Monday, December 15, 2008
As I mentioned awhile back, RPI has to make itself a top tier team in the ECAC. I appreciate Appert wanting the team to play against the best (like Izzo at Mich State bball) in the early going but the true test is can RPI hang with its conference.
Once the program gets to that level then the question can turn to, can they compete on a national level. As "What About Bob" taught us, its all about baby steps. This last weekend had nothing to do with that.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
I am going to cop out and say wait a while to see what happens. Clearly RPI has demonstrated that it CAN score and Appert seems to be feeling the oats a little bit:
“We gained some confidence in the fact that we created a lot of scoring chances on Friday (in the 7-3 loss at Yale) in both the first and the periods,” he said. “There’s no question we can gain confidence by finally getting some offensive success.
“I wasn’t worried about curtailing any of their exuberance,” he said. “I’ll make sure that their attention is focused on, while the goals and the win are good, we still have a long way to go to make that our norm and not the exception.”
The question remains, can the lads sustain this effort? Their defense isn't getting any better as they gave up 7 goals to Yale. As I have argued before, you need to increase the scoring if the D is going to be this lackadaisical and it looks like someone over at HFH has gotten the message.
On a sad note, it looks like the Governor's Cup is going the way of the dodo bird. I was always disappointed in the crowds that turned out for the event but I would always schedule time to go to it. Having it in the Knick was a great event and has great potential.
Someone on the USCHO message boards mentioned getting a tourney underway with SLU, Clarkson, Union and Ripee and I think this is a tremendous idea. These truly are the rivalrly teams for RPI and having them all come together would be tremendous. Of course, if the event was held in Lake Placid or somewhere north of the CD this could cause travel issues for the casual fan during the winter time but I am all for trying to keep something like the GC going in the future.
Friday, December 05, 2008
RPI vs. Yale/Brown
If I had not watched the games last weekend I would have thought this was a split. However, its clear to me that the problems that RPI faces this year will not be overcome and I foresee a bunch of back to back losses. Brown should be a win but until RPI actually wins (and scores more than 1 goal doing it) I am penciling in 2 losses for this weekend.
Here are some selected quotes from SA in USCHO.
Right now we need to be consistently focused on being a better defensive team,” said the coach, reiterating past assessments that RPI is not “a four-goal-a-game team” right now.
Really? No kidding? The defense was terrible last weekend at the HFH but you couldn't escape the feeling that RPI would be in it if they had the potential of scoring more goals to counteract the bad D. When you are only capable of scoring 1-2 goals a game you can't be giving up 3-4 in the first period. However, I see potential on the offensive side. There are scorers, there are passers, they are just not converting. I think it is going to be more difficult to fix this defense than to get the offense going and there has to be a way to increase the GAA of opposing goaltenders.
“When looking at our record, it’s frustrating, no question about it … but we’ve played five league games. We have more than 75 percent of our season ahead of us.”
Past results indicate future returns. If RPI can't beat Bentley and can't beat the current incarnation of Mercyhurst, what chance do they stand against the ECAC teams? Sure the ECAC is traditionally one of the weaker conferences in the US (compared to the CCHL and the WCHL) but there has been nothing to indicate RPI can rise up against in-division competition. Of course Appert can't bag on the season but there has to be some indication of change. I don't know if RPI fans can take "75%" of the remaining season to go like the first 25%.
Monday, December 01, 2008
1) Zarbo is a great puck moving defenseman. Fast on the rush, great dekeing skills, I love to watch this kid move the puck out.
2) Polacek has a hell of a shot. Heavy and fairly accurate.
3) Fans know I am a big rooter for Tyler Helfrich. While a bit on the smallish side, he has great hands and a nose for the net. He consistently is at the top of scoring for the cherry and white and a valuable recruit.
4) Goaltending. I believe, I really do. A lot of the goals I witnessed this weekend came from bad D not poor goaltending. I think Lange, while jerked around during the Alford year last year, is a valuable goaltender and while York has been inconsistent, I wouldn't be surprised if he rounded into a top goalie in his sophomore year.
5) RPI fans. Still there despite the losing. Still singing "RED" on the nat anthem and Clarkson cheers. Despite all the technology and recent national acclaim, this hockey team is THE identity for the Institute which brings together the students, the alumni and the hockey loving community of the CD. It was great to see everyone out despite the holidays and the general suckiness of the team.
Friday, November 14, 2008
I think RPI continues to play .500 hockey with a terrible PP this weekend and I mirror USCHO's take on the games.
Princeton @ Rensselaer
Can RPI bounce back at home? Princeton's a tough task; I'll save my upset pick for another time. 4-1 Tigers.
Quinnipiac @ Rensselaer
QU is certainly vulnerable, and if the Engineers can play as though they have nothing to lose ... well really, what do they have to lose? 3-1 RPI.
Monday, November 10, 2008
I don't think RPI is horrible but they are clearly not a good team. I think last weekend will be a precursor of things to come and they will finish about .500 but with no home ice advantage. Something tells me SA is slowly turning the ship around but to do so, he must get the offense working EVERY night and stop with the damn goalie platooning already!
Friday, November 07, 2008
RPI v. Harvard:
They killed us in shots but their power play was just as terrible as RPI's. The thing in RPI's favor is the Blackout will be this Friday night which is a great new annual tradition and should pump up the boys even more. Its really a make or break game for RPI as ECAC play gets underway in earnest. Personally, I don't think our offense is up to the challenge and I see RPI falling 3-1.
Harvard @ Rensselaer
Hunch pick: RPI guts out a desperate win in front of a blacked-out crowd, 3-2.
RPI v. Dartmouth:
Growing up, I always remember Dartmouth as the team scheduled against RPI for the Freakout because the program was so anemic. Its tough to tell about them this year as they are only 0-2 and lost a close game to Vermont. Still I am thinking RPI hands them their hat in a bounceback game 4-2.
Dartmouth @ Rensselaer
Call it a Houston (Field House) Hangover: RPI can't make it four points this weekend. 3-2 Green.
Through the RPI listserve, here are some articles on the games from the local fish wraps:
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
There is something wrong there on the hill. Perhaps it is 36 shots against. Perhaps it is the terrible powerplay. Perhaps it is the coaching.
In any event, these are depressing times for fans of the Cherry and White. I am at a loss this morning of what needs to be done with this program.
Monday, October 27, 2008
This set up the next game against RM where RPI once again managed over 30 shots. However, what the hell was up with them giving up 41 shots??? Was there no defense blocking shots at all????
Glad to see York finally get back on the winning side of things. Sure he is only a frosh and expectations should be low but when you face that many shots and you win 2-1, that is a good harbinger of things to come.
Can RPI build on this for the ECAC run? I think its a question very much up in the air but only time will tell.
Friday, October 24, 2008
RPI v. Union
It is THE rivalry game. Growing up an RPI fan, I hated those maroon and white guys from across the river. And, when they were better than RPI for a few years, it got my blood boiling. The downturn in both programs means that they have to be facing each other for the first game as no guarantee that they will advance to the finals. The Knick is usually a wasteland for hockey games (Rats I am looking at you) but it gets as full as its going to get for this game.
I think RPI is going to get up for this game and do what Cuomo did against Pierre Rinfret: RPI 4-2 over Union.
USCHO has a different take:
The Dutch played solid hockey out in Omaha, whereas RPI simply can't get out of its own way. 'Tute has been shut out twice and allowed 10 goals to Bentley and UMass. It should be a tight defensive game if RPI plays well, but Union's on a mini-roll. 3-1 Dutchmen.
RPI vs. Colgate/Robert Morris (i.e., Colgate)
In 1994 George Pataki came out of nowhere (Peekskill, really?) to defeat Cuomo and promised reform in Albany. Sure he bought out a lot of state workers and was friendly-ish to the environment but his change signaled a change in Albany and the state from the silver tongued one. Maybe I am naive but I think RPI will have a similar victory over Colgate to announce their return to the hockey stage after their losing ways. I see them winning in a shootout 2-1.
USCHO thinks its batten all hatches if RPI loses to Robert Morris in the consolation game and I can't say I disagree with em:
If RPI doesn't beat RMU, there will be a quicker bandwagon evacuation than the Boston Bruins' saw last spring. 3-1 Engineers.
RPI on the injury front. Here is the latest (from USCHO):
Rensselaer will be without the services of forwards Joel Malchuk and Kurt Colling yet again. The duo has already missed time this year, but with a bye week looming, coach Seth Appert hopes to have them available against Harvard in two weeks. The Engineers are also fretting about the nature of defenseman Mike Bergin’s injury. The freshman suffered a dislocated shoulder against Massachusetts on Tuesday on a questionable late-game hit, and Appert describes his situation as “out for an extended period of time.” His options currently appear to be rehabbing it and playing this year, or having surgery and shelving the season … Appert is leaning toward the former, but only time will tell which plan is best. Regarding the hit, Appert doesn’t blame UMass coach Don “Toot” Cahoon one bit. Appert said that “because of the emotion of the college game, sometimes lines get crossed … I don’t mind the physicality of it, but I don’t like two of our defensemen getting blasted from behind [in a 6-0 game] .” (The guilty party — Minuteman senior Chris Davis — was assessed a hitting-from-behind major and a game misconduct.)
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
No matter how you write it, it doesn't change the fact that RPI got blown out of the building last night. They allowed 20 shots on goal IN THE FIRST PERIOD and Lange somehow managed to stop 18 of em. I didn't listen to the game but he must have been standing on his head.
Where is the defense? Is anyone hitting? Blocking shots? Clearing pucks?
The offense? Not much better. Did not crack 10 shots once in a period and was 0-3 on the powerplay.
The problem with scheduling tough opponents to start the season is that if you get blown out or constantly lose, the team runs the risk of being demoralized. You saw it last year when RPI started off hot, then played nothing but Top 16 caliber teams, lost a bunch of games in the third period and where so beaten down that their ECAC run starting January on was terrible.
The USCHO message boards seem to point to a lack of effort in this game and games like Bentley. Does this point to Appert being a better recruiter than coach? Depending on how this season goes, I think its a legitimate question to ask. In any event, a shorter leash is required than his predacessor.
Check out another prospective about the "rut" we are in: http://www.hockeyjournal.com/Article.php?ArtID=575565
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
The defense has to play well and there can't be a third period meltdown. If Lange can keep them competitive perhaps they can pull out a win and start turning around this season. Once can only hope!
Monday, October 20, 2008
As for Saturday night, RPI scored more goals (3!!) then they have in awhile but still ended up with the loss in overtime. Tyler finally got on the board for the lads but once again, shots on goal were an issue. RPI had 8, 9, 5 and 1 shots respectively during each period. Is it asking too much that they break the 10 shot barrier once against a team like Bentley??? I mean its Bentley. Allen York only saved 21 of 25 shots for an unimpressive GAA which, coupled with Lange's performance on Friday, points to Mathias continuing to take the reigns for the full season.
RPI plays on Tuesday against Massachusettes at 7pm. Game preview tomorrow and hopefully the lads can get off the snide.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Wow, what a start to the season!!! First UVM now another U school. Considering how last weekend went, I am not expecting much out of RPI in this game. Still I think it will be closer than USCHO predicts. I say a loss of 4-2.
The Wildcats aren't really a "tuneup" kinda team for a developing program like RPI's ... 5-1 UNH.
RPI at Bentley:
Playing in a division that barely has any teams, Bentley only does well against the Cansius' of the world. I fully expect a win and if there isn't one forthcoming, then its definitely worry mode for the Cherry and White. Maybe 3-0 for the first shutout of the year?
USCHO agrees with me:
Bentley @ Rensselaer
Thank goodness it's not UNH, right? RPI bounces right back, 4-1
USCHO makes a good point in their weekly notebook about the Puckman jerseys. When I was a lad growing up and watching RPI those were the jerseys I wore and that I associated with the program. I realize that while the other sports programs are the Redhawks or whatever they are, the hockey programs was allowed to keep their Engineers. Still, I would like to see them go from the nondescript Rensslear jersey and back to the Puckman. And while we are at it, bring back the swarm!
• Rensselaer — the good: Vermont went only one-for-nine on the man advantage last Saturday. The bad: RPI went zip-for-five to follow up a miserable .071 performance last season. (Tangent: The Engineers played a league-low 19.2 percent of their ECAC contests with the lead.) Hopefully ‘Tute’s three-for-10 effort against the Under-18s on Sunday will inspire a little more confidence in the fledgling Engineers as they hit No. 6 New Hampshire Friday night.
Not that anyone asked me, but … I miss the Puckman jerseys. There’s nothing wrong with the current sweaters (Easton? That’s a novelty), but ditching Puckman is on par with the Penguins ditching the scarf (they couldn’t even bring it back for the Winter Classic; are you kidding me?). I actually liked the Pens’ stylized triangular logo too, but that’s neither here nor there.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
All I can say, again, is WHAT HAPPENED IN THE THIRD PERIOD???? All of last year, that was this team's downfall and so it is with letting up 3 goals in the third.
On 6 shots nonetheless!?!?!?!
I wish I were at the game because I have never gone to Quebec City but that result must have been disappointing to all the cherry and white fans that made the trip up the Northway.
This team is still not ready to hang with the CCHA's and the Hockey East's of the world but I remain confident that they are built for ECAC play and the results will show either this season or certainly next.
Let's go RPI!
Monday, October 06, 2008
I am also going to do a better job in providing RPI hockey links on the side of the board and more photos of the guys as culled from the web this year.
I think this year will be a real turning point year for RPI. Last year was a disaster of sorts as SA had the boys ready to play for 2 periods but then had some epic collapses in the third periods. I think the losses in the early going to tough teams kindof deflated the confidence a bit and the Cherry and White had a so-so ECAC run. This season, things are different, other than the Catamounts as the first game in Quebec this weekend (please tell me your experiences in the comments!) RPI has a pretty ho-hum schedule until January when they play BU and Denver. Hopefully they will have some confidence built up by then and can really turn it on in the second half.
The team will look to Mathias Lange again this year to help shepard them through the schedule. I never agreed with splitting the goalies and York being a freshman, hopefully they will be able to ride Lange the whole year. Consistency is the watch word with this team and that also applies to the defense.
RPI has a lot of sophomores and juniors on the blue line this year and hopefully they are now fully on board with the system and will help out Lange as much as possible.
Tyler Helfrich (your my boy Blue!) and Halpern are going to be looking to anchor an impossibly young starting lineup. I really have no idea what to expect from the variety of underclassmen on the wings this year. Appert was known as THE recruiter for that Denver program and his recruiting classes have been in the top 15. You hope that you can see the hype being justified with all of these freshmen running around.
The goal this year is to get home ice for the ECAC playoffs and try to ride that to Albany. Then, with momentum, hopefully taking the crown and getting into the NCAA's. Honestly, I think this team is a year away from the NCAA's but I remain hopefull.
Win the Governor's Cup (Against Union then Colgate)
Win Black Friday (Against Harvard)
Lose the Holiday Tourney (Lose to Mercyhurst but beat Princeton)
Lose the Denver Tourney (Lose to BU but beat CHC)
Win the Big Red Freakout (Against Yale)
And Beat Frickin St Lawrence on Senior Night.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Six forwards, one defenseman and a goalie among eight newcomers
TROY, N.Y. – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) head men’s hockey coach Seth Appert has announced the team’s Class of 2012. The group of eight student-athletes includes six forwards, a defenseman and a goaltender. Two from the incoming class are from the United States while the others hail from Canada.
“Shawn (Kurulak) and Jim (Montgomery) have again traveled many miles to put together a deep and nationally competitive class.” said Appert. “These eight student-athletes will continue to push our program and our returning players to higher levels of success.”
Below is an alphabetical list of Rensselaer’s recruits with their 2007-08 regular season statistics, notes (if applicable) and a quote from Appert:
Alex Angers-Goulet F 5-10 180 St. Augustin, QC/Langley Chiefs (BCJHL)
44 GP … 12 goals and 28 assists for 40 points … 15 PIMs … Named team’s playoff Most Valuable Player after scoring 15 points (7 goals, 8 assists) in 12 games … Brother, Matt, will be a senior forward on the Engineers in 2008-09.
“Alex is an explosive, high-speed player who will fit well in our style of play.”
Mike Bergin D 6-3 200 Kanata, ON/Smiths Falls Bears (CJHL)
33 GP … 11 goals and 18 assists for 29 points … 38 PIMs
“Mike should be one of the best freshman defenseman in the country. His skating ability, toughness and two-way play make him a multiple threat.”
Patrick Cullen F 6-0 190 Washington, DC/Indiana Ice (USHL)
58 GP … 8 goals and 18 assists for 26 points … 52 PIMs
“Patrick is a goal scorer with a big-time shot who has the ability to be a point producer at our level.”
Christian Morissette F 5-10 180 Beaconsfield, QC/Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)
53 GP … 8 goals and 19 assists for 27 points … 22 PIMs
“Christian brings stick skill, imagination and a great offensive mind to our program.”
Josh Rabbani F 5-11 200 Woodland Hills, CA/St. Louis Bandits (NAHL)
57 GP … 20 goals and 28 assists for 48 points … 31 PIMs … Team won National Championship … Had 12 points (4 goals, 8 assists) in 11 playoff games.
“Josh has the mind and stick skill to produce at this level as he has produced at every level he has played.”
Justin Smith F 6-2 205 Hampton Plains, NS/Langley Chiefs (BCJHL)
53 GP … 10 goals and 13 assists for 23 points … 32 PIMs
“Justin is a big physical power forward who will bring passion, energy and toughness to our team.”
Jordan Watts F 5-10 175 Oakville, ON/Aurora Tigers (OPJHL)
35 GP … 15 goals and 27 assists for 42 points … 74 PIMs … Tallied 17 points (8 goals, 9 assists) with 29 PIMs in 19 playoff games
“Jordan has speed and skill but it is his intensity and abrasiveness to opponents that will excite our team and fans.”
Allen York G 6-4 180 Wetaskiwin, AB/Camrose Kodiaks (AJHL)
37 GP … 24 wins, 5 losses, 3 ties … 2.24 GAA … .911 save % … Team played in Royal Bank Cup Championship for second consecutive season … Posted 11-3 record with 1.86 GAA and .935 save % in 14 playoff games … Sixth round draft pick (158th overall) of Columbus Blue Jackets in 2007.
“Allen is a proven winner who has the size, talent and competitiveness to be an elite collegiate goaltender.”
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
The NCAA's just concluded with BC taking the crown. They whupped up on Notre Dame in the final who had schooled RPI twice before this season. Watching these games reminded me that while RPI has come a ways in terms of speed in recent years, they are still lightyears from the cream de la creme of the college hockey world. One hopes that Appert can keep the third period meltdowns from occurring next year.
It was nice to see Jake Morissette and goaltender Jordan Alford get invited to the skillz competition during the weekend.
Still, now my thoughts are turning to a great contest coming up this fall in Quebec City. Partially put together by Joey J, the lads will be taking on Vermont on October 11th. Get on the RPI listserv to get hooked up with information about travel plans up there. I might be making the trip and would love to see the lads north of the border.
Don't forget the hockey banquet is this Friday. Raise a glass to the lads in Cherry and White and I will see you next season!
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
No, its not hockey player Santa- it be the ECAC playoffs. College hockey is great in that no matter how bad a team played during the regular season (see RPI), there is always the chance of redemption and running the table in the tourney in order to get an automatic bid.
That is what RPI is faced with as it goes on the road to Yale this weekend. A split last weekend really did nothing for RPI other then get them acquainted with the Bulldogs.
The questions remains- can Appert stop a third period collapse. Can the young guns score in bunches? Will the passing be there? Which goalies will start?
All of these questions will be answered this weekend. Personally, I think RPI survives this weekend and moves on. Your predictions are welcomed in the comments. Go Red!
Friday, February 29, 2008
Going up against weaker Ivys should do the trick. I predict a sweep this weekend for the cherry and white. Of course, it matters not as they are the road team next weekend for the ECAC playoffs but let's show some spirit. USCHO disagrees with me. Do you?
Rensselaer @ Brown
Brown has been playing better, and holds an advantage in a game between two sputtering offenses. 3-2 Bruno.
Rensselaer @ Yale
No reason for it, but just to demonstrate my wild and wacky antics, I'm picking RPI on a hunch. 4-2, and this one's a 5:30 p.m. start at the Whale.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
TH is coming on in the goal scoring category which I think is more important for the team then him racking up assists. He has been consistently the leading point scorer on the team but with much more assists. Hopefully he will develop into a goal scorer which seems to be lacking recently.
I really don't have much to add as I am very fearful the season will end with the first round of the playoffs this year. Maybe I will feel better if they destroy the Ivyies this weekend.
Friday, February 22, 2008
St. Lawrence @ Rensselaer
"Oh dear God, you're speechless. I won I won an argument Jack, it's unprecedented. We'll be at the playground drinking beer. Oh God, we love beer." Rensselaer wins this argument, and celebrates accordingly. At the playground. 4-2 'Tute.
Clarkson @ Rensselaer
"Or ... we could skip the day-trip to Unnecessary Land and instead simply concede that Mrs. Wilk is my patient and that, while we are both attendings, we are in no way equals — we are in fact not equals. We are — hmmm — unequals." These teams? Unequals. 5-2 Knights.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
4-0 and 7-1 losses? Sure Central New York is not kind this year but man, that was just rough. I guess for me, its really all about seeing if they can do anything in this next stretch of games otherwise its just looking at my watch until they lose in the first round of the playoffs.
These are dark times in RPI-fan-land. I think the team gave up after that holiday tourney in Florida. Once they went up against the cream de la creme and lost AGAIN they spiraled downward. Appert clearly can't steer this team back this year. Here is to next year!
Friday, February 15, 2008
RPI 4-3 over Gate and 5-2 losers against Cornell. You heard it here first!
Rensselaer @ Colgate
Could be a good one; RPI's alright on the road, and Colgate's got a good home record. Goalie battle? 2-1 Raiders.
Rensselaer @ Cornell
Lynah is a harsh mistress to those who don't feed her daily. Open up, we've got some Engineer for you... 3-1 Cornell.
Monday, February 11, 2008
TH with a goal and an assist very nice.
Great quote from SA
“I wasn’t happy that we gave them that lead,” Appert said, “…but when all seemed to be going against us, we were struggling … to have the resiliency to come back and to play that hard, I was really happy to see that. It showed (there’s) a lot of character in that room.”So is this the turning point? Is this when we look back on this season as the point where the team didn't give up and instead turned on the jets in the third period and beat teams? This couldn't come at a better time due to the Central New York swing with two very tough teams in Cornell and Colgate (thoughts on this coming later in the week). Still, a hopefully night at the Troy Fieldhouse.
I can't say it any better than this:
“Goals seems to come in bunches, especially when you’re struggling,” said RPI captain Jake Morissette. “You get that (first) one and the confidence comes and you’re able to put a couple more in the net.”
Friday, February 08, 2008
This weekend, we get one of the weaker teams (like us!) in the ECAC. My dad's old alma mater. Dartmouth over the last few years have shed their pathetic hockey lineage but this year has em right back in the crapper again and if there is anything to look forward to (i.e., home ice in the ECAC playoffs) this is the game to kick start things. I agree with USCHO, this should be a win.
Dartmouth @ Rensselaer
The Big Green are looking greener by the minute, at 0-3-1 in their last four, and in the midst of a four-game road swing. RPI needs to pounce here and now if the 'Tute wants to stay in the running for home ice. 3-1 Engineers.
Monday, February 04, 2008
I had a conversation with my father about this ridiculous situation and it seems to me that SA is a better recruiter than coach. After all, doesn't this seem exactly like last year. The team starts off super hot and then go through a prolonged losing streak?
Is it time to start thinking of a change?
Friday, February 01, 2008
This is one of the great traditions in college sports (not just hockey) and I am a wee bit sad that I will miss it. In honor of the weekend I am predicting a sweep for the lads in cherry and white. USCHO is doing the same! Any thoughts are welcomed in the comments:
Quinnipiac @ Rensselaer
These two teams always play it close. RPI's trying to rebound from the skid, and will be mighty driven to take two points going into the Freakout. 3-2 'Tute.
Princeton @ Rensselaer
I just can't pick a Freakout! to go bad in good conscience. If anyone belongs at an event called "The Freakout!" it's me. 4-2 'Tute.
Princeton @ Rensselaer: Saturday, 7 p.m.
It’s the Big Red Freakout! It’s also the meeting of one of the league’s top teams, Princeton, and one that’s under more teams than it’s on top of, in Rensselaer.
The programs are surprising in opposite ways thus far. The Tigers were picked to finish eighth by the coaches and media (and seventh by yours truly) in the preseason poll, and yet were in possession of first place as of two weeks ago. RPI, well, the Engineers were picked low, but I doubt even their heartiest detractors expected the Engineers to suffer a 10-game losing streak midseason.
It’s the second game of the weekend for each team, and RPI hasn’t lost a Freakout! game in decades.
“The fans at RPI are with you through thick and thin,” said volunteer assistant coach (and former Engineer captain) Ben Barr. But the Big Red Freakout! is an entirely different beast.
“You can be there an hour before the game, and the place is packed; it’s electric. It’s one of those things that seems to be sold out before tickets even go on sale.”
RPI head coach Seth Appert deferred to Barr on the Freakout!, as Appert has only experienced one so far, and none as a player.
Early each February for the past quarter-century, the school’s Alumni Weekend has corresponded with an otherwise everyday hockey game. It’s not a Homecoming game; there is no traditional pageantry or pomp to accompany the game. It is as though an arbitrary contest were picked off the calendar, but everyone in Troy knows when it is and where to be.
“You kinda get goosebumps as you walk out” to the ice, said Barr. “You don’t want to let your community down, or your school.” The energy is raw, dynamic, and contagious.
Barr noted a couple of contests from his playing days, in which rival Clarkson had come to town for the Freakout! “You can get jacked up, and let the moment control you a bit and get you running around,” Barr said of some of the undesirable side effects.
While that happened against ‘Tech, it didn’t sink the ‘Tute.
“We came back from down 3-0 [in 2002] and 2-0  late to win. It’s not the way you want to do it, but the fans loved it,” Barr recalled.
“Right now, this is one of the toughest weeks of the season,” said Appert, whose team draws Quinnipiac on Friday before the big fiesta on Saturday. “The power play’s taken a step in the right direction [2-for-6 last weekend] … Quinnipiac has one of the most dynamic offenses in our league.”
Appert and the team are focused first and foremost on Friday. But if you feel a little extra buzz around the Capital District on Saturday evening, now you know why.
Monday, January 28, 2008
I think this is pretty much how the rest of the season will play out. Most likely it means going on the road for the playoffs. This obviously was not the expectation going into the season or certainly after the first month of the season. However, I am confident in the future. A few more wins (including beating freaking Union) will alleviate my spirits.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Isn't this typical of Appert's tenure so far? Fast starts and then the team drops of the face of the earth? I still have faith in SA but man, 2 seasons showing a trend makes me less than secure.
This weekend is the typical North Country swing which should result in two losses. However, since Clarkson is one of those teams, and the fact that they still suck, I will give that game to RPI and the loss to SLU.
I am not optimistic anymore but I still love those Cherry and White lads! Go RPI!
Of course, USCHO's previews follow bellow:
Rensselaer @ Clarkson
Nine goals in eight games for RPI. Clarkson's 9-1-0 at Cheel. Things aren't looking good for the Engineers. 5-2 Knights.
Rensselaer @ St. Lawrence
SLU people seem to think I have it in for them, predictions-wise. No reason to mollify them now RPI for the upset, because — let's face it — they're going to win sometime. 3-2, by the same score the 'Tute last beat the Saints, in '04-05.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Of course, here are USCHO's picks.
Cornell @ Rensselaer
The Engineers have scored six goals in their last four games. Granted, these were games against high-class competition. That said, Cornell's no slouch. So something's bound to go wrong here: either the Big Red Revival will hit a bump in the road, or RPI will be left groping for the emergency brake on this slide. I'm picking the 'Tute, on sheer desperation, 4-3.
Colgate @ Rensselaer
The Engineers are home for the weekend, and need to make up some ground in the wake of their non-conference losing streak. Colgate will certainly put up a fight, but when it comes right down to it, I think RPI has the better odds. 3-2 'Tute.
Friday, January 04, 2008
Here is USCHO's take- let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Rensselaer at Maine (Cumberland County Civic Center; Portland, Maine)
I’ll pick RPI here, because I’ll give Seth Appert the benefit of the doubt ... that despite the results, the Engineers really are playing great hockey. 4-2 ‘Tute over the stumbling BlueBears.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
I think what really gets me about games like what happened this past weekend in Fla is that this team clearly has talent. They have tremendous speed, good hands, a decent goaltending tandem (although Lange was a better goalie when it was just he carrying the load). All elements into making this team a really good one to watch and to root for after many many disappointing years of the Fridgen era.
YET- it is clear something is going on between the second and third period in which RPI decides to rip out the hearts and crush the expectations of its fans. In some ways, to revisit my question above, I would rather be completely blown out by the top tier teams then to keep losing in this fashion.
Even if RPI does well in its ECAC matchups and ends up going to Albany this year, does anyone expect them to compete on that level or even in the NCAA's at this moment? We (meaning RPI hockey) do not have the horses right now to be considered an elite program.
I have faith in Appert. I think he is a hell of a recruiter and I am excited by the future. However, I am not longer excited by the present.