Monday, February 28, 2011

So, That Happened

Kevin Beattie summarized the weekend thusly:

"RPI went 1-0-1 last week, falling to Princeton (4-3) and tying Quinnipiac (2-2 in OT). Junior Allen York (Wetaskiwin, AB) stopped a combined 65 shots in goal, including 40 in the loss to the Tigers. The #14 Engineers (19-10-5; 11-9-2 ECAC Hockey) have earned a first round home series in the ECAC Hockey Tournament and will host Colgate this weekend in a best-of-three clash at the Houston Field House. Game times are TBA."

Does that really tell the story though? Does it tell the story about how RPI had a NCAA birth in its hands and a first round bye locked up in the ECAC and yet 1-2-1 over the last two weekends? This coming with York back in net and Polacek on the ice, both relatively healthy?

Now RPI is faced with having to sweep Colgate to shore up that #14 PairWise ranking and probably will have to make it to the final ECAC four to guarantee an at-large bid. I always thought that RPI had to take small steps back to national promenience. Given the general ECAC weakness comparatively to Hockey East or CCHA or WCHA, I though RPI should concentrate on kicking the door down of the ECAC and then be better prepared mentally for NCAA's.

Instead, what happened this year was RPI doing VERY well in the NC games and sort of muddling its way through the ECAC (mid-season streak excepted of course). Now who believes RPI will win the ECAC tourney and guarantee a NCAA bid? Not me but I still think RPI can get into the tourney despite not being the best in the ECAC by winning and winning often.

I have faith in the lads but why or why does it have to be Colgate? This could be similar to what RPI did last year against Brown. Still, playoff preview will be up and running later this week. As always Go Red Go White!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Is It Finally Friday?

I swear, these last few weeks of the ECAC season always tucker me out! After so many ECAC games you start to itch for the playoffs. C'mon already! you might say to yourself.

These are my addled thoughts as RPI hosts Princeton and Q (I can never spell that school's name correctly) for the final weekend of ECAC play. Where does RPI sit as it enters this last weekend?

RPI is tied for 11th in Moy's PairWise Rankings and in the tourney. More immediately, RPI sits 5th in the ECAC, one point out of a tie for third and only one point up on Princeton. Clearly, there is much to play for. Win and RPI possibly has home ice advantage throughout the playoffs. Win and RPI solidifies its case for an UNbelievable NCAA bid.

The old adage is "win and your in" and RPI has to sweep to keep their momentum going. While I want a sweep, I think this weekend has "split" written all over it. We will see what the lads are made of in the ECAC playoffs. Go White!

ECAC picks, you know USCHO has em!

Princeton at Rensselaer — 7:00

Princeton rolled through a 14–3–1 run midway through the season, but has only won once since (1–4–1). RPI had a 14–3–2 stretch around the same time (in which a win against Princeton was the final W of the streak), but is 1–3–0 since. Odd... very odd. What’s even more gutting for the Engineers is that of those three recent losses, two were at home, after only sustaining a single home defeat in the previous 13 contests at the Houston Field House. The Tigers are 7–2–0 on the road this year, and while ‘Tute fans may disparage me for it, I’m picking this game as my big upset of the week: 3–2 Princeton.

Quinnipiac at Rensselaer — 7:00

Even if the Engineers should lose Friday, they’ll likely still be in the mix for the final bye come Saturday. QU is merely playing to maintain its position, not improve it. I’ll take the slightly more driven home team, 4–2.

Read more:

Friday, February 18, 2011

North Country Swang

Okie dokie Rippee, well that was quite the weekend last weekend eh? RPI always plays terrible against the C schools, even in their down years. The other tried and true struggles for the Cherry and White have come against their North Country brethren.

This year, the NC schools are tracking the C schools and are having a down year with Clarkson barely at .500 and St.L mired near the bottom of the basement. RPI, meanwhile is 1 point out of the coveted 4th slot, having traded spaces with Cornell last weekend.

While every weekend is "crucial" this weekend is really a make or break it type of weekend. RPI almost singlehandedly killed their national hopes with last weekend and NEED to get back on the ball with two strong showings against these teams. Since they are playing the weaker of the schools in St.L to start off the weekend, one hopes that they "fatten up" and then use that momentum (since they clearly are a momentum team) and beat up on Clarkson (who, I have been told one minute ago, still sucks).

So, I am picking that scenario to hold true and am going with the lads to sweep. However they do, Go Red!

As always, here are USCHO's picks:

Rensselaer at St. Lawrence — 7:00

RPI took the business end of a boot last weekend, and needs to bounce back tout suite if they hope to pull out a first-round bye. SLU has been inconsistent lately as far as the offensive and defensive results go, and they haven’t manufactured consecutive wins since the first week in January. It’s not a good time for the Capital District to come to town, in any case. 4–2 Engineers in this one.

Rensselaer at Clarkson — 7:00

This game falls under the immense “will the dangerous but inconsistent home team (in this case, ‘Tech) nip the visiting favorite” category. I hate this category, and (or perhaps because) it covers about 80 percent of the league’s schedule, somehow. You know what? To heck with it. I’m taking the favorite. I have a record to worry about. RPI, 4–2.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


What can you say about a weekend like that? 2 losses to teams allegedly "beneath" RPI. The resulting losses dropped RPI dangerously close to missing automatic NCAA seeding via the Pair Wise rankings. The losses also puts RPI in danger for not having a first round bye.

In other words, things change quickly in the ECAC. Gee, doesn't this sound like a broken record over the last few years? RPI starts out eh, gets on a streak, destiny in their hands and then they go down over the last few weeks of the ECAC and stumble their way to an ECAC playoff loss.

This team is supposedly different. This team has won differently then the past. We need this team to play differently in the future. The season has had TOO much promise, TOO many advances. Never retreat, always Cherry and White! C'mon lads!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Winding Down? Hardly, Winding UP!

USCHO's ECAC blog is entitled "Peeking at the big picture as ECAC Hockey play winds down". Winding down? For RPI hockey in seasons past I would agree with this sentiment. Not now though, not now.

RPI fans are jazzed up. The team is high in the national rankings (but most importantly the Pairwise Rankings) and is up near the top of the table in the ECAC. This weekend, the Cherry and White host the dreaded C's schools. Dreaded in that RPI NEVER seems to play well against them, even in this "up" year, disaster loomed in the Central New York swing and I think the Colgate/Cornell buses coming into Houston could be bringing more trouble.

As has been detailed in this blog before, Colgate is one of the worst teams in the ECAC this year and RPI gets them first to kick off the weekend. Of course, it was 'Gate that took RPI almost all the way with RPI winning in overtime. Cornell was a different matter, smacking RPI all around Ithaca 5-1 in their last meeting.

I think that RPI can use this current win streak (6-0-1) to beat up on 'Gate and then get them ready to roll over Cornell. However, as many of you readers know, RPI Hockey. Blogspot. Com is a realist RPI blog and I think RPI walks away with a split this weekend. Respectable for sure and keeps them alive in all the important rankings and races.

As always, here are USCHO's picks.

Colgate at Rensselaer — 7:00

Colgate finally escaped The Brown Rule in downing Clarkson last weekend, but the Raiders will have their hands full in Troy. RPI has been a big cherry beast at the Field House, and I anticipate that they will continue to be so against ‘Gate. 4–2 Engineers.

Cornell at Rensselaer — 3:30

If Cornell-Union was Friday’s big game, this is Saturday’s. RPI is on a seven-game unbeaten streak entering the weekend (6–0–1), and — with Yale and cross-town Union — is one of the toughest road games in the league. Will the Big Red fall twice in a weekend? I can only say that RPI is one of the top three teams to beat in the league; Cornell is not quite there yet. 4–3 ‘Tute.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Another Weekend Another Win

It it getting old hat?

The wins keep piling up for RPI coming away this weekend with a 1-0-1 record. Of course, Cherry And White nation is holding its breath regarding York who was injured and did not return during the Q game. Certainly, Merriman played well in relief and had an impressive save percentage on Saturday against Princeton.

Still this team rises and falls on three players. Chase, who is in the Hobey Baker hunt, Tyler who is a point machine (2 points this weekend) and Allen who has stood on his head, kept the team in games they had no business being in and keeping teams close in high scoring affairs.

Yes, there are other players on this team. There IS a defense (you wouldn't know it reading this blog). Still I dare say RPI would be nowhere close in the national rankings and/or the ECAC without these three.

Still, hockey is a team game and this team is playing great. Bring on the weekend!

Friday, February 04, 2011

Keep On Truckin

Oh the road. Always considered the true test of a team, the road offers hostile fans, tiredness due to traveling and other distractions that cause good teams to go South.

Am I worried about RPI given what has happened the last few weekends (to recap, win streak, national rankings, overjoyed fan base)? Not really. Still, in the back of my mind, I look back at the C and C games, then look at all of this recent success coming at home and I still have question marks.

Those questions can easily be answered tonight and tomorrow as RPI visits the Q as well as Princeton. There is a lot to be said for momentum and RPI has that in spades. I see them rolling over both teams this weekend solidifying a bye in the ECAC's and more importantly (from a historical perspective) shoring up a spot in the NCAA's! Go White!

As always, here are USCHO's picks:

Rensselaer at Quinnipiac — 7:00

While RPI will surely be the popular pick — especially in light of yesterday’s column — QU isn’t exactly folding up shop: The Bobcats are 5–1–3 in their last nine and are looking to solidify a home-ice spot in the first round of the upcoming playoffs. That said, many of the Q-Cats’ wins are of the 3–2 variety, whereas the Engineers have pinned five goals on foes in three of their last seven games. RPI in a squeaker, 3–2.

Rensselaer at Princeton — 4:00

This is the difficulty of picking games: I’d be stunned if Princeton got swept at home, but individually, I think Union and RPI hold edges over the Garden Staters. I suppose all I can do is fall back on my old line — prove me wrong, Tigers. 4–3 RPI.