Friday, February 06, 2009

Home And Home

I hate Union. The reasons are many but basically it stems from growing up an RPI fan and being entranced by their then current success (I grew up in the 80s) and their long history of success and the number of NHLers that came through their doors. Usually geographic rivalries are the most intense. Look at Michigan/Michigan State, USC/UCLA, Alabama/Auburn. No matter how good or bad either side of that equation is in a particular year, they always get up for the rivalry game.

Union is the closest D1 school to RPI and was always seen by me as a young upstart trying to get the respected hockey crown from RPI. Of course, it didn't help matters that over the last years of the Fridgen reign, Union was out recruiting and out performing RPI on the ice. The rivarly now had teeth that Union was competitive and in fact beating RPI at RPI's own game. Add the creation of the Governor's Cup where the main draw was the 2 teams squaring off in addition to their regular season games and for me, the rivalry has increased.

Do the players get a sense of this? Heck, do even RPI fans have a sense of this? There was a thread this week on USCHO about how many RPI fans still view Clarkson as the main toe to toe rival (of course the 1 minute chant still remains).

Still, I am going with the importance of these 2 games, not just for the rivalry factor but because this is a huge weekend for the ECAC standings. RPI needs both of these games to keep marching towards home ice advantage during at least some of the playoffs.

I say that they sweep the home and home this weekend. Let's get it on!

USCHO's picks:

Union @ Rensselaer
In a matchup of average offenses and bad defenses, I'm going to play the odds and pick the home Engineers. The teams look very closely matched right now; 3-2 RPI.

Rensselaer @ Union
Home teams win in the travel-partner tango, 4-1 Dutchmen.

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