Monday, October 27, 2008

Well A Win Is A Win

Of course to get that win (against Robert Morris), RPI had to lose to Union. Of course, since shootouts aren't recognized by the NCAA, its technically a tie. The good thing about the Union game was shots on goal. FINALLY, 31 shots! The lads came out strong in the first period and my boy Tyler getting the goal for the Cherry and White. Mathias had what sounded like a solid game.

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

G Cup

Its that time of year, what is quickly becoming one of my favorite Capitaland traditions, the Governor's Cup (Dewitt above). In honor of New York's past governors, I will link one of them to each of RPI's upcoming games.

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.

Saturday Night:
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

Trouble With A Capital T

6-0. Six to Nil. Seis a Cero.

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:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mass Me?

Ahh a Tuesday game for the lads. 28th (ish) in the nation in the USCHO poll, they certainly will pose a tough test to RPI tonight. Even tougher has been their competition over the first 2 games. A loss to MSU and then a win over North Daokta. There was also that 6-0 waxing of New Brunswick in the exhibition season where RPI struggled with their exhibition game against a U team!

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

Mathias Stands Tall But...

41 shots against and only 1 goal allowed. That definitely says something about RPI goaltender Mathias Lange. Sure, RPI lost 1-0 in a worrying lack of offense again but damn! Stopping 40 of 41 shots is nothing to sneeze at! Last year, lack of shots were a hallmark of RPI's offense and once again, it seems to be revisiting the cherry and white. Of course, this is another top of the conference team that was played but hopefully some of what was learned on Friday can translate into the ECAC schedule.

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

This Weekend In ECAC Play

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!

USCHO's Take:

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

4-1 Eh?

Perhaps RPI is not to that "elite" level yet. You have to crawl before you can walk and I reserve judgment on this team until I see them play some ECAC teams.

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

Aaaaaaand Back!

Hello everyone- with RPI's season about to get underway, I figured the blog should get back to business as well. Sure there were things that happened in the offseason in terms of recruits and all of that but with the warm weather, I guess I wasn't in the hockey blogging mood.

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.

Season Overview:
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.

Go Red!!!!