Friday, January 30, 2009


The only game on the sched is tonight at the Big Green. They have a surprisingly similar record home and away 5-3-1. 7-4-1 overall in the ECAC. 4th in the ECAC. All of these stats have "loss" written all over them but I think RPI is getting on a roll now. Its their only game for the next week and I think Appert will have the troops frothing at the mouth for this one.

Of course, as I said in the last column and sort of hinted at in previous columns, as goes the offense, so goes RPI. This is a team that cannot win a 2-1 game. Lange is good but his D in front of him is not. RPI really needs to score 4-5 goals to have a chance of winning the game and not imploding in the 3rd period. Will the youngin's step up? Will they go all out for 60 minutes? I think the answer is yes.

USCHO projects them losing 4-3 but I think if RPI can get 3 they have a good shot at a win.

Monday, January 26, 2009

.500 Here We Come!

Well RPI has righted the ship. Of course, in this sense, "righted" means the cherry and white are playing .500 hockey instead of getting blown out every weekend.

Expectations were mixed for me going into this season. Clearly there was talent on this team looking at it pre-Christmas break in 2007 and they promptly fell off the face of the map in all of 2008.

And yet,

Here they are at the start of 2009 they are 3-4-1. Not hugely impressive but much much better then their 1-6-0 November. We have to come to grips with the fact that .500 is about as good as RPI gets this year. Still, there are positive signs that this program is going in the right direction.

Exhibit 1 is clearly the 7-6 OT win over SLU, coming back from 5-3 in the third to take a 6-5 win. Polacek had 2 goals, the AG brothers had a great night and Tyler chipped in with an assist. All of these guys just mentioned are young. Very young. So you can possibly see good results next season from this core of scoring players (when is the last time you heard that in relation to RPI?, probably not since the CEO line).

The Clarkson game was another OT affair but sadly RPI was on the losing end of this one. Tyler got a goal and an assist and kudos to Appert for starting Lange 2 games in a row again. I really think consistency in net is as important as anything else and you can't get that with a constant rotation (no matter how much upside York has).

Next weekend just one game at Dartmouth. Let's see if we can't get it to 4 wins in January.

Friday, January 23, 2009

North Country Preview

Ahh Upstate New York. The general term for folks living there and used by anyone in Manhattan referring to the area North of Westchester. We Upstaters know the differences though. Western New York, The Southern Tier, Central New York, Capital District and then the North Country (or Adirondacks or whatever else you would like to term it).

This weekend, the boys from the Capital District travel north to the North Country to play SLU and Clarkson (1 minute to go and they STILL suck!). Both teams are below RPI in the current ECAC standings ( and with Union 1 point ahead of RPI, RPI could really make a movement in the standings with 2 wins this weekend. When isn't that the case but still, some separation would be nice.

I think the team can do it. Appert has them playing at least at a competitive ECAC level so I full expect 2 wins this weekend. With Lange being trusted to start back to back games last weekend, I fully expect Appert to do the same this weekend. Of course, if the team plays really well on Friday night, maybe look for York against the weaker Clarkson on Saturday.

This could be the weekend RPI starts to chart a different story in the ECAC this season and I expect them to come through. You?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Hit

Ok, I have now seen the hit and the resulting lack of a mid-ice handshake by Cornell players.

For those who have not seen it, please check it out here:

To me, this is clearly a check in continuation of a play. The reason why this caused so much controversy is due to the Cornell player going awkwardly into the boards, not the check itself. Of course, the check was more of a push but when I looked at it, I didn't see necessarily anything outside the bounds of when I grew up playing hockey (or now in rec league). Should he have gone in with the body rather than the hands? Probably but its the end result of the play not the play itself that always seems to be the focus.

Of course the ECAC has overreacted:

There seems to be some debate on whether its a 2 or 3 game suspension. Unless I hear different, it seems doubtful that Burg will be back in action this weekend. With 4 points in 23 games, Berg is not an offensive juggernaut but he is one of our woeful D and leads the team in PIM with 72 (the next highest only has 46). Whether the PIM went up because of all the penalties assessed, well there might be some merit but RPI's D which has been soft is losing their guy with edge.

This season I have read more listserv and message board postings about the quality of the ECAC refs. I have not had a chance to see many RPI games due to my location so I ask you, is really that bad? Was this an overreaction by the refs and then the league?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Another Promising Weekend

Well, 1-1 verus the C schools was pretty respectable. They certainly brought it against Colgate and well Cornell is ranked 5th in the country, what do you expect?

I have no comment on the end of game shennanigoats as I did not see the game and I only know from what I have read on the email chains. All I can say is that things happen in hockey, it can be a chippy sport. However the game ended, you should do the handshake. These kids (despite several being drafted) aren't pros yet. Let's make sure a sense of sportsmanship remains!

Once again, AG did some scoring and I was glad to see my boy Tyler back into the score sheet with 2 assists in the Gate game. Lange got it done again and only let in power play goals. RPI was once again 1-7 on the powerplay. They were also 0-5 on the power play against Cornell on Sat night.

For whatever reason, Appert has saved this season from complete failure. The question remains, can he get them back into the upper tier orbits of the ECAC? Can RPI actually have home games for the ECAC playoffs? Can this team, as young as it is, position itself for a hell of a run at the end of this year and next season? Only time will tell.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Finally a Winning Weekend!

1-0-1 is what the weekend scoreboard will say but really, it means much more to the RPI program. Too often this season and the second half of last season was 0-2-0 or 0-1-1. Hardly a way to climb up the standings in the ECAC and reestablish the RPI program which has been downtrodden for far too long (not a small task for Appert, admittedly).

RPI once again started out both games on fire. This time, they came away with a tie and win! They outshot the Q 9-7 in the first, and despite the letdown in the third (when have we heard that before), RPI managed to skate away with a tie. The next night in Jersey (my home hood), they put the hurt on Princeton 5-1. Once again, strong first outshooting their opponent 11-8.

One really has to talk about the play of Alex AG. This guy has been simply on fire over the last 6 games. Is this finally the indication that Appert can recruit for RPI successfully? Huge fan of Tyler (as people who read this blog know) but Alex AG has come out of nowhere in the first 10 games to really set the world on fire with scoring not just assists (which seems to be TH's provence).

Next weekend is the big test to see if RPI can come full circle this season and get back on the winning side. Colgate and Cornell await (thankfully in the confines of HFH) and we can see if the young guns can actually make it happen 2 weekends in a row.

Monday, January 05, 2009

New Year, New Results?

Sorry I have been away but with almost 2 full weeks off and lots of states/people to visit, there is precious little time to blog about the cherry and white.

Last weekend saw RPI get their lunch handed to them at the Denver Cup with a 6-2 loss to BU and a slightly closer 4-3 loss to Holy Cross. RPI did manage to outshoot HC 13-4 in the opening frame which has not happened often this season.

The HC game was also notable in that Appert pulled a "Paul Maurice circa 2007" and pulled York with 2+ minutes to go in the third period. For those who don't remember, when Toronto was trying like hell for the last playoff spot, Paul would pull the goalie about 5 minutes to go in the game. It worked in a few games but ultimately a lot of empty netters resulted.

Has Appert gotten desperate? What are we to make out of these 2 games? As one commentator of this blog noted, it is good to play top level talent and see where you are at. If that is the case, then RPI is certainly not in the same league as BU and kinda close to HC. I think they should challege themselves via scheduling (although I think it directly led to last year's midseason meltdown) but clearly the results are that RPI is a mid to lower level ECAC team.

Can we expect similar results in the second half of the season? Let's take a look at RPI's upcoming sched...

Fri. 1/9/2009 @ Quinnipiac
7:00 ET
Sat. 1/10/2009 @ Princeton
4:00 ET
Fri. 1/16/2009 Colgate
7:00 ET
Sat. 1/17/2009 Cornell
7:00 ET

They lost 5-1 to the Q and 4-1 to Princeton in previous matchups. They will play the 2 C's again later in the season so we don't know how well they will do then. Clearly, if there is going to be any second half turnaround, RPI needs to score more than 1 goal and probably win a few of these games. I think the C's will be a lost cause if RPI can't step it up against the Gotham area teams. It was good to see Angers-Goulet turn it on as it is an affirmation of Appert's recruiting skills. He basically WAS the scoring out there in Denver and if the underclassmen can start turning it on, RPI might have something to build on for next year. Time will tell.