Friday, October 29, 2010


Oh RPI, you slime my heart on a regular basis. Just when I think you are on your way to another .500 season you roll off two good wins and are primed to kick some Union butt this weekend up in Lake Placid.

I don't know what it is about Union. The "young" upstarts (compared to RPI), the lousy color scheme of their jerseys (maroon and gray?, just saying those two colors makes me depressed!), a nondescript arena, it all just adds up to suck. Of course, they have been slightly better than RPI in recent years which only leads to the jealousy and bad ghost-like thoughts.

In any event, I think RPI is on a roll after last weekend and with another scoring outburst like last weekend, they should win handily with York in net. Let's get it on Halloween style!

Monday, October 25, 2010

RPI You Rock!

Well, well, well, I am thinking I might not know all there is to know about RPI hockey as my prediction of a 1-1 weekend was woefully inaccurate as RPI scored 8 (count em 8!) goals over there weekend to go 2-0. Even more impressive was the win over RIT, 4-1!

In both games, RPI was super hot through the first two periods. 3 goals in the RIT game and 2 in the Niagara game. Of course, I don't want to give the lads too swelled a head, RPI managed to be outscored 3-1 in the third period of the Niagara game to force an OT. That might be a function of York being a bit tired after the last 3 weeks or else terrible D efforts. In either event, RPI got 2 W's.

Upcoming is the Halloween faceoff where RPI plays against the dreaded Union Whatevers. More on that game later this week!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bring On Westerrn New York!

I lived in Western New York for a time. Lived in Buffalo, commuted to Rochester and visited Jamestown many a time. I was all over the place in WNY and the Southern Tier and yet, the only college hockey I ever watched was Canisus College (pre-incident). I never got a chance to go up to what looked like a raucous barn in Niagara or out to the hockey factory at RIT. That program's history of winning at all levels of hockey is incredibly impressive.

So, if you don't want to make the 4 hour drive to see those teams, you are in luck RPI fans, they are coming to see you this weekend! These two teams from WNY are always a tough out if they get into the NCAA tourney and I expect no less of tough games against the Cherry And White.

I think RPI has a chance if Tyler and Chase keep clicking as they have. After the Colorado games where there wasn't much offense, RPI got clicking last weekend and I expect them to continue rolling through Niagara on Friday night. Niagara is currently 0-0-2 with 6 goals against. RIT is a surprising 0-2-1 but those losses have come against WCHA opponents. I expect them to get healthy against Union and RPI this weekend.

Again, the thing that will keep RPI in the game against a team like RIT is York. One hopes he has another shut out in him like last weekend.

Still my thoughts are RPI comes out of this weekend 1-1 which would be a good NC result. In any event, I am cheering for two wins for the lads, go RIPPPPEEE!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Shut Out

Allen York. Draft pick, starter for a season and a half. And a damn fine goaltender as we are seeing. Last weekend, he kept RPI in it despite their rather porous defense. This weekend, he kept RPI hanging around Northeastern making 26 saves on 28 shots and then of course the great SHUT OUT against Bentley on Saturday. That game Allen made 23 saves.

Allen has so far saved 108 shots out of 114 shots for a sterling .947 save percentage. I think this is due in no small part to Appert choosing to ride York without switching him out with another goalie. Part of it is due to the lack of depth of goaltending on this team but part of which I think is SA finally recognizing the peculiar nature of a goalie's psyche of needing consistent work. Whatever the reason, the goaltender situation for RPI is solid.

Of course, the weekend was also great with Tyler picking up three points in the Bentley game and the lads playing pretty well over all. Of course, this IS Bentley we are talking about but a win is a win is a win.

Next up, a very tough game against RIT (can they recruit over the last 20 years or what?) and Niagara. Preview to follow at its usual bat time/channel!

p.s. can I also point out how I totally CALLED this weekend in the preview post? Its nice to be right 15% of the time.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Another Weekend, More NC Games

We are getting closer to that great Halloween showdown in the North Country. However, before we get there, the RPI lads must keep going through their NC schedule. A schedule which is much easier this year than year's past. I think SA even admitted as much on Without A Peer's weekly podcast last week.

That being said, as I showed last week, RPI does just not do well against NC foes unless the team's name starts with Ben and ends with Tley. And look at who is on the schedule for the Saturday night game? I think they will give RPI their first win of the year. The Northeastern game, I am not sure of. NE is a rather middle of the pack team but in a loaded Hockey East division so I think at best RPI ties them.

I think the lads won't be too disheartened after last week and if York plays as well as he sounded on the radio, I think the team pulls out a 1-0-1 weekend.

As always, here are USCHO's picks:

Rensselaer at Northeastern — 7 p.m. Eastern

The Huskies held tight with Providence and top-ranked Boston College last weekend, but each opponent won the third period against NU to send the dogs to 0-2-0. That said, Matthews Arena is a true experience, and a terrifying place to wear anything other than black and red. Hey, wait a minute … cherry is pretty close to red, isn’t it? 3-2 Engineers.

Bentley at Rensselaer — 5 p.m. Eastern

Will the quick turnaround hurt the Engineers? Perhaps a bit, but that should be no excuse for anything short of a victory against Bentley. After all, the Falcons are coming off a night game at Quinnipiac, too. 5-3 ‘Tute.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Well, Not Too Shabby Except...

Ok, I was tempted to actually post that RPI was going to have an 0-1-1 weekend but wasn't sure how WCHA handled tied games (shootout, overtime and then a tie) and well, RPI got a tie.

AAAAAAND RPI got the tie but coming from behind IN THE THIRD PERIOD (I don't think this point could be stressed enough). For all the criticism I give SA for having his teams constantly fold in the third in a variety of ways, I have to give him props for lighting a fire under the team and of course with Tyler and Bergin scoring, it was a good Saturday.

However, do I just have to point out that RPI was horrendous in the second period of each game with taking penalties. Whether the refs in Friday's game were calling it tight or not (and they were), there is NO EXCUSE for having 12 billion penalties in both games combined. Both teams were knocking off the rust so I will chalk it up to that but there will be some monitoring of this penalty situation here at RPI Hockey in the weeks ahead.

Overall, I am about as happy as I can be for a 0-1-1 weekend. The boys played hard and York was clearly playing out of his mind at times. I think not being blown out will also benefit the psychology of this team for the coming season. Overall, we are at condition pleased!

Friday, October 08, 2010

C Is For Cookie

Tonight, RPI kicks off their season against the double C's, Colorado College. Typically, when one steps out of the confines of the ECAC, one finds the level of competition increased regardless of that school's rank in its division. This of course, does not apply to the teams of Atlantic Hockey that RPI continues to schedule during tournaments to fatten up its record (Bentley, I am looking at you punk!).

Against, WCHA, CCHA and Hockey East opponents, RPI, more often than not, comes up on the short end of the stick. By my rough calculations, RPI over the last three years is a combined 3-13-1 against teams from those three divisions. Last year was certainly an improvement, going 3-3-1 against those teams so perhaps the Cherry and White are on a slight uptick.

Colorado College comes into this weekend's pair of games ranked in the middle of the WCHA. Apparently they are going by a score by committee approach this year backstopped by a very good goaltender in Howe. I won't profess to know as much about CC as some other WCHA schools but I do know that RPI is in for a tough test.

I think RPI is going to look for scoring from Chase but also from guys like Angers-Goulet and Halpern. There needs to be secondary scoring so good teams like CC don't key in on the top guys. There are also a lot of freshmen on the team and one wonders if they will start to make an impact. Maybe not this weekend but in the coming weeks of the season. Of course, with York backstopping the team, they will remain competitive no matter the contribution.


RPI will lose the first game by a score of 5-2 but will rally to win the second contest 3-2. In any event, I will be cheering on the lads tonight. Go Get Em RPI!

Monday, October 04, 2010

RPI Ranked 13th But Should They Be (Season Preview)?

Hello one and all! We are back on the RPI beat for another year. RPI starts off the exhibition season against New Brunswick before traveling to Colorado College for two very tough non-conference games (any team in a WCHA conference should be considered tough even a middle of the road team like CC).

However, let's look at the overall picture of RPI hockey heading into this season. INCH apparently has the cherry and white ranked 13th in the country.

The major reasons for this is the return of Chase and the continual evolving of York. Also, I think my favorite player on RPI (Tyler Helfrich) should have a bounce back season for his final campaign.

The issues for this team really come down to three questions.

1) Can Kennedy and Brutlag earn those C's and A's on their chests this year and lead the defensive corps to more than just an adequate showing? Often, when catching RPI games in person and listening on the radio, it struck me how inconsistent the D was and that the goalies never really had a chance on many of the shots taken.

2) Can RPI actually find offense now that two of their best players split for the NHL? Facts are facts. If any program like RPI (young and arguably on the rise) loses not one but TWO blue chip prospects in an offseason (D'Amigo and Pirri I am looking at you!) it is tough for a program to restock immediately. One thing we have seen is SA's ability to recruit but the team needs to win now. Which leads me to question 3.

3) Can SA actually coach to the level needed for this team to win? I give him recruiting. He is great at that. I give him credit for saying the right things. However, he does not get credit for having his teams consistently fail int he third periods of games and recently, playoff series that RPI SHOULD WIN. Closing out, let's do RPI.

Looking ahead at the schedule this year, it is clear the non-conference schedule is weaker then in years past. Other than Colorado College, RIT is the only other major NC opponent RPI faces. Hopefully, they can use this to build momentum going into the conference schedule in 2011.


I am uncertain about this team. Last year they played about a .500 level which was a disappointment considering the talent on the team. Can they win with one true scorer in Chase and one true star in goal in York? That remains to be seen. I think if SA can get the team over the third period hump and the D can stick together, this is a ECAC Final Four team. If they muddle along at .500, I don't see them getting out of the first round of ECAC playoffs. Once again, this is a transition year. Will next year finally be the realization of our suffering fans hopes and dreams? Stay tuned.