weeks, 3 rookie of the weeks and a team that has the CEO line (one of the most offensively potent lines in the ECAC)?

I asked a question of one of CSTV's analysts earlier this year whether Fridgen should be fired and he responded that while it is up to the AD, Fridgen has had a longer leash than most other coaches with his record. Ya think? Its time for Ralph to put this horse out to pasture!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Fire Fridgen!!!

All I can say after this weekend is that he needs to go. He can't recruit, RPI hasn't sniffed the NCAA's in years and with the talent that was on this team this year- Dan needs to go

Quinnipiac Knocks Off RPI, 4-2
Bobcats Claim First ECACHL Playoff Series Win In First Try
by Rob Tricchinelli/Special to USCHO
TROY, N.Y. — For the second night in a row, the Rensselaer Engineers found themselves playing comeback hockey against Quinnipiac. And for the second time in as many nights, they couldn’t draw even. The Bobcats grabbed a two-goal lead in the first period and weathered a late RPI storm to complete a first-round sweep, 4-2.
RPI struck first when Engineer Oren Eizenman scored a power play goal just 41 seconds in. A point shot deflected to him in the slot, and he fired it over goalie Bud Fisher.
The Bobcats, though, held on and responded.
“I was very impressed with RPI’s intensity out of the gate,” said Bobcats head coach Rand Pecknold. “Their backs were to the wall and they got that early goal. We responded well.”
Despite falling behind early, Quinnipiac got three goals in the first period—two on the power play—and a momentum-killing tally late in the second, just 1:28 after RPI drew within one, to take game two of the series and advance.
With the Bobcats holding a 3-1 lead in the second period, Kevin Broad scored for RPI at 15:23 to halve the lead. He used a Quinnipiac defenseman as a screen and fired a shot that deflected up over Fisher’s shoulder.
At 16:51, the Bobcats’ John Kelly stole the puck in the neutral zone and crossed the blue line along the right wing. His quick wrister beat RPI goalie Mathias Lange and defused the Engineer comeback effort.
“It was tough because we had all the momentum after Kevin scored to make it 3-2,” said RPI head coach Dan Fridgen. “I felt good on the bench, I think the guys felt real good, and the guy snaps one in. That game of comeback hockey is a tough game to play, especially when it’s two goals.”
Ben Nelson tied the game at 4:50 of the first. Quinnipiac showed off some deft passing skill on the power play. Brian Leitch sent the puck from the right-wing corner to the faceoff circle, where Jamie Bates delivered a one-touch pass to the other side of the ice, right to Nelson’s tape. His one-timer was true and Lange had no chance of getting over to make the save.
A point shot from Reid Cashman trickled under Lange’s legs to give Quinnipiac the lead at 13:55 of the first, with the Bobcats on a 5-on-3. They doubled the lead later in the period on a defensive-zone turnover. An Engineer coughed up the puck in his own end right to Leitch. Leitch set Bates up with a perfect cross-ice pass, which Bates buried.
The Engineers had a number of scoring chances in the third period, but Fisher was there to deny them all. He made a fast glove save on a wraparound chance that Eizenman sent to the top shelf. Engineer captain Kevin Croxton had a shorthanded bid late in the third. He put a move on a Bobcat defender and got by him, but Fisher stopped his quick wrist shot.
“I have no doubt in my mind that we left everything we had out there,” said Croxton. “For every shift, everybody went as hard as they could.”
Fisher also made several saves on point shots that he saw through traffic and held on to, denying any rebound chances.
“The guys were ready to play,” said Pecknold. “We felt confident coming into the weekend that we could win this series. We felt confident that maybe—maybe—we had a shot at a sweep. We took it one game at a time.”
Fisher finished with 33 saves, and Lange only had 14. With the series win, Quinnipiac advances to next weekend’s ECACHL quarterfinals. RPI’s season, on the other hand, comes to a close.
“It’s always a difficult situation when a season ends,” said Fridgen. “I thought we put it all out on the line. It seemed that when we made a mistake, we paid for that mistake.”
“I can’t explain how the littlest mistake would end up as a goal and yet, when they made the mistakes, we just weren’t able to capitalize at the right time,” he added.
RPI finishes the season with a record of 14-17-6, and the Bobcats improve to 19-16-1 with at least another weekend left to play.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Playoff Time!

Here we go folks- ECAC playoffs! Let's go RPI!!! Here are McDonald's picks for the weekend.

Who: No. 7 Seed Rensselaer14-15-6 Overall8-8-6 ECACHL11-6-1 Record on Home Ice
No. 10 Seed Quinnipiac17-16-1 Overall8-13-1 ECACHL7-11-0 Record on the Road
Where:Houston Fieldhouse in Troy, N.Y.
When:Friday at 7:00 p.m.Saturday at 7:00 p.m.Sunday at TBA (if necessary)
Previous Encounters:Rensselaer 4, Quinnipiac 2 Friday November 11th in TroyQuinnipiac 4, Rensselaer 4 (OT) Saturday February 18th in New Haven
In Brief:
In the only first-round series that features two teams who didn't split their regular-season contests, this weekend's playoff match presents a challenge for Rand Pecknold and his Quinnipiac squad.
"We're certainly very excited to move into our first year in the ECACHL playoffs," he said. "But we didn't fare too well this season against Rensselaer, losing to them up there and then getting a tie down here."
"In fact I don't think we've ever beaten Rensselaer as a program," he added.
Pecknold does know what to expect from the Engineers, and his mind the foremost challenge they present is team balance and solid goaltending.
"Rensselaer has a good team and a good goaltender in [Mathias] Lange," he said.
Pecknold thinks his team has the offensive capability to challenge Rensselaer and put some points on the board against Lange. Defensively, though, he has concerns.
"This year we've played better than I expected in some areas, and worse in others," he said. "I'm very happy with our offense; we've scored more goals than I imagined.
"But I'm not happy with our defensive play," he continued. "Both in five-on-five situations and on the penalty kill, we need to improve."