Friday, October 21, 2011

The Rare One Off

College Hockey really tries to keep the "student" in student-athlete by scheduling games on Fridays and Saturdays and often minimizes travel by having travel partners (at least in the ECAC). When you come to play RPI, you play them and then Union or RPI even twice. The past 2 weekends, RPI has played their opponents twice whether traveling or hosting but tonight is a weirdo one.

What can only be the result of backroom negotiations when both sides were not getting enough sleep, RPI is traveling all the way to Notre Dame for one game this Friday night. It is ND's only game of the "weekend" as well. 

Right now ND is outscoring their opponents 16-13 but have started slowly out of the gate at 2-2. Part of this reason seems to be on the penalty kill where they are only killing 79% of the penalties and that is a place where RPI can take advantage.

They are also only outshooting opponents by 1 shot so given RPI's recent lack of shots, this is good news as the game may be close.

I harbor no illusions, RPI has not played well the first 4 games and ND is a national power over the last few years despite the middling start. I expect RPI to lose this one but lose it "well" 2-1.

As always, here is USCHO's take on the game.

Rensselaer at Notre Dame (Friday)
Brian: The Irish split at champion Minnesota-Duluth to open the season, but split at home with Ohio State last weekend. RPI, of course, split with Minnesota State two weeks ago before dropping consecutive shutouts at Ferris State. Getting blanked in three of four games is bad, but having players like Brock Higgs, Marty O'Grady and Greg Burgdoerfer still on the shelf is worse. At least the Engineers are playing well defensively, and can reasonably hope for an improvement in fortunes when they return. Not feeling too optimistic in this matchup, though.
ND, 3-1
Josh: This is not the ideal situation for an Engineers team that's limping in off a two-loss weekend against Ferris State. They have to travel back to the heartland and be "the other team" when the Fighting Irish open up their new rink, the Compton Family Ice Arena. Rensselaer was taken to school on several fronts against the Bulldogs - it is imperative that the Engineers find some offense after being shut out twice consecutively. The energy surrounding the Papal Gold and Madonna Blue will probably be just too much to overcome on Friday night.
Notre Dame 3-1

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