Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Men's Hockey - at Bentley/New Hampshire (20/24 Nov)

Another weekend, another couple of wins for an RPI team that is certainly on more than a little bit of a roll - although neither win came easy. On the road against Bentley and at home against New Hampshire on Friday and Tuesday nights respectively, the Engineers jumped out to 3-0 leads twice but ultimately needed to rally in the third period twice as well on their way to 3-2 and 4-3 victories that extended their unbeaten streak to eight in a row - their longest unbeaten streak since the 1998-99 season.

Ohrvall, Rodriguez



Alex Rodriguez made his collegiate debut on Friday at one of the smallest rinks in all of college hockey, replacing Lonnie Clary in the lineup. As with the previous weekend, Jason Kasdorf was available as a potential injury backup for Cam Hackett, but he ultimately did not play in either game the Engineers had over the five day period.

RPI's increasingly vaunted "M-N-M" line of Mark Miller, Lou Nanne, and Drew Melanson provided the spark and energy for the Engineers' offense throughout their first visit to Bentley, but specifically powered things during the first period, picking up two big goals to give the visitors the early edge. Nanne scored his third goal of the season with a helper from Melanson at 8:41 to put RPI ahead 1-0, and Miller added to that lead with a tally from Melanson at 17:44 of the period, his fourth goal of the year.

Meanwhile, the RPI penalty kill kept the Falcons held down during the opening 20 minutes, successfully killing off a pair of penalties to preserve the 2-0 lead. Then, midway through the second, Mike Prapavessis struck with his first goal of the season, putting back a rebound off a shot by Zach Schroeder, giving the Engineers a crucial 3-0 edge.

That's roughly the time when the tide began to shift in Bentley's favor. The home side, led by a line of Andrew Gladiuk, Max French, and Kyle Schmidt, pushed back fiercely. Hackett held up for much of the middle period, making a game-high 13 saves, but did let one by during a 4-on-4 counter-attack from the Falcons as Jake Ahlgren's goal got Bentley on the board.

Bentley's top line converted for a tally at 6:44 of the third period to really tighten the game up, but that was as close as the Falcons would get. Another 11 saves by Hackett in the third contributed to a 31-for-33 night for the freshman netminder, and RPI's defense dug deep late to come away with the victory against a very tenacious Bentley squad.

Riley Bourbonnais had a six-game point scoring streak snapped by missing the scoresheet against the Falcons, but he remained in the team lead for goals and points.

New Hampshire



Milos Bubela returned to the lineup for the first time in nearly a month since suffering an injury against Union, allowing RPI to field the usual 12x6 lineup that most teams roll with. Functionally, he replaced Tommy Grant in the lineup, and three of the four forward lines were juggled a bit to accommodate for his return.

Prapavessis got the Engineers off to a quick start with his second goal of the year, second in as many games, and second RPI goal in a row by getting a shot from the point through everyone at 2:54 of the first period, just after intercepting a weak clearance attempt by UNH. The unassisted goal made it 1-0 RPI for the sixth time in the last eight contests.

Early in the second period, Melanson scored his second goal of the year by slamming home a rebound off a shots by both of his linemates, beating UNH netminder Danny Tirone into an open net for the 2-0 edge at 5:49 of the second. Just over three minutes later, shortly after killing off a dangerous UNH power play, Bourbonnais got himself back onto the scoresheet. With the Wildcats playing relatively lax defense and Bourbonnais himself fresh out of the penalty box, he slipped behind the UNH D and took a feed from Jake Wood, pounding it home for his team-leading 7th goal of the season and putting the Engineers ahead 3-0 for the second time in as many contests.

But that edge did not last long - much of it evaporated minutes later due to a poor hit by senior Milos Bubela, who was called for elbowing in the defensive zone. On the delayed call, UNH's Andrew Poturalski went to work. tipping home a shot from the point to put the Wildcats on the board before going back on the power play. Poturalski scored again on the ensuing man advantage less than a minute later, and just like that, the 3-0 lead was only 3-2.

Poturalski completed the natural hat trick just 1:04 into the third period, tying things up with his nation-leading 11th goal of the season, almost single-handedly knotting things back up with three goals in less than 10 minutes of game time. But as we've seen with RPI this season, losing a lead in the third period was not a time for giving up, and the Engineers fought valiantly in the final period, eventually cashing in with just 4:01 remaining in regulation. A good forecheck by Alex Rodriguez, playing in just his second collegiate game, provided a measure for Parker Reno to move up and keep the puck in the attacking zone. A quick feed to Travis Fulton produced a shot that Rodriguez deftly deflected past Tirone to give RPI a 4-3 lead.

From there, UNH looked for opportunities to give themselves that crucial 6-on-5 edge, but the Engineers displayed calm, level-headed defense by maintaining puck possession to an extent that the Wildcats were really never able to pull Tirone from the net, and the game ended with the puck down in the UNH end, where it had been for much of the final two minutes of the game, and the Engineers prevailed, skating off without being on the losing side for the eighth consecutive contest.

The emergence of Rodriguez on the fourth-line tempers slightly the loss of Evan Tironese, who on Monday underwent shoulder surgery and will be lost for the rest of the season. The freshman appeared in only six games this year, and as we have yet to reach the midway point of the season, he should be eligible for a medical redshirt, which will make him a redshirt freshman next year, a silver lining to some bad news for the Engineers.

The eight-game unbeaten streak is now the longest of the Appert era, and the longest overall since a nine-game winning streak in the 1998-99 season. They will look to extend that streak this coming weekend as they travel to Notre Dame for the annual Shillelagh Tournament. On Friday, they take on Ben Barr and the Western Michigan Broncos, a team that has struggled at times to keep the puck out of the net. On Saturday, they face off with a nationally-ranked team no matter who it ends up being, as #18 Notre Dame or #8 Harvard will be the opponent.

In ECAC play while RPI was in non-conference action, much of the league played the games in hand they had over the Engineers (except for Clarkson and St. Lawrence, which still have one game in hand), and RPI remains in first place, albeit now tied with Quinnipiac, who drew with the Golden Knights and Saints for their first blemishes on their record (though still undefeated). RPI returns to ECAC play in two weeks' time against Dartmouth and Harvard at home, closing out the 2015 portion of their league schedule.

Current ECAC Standings
1. Quinnipiac - 10 pts (4-0-2)
2. RPI - 10 pts (4-0-2)
3. Harvard - 9 pts (4-1-1)
4. Cornell - 9 pts (4-1-1)
5. Yale - 8 pts (3-1-2)
6. St. Lawrence - 7 pts (3-1-1)
7. Brown - 4 pts (1-3-2)
8. Dartmouth - 4 pts (2-4-0)
9. Colgate - 3 pts (1-4-1)
10. Clarkson - 2 pts (0-3-2)
11. Union - 2 pts (1-5-0)
12. Princeton - 2 pts (1-5-0)

By winning percentage
1. Quinnipiac (.833)
2. RPI (.833)
3. Harvard (.750)
4. Cornell (.750)
5. St. Lawrence (.700)
6. Yale (.667)
7. Brown (.333)
8. Dartmouth (.333)
9. Colgate (.250)
10. Clarkson (.200)
11. Union (.167)
12. Princeton (.167)

RPI at Bentley
Non-conference Game - John A. Ryan Skating Arena (Watertown, MA)
11/20/15 - 7:00pm

RESULT: RPI 3, Bentley 2

RECORD: 6-4-2 (4-0-2 ECAC, 10 pts)

New Hampshire at RPI
Non-conference Game - Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
11/24/15 - 7:00pm

RESULT: RPI 4, New Hampshire 3

RECORD: 7-4-2 (4-0-2 ECAC, 10 pts)

Upcoming games
27 Nov - vs. Western Michigan (South Bend, IN)
28 Nov - at #18 Notre Dame/vs. #8 Harvard (South Bend, IN)
04 Dec - Dartmouth
05 Dec - #8 Harvard
11 Dec - Arizona State

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Rigged Game

College hockey has a remarkable ebb and flow to it, historically. Ten years ago, it seemed like nothing could ever stop the WCHA. From 2000 to 2006, the conference won the national title six times. From 1994 through 2010, there were no first-time national champions.

And now look at things. Since 2007, just one WCHA crown (and in modern terms, one Big Ten and one NCHC national championship). Since 2011, four of five national champions have been first-timers. And they're from places you wouldn't expect. Yale. Union. Providence. Your last three in a row, none of which were highly fancied at the beginning of their seasons.

Welcome to the new landscape of college hockey. It's all part and parcel of a history that created nationally recognizable programs in places like Colorado College and Clarkson and, until a couple of years ago, a highly insular structure with no national conferences to speak of.

And then along came the Big Ten.

"Men’s ice hockey is slightly more important to the Big Ten Network’s revenue stream than women’s field hockey, yet the conference was willing to blow up college hockey for a few hours of auxiliary programming," writes Patrick Reusse of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune this week. It's a perfect breakdown of why the hockey version of the Big Ten came into being, and what it did to the college hockey landscape. It was about programming for a conference television network focused on football and basketball, but needing other attractions to really make it tick. And it completely unraveled the long-standing order of things, especially out west.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the Big Ten bigfooting the rest of college hockey. It didn't.

For a small conference - the smallest member-wise in college hockey - the Big Ten outpunches its size. Its six member schools have combined to win 23 national championships, more than any other conference (17 for the NCHC, 13 for Hockey East, 8 for the WCHA, 7 for the ECAC). But that's an accounting of the past, and this is now.

In its first season, the Big Ten did earn two of the #1 seedings in the NCAA tournament. But last year, its champion - Minnesota - could only manage a #3 seed, and the Gophers were the only Big Ten entrant, unceremoniously dumped by Minnesota-Duluth in the first round. Wisconsin labored last season as one of the worst teams in the nation, and this year, the entire conference outside of Michigan and Penn State is slouching out of the gate with pretty rough records.

So where's the problem? How did big money Minnesota, with its 10,000 seat arena and regional TV contract get embarrassed on national television in 2014 by a small liberal arts school in Upstate New York that plays its home games in a tea cup?

The answer lies heavily in the difference in the way Union and many small schools have been recruiting. If you've been paying close enough attention, the recent Frozen Four appearances by Bemidji State, RIT, Ferris State, and Union should not be blowing your mind. They're instructive instead. These schools don't grab the blue-chip prospects ready for college hockey when they turn 18. Those players go to Boston University (like Jack Eichel), or Michigan (like Dylan Larkin), or Wisconsin (like Nic Kerdiles). And they don't go there very long. Eichel and Larkin left after their freshman years, Kerdiles after his sophomore year.

No, Union built a national championship on the backs of older players who developed longer in junior hockey. Guys that were more experienced as freshmen at the age of 20 or 21 than even those blue-chippers. The next first-round draft pick may not be coming to play for Quinnipiac, but they'll gladly live with bringing in an older player who's going to be around for four years - and potentially playing as seniors at the age of 24 and 25. It's a great equalizer.

And the Big Ten has decided that it isn't fair.  (If you haven't read the story yet, click the link. Adam Wodon of College Hockey News breaks it down very well.)

Their solution? Without consulting the rest of the college hockey world at the annual meeting in Naples, FL, they decided instead to unilaterally submit legislation to be voted on by the NCAA - which they can do because they're the only "all sports conference" in college hockey - that would reduce the age limit before recruits will lose eligibility from 21 to 20.

The big, bad Big Ten needs the playing field leveled against those piteous little upstarts in Canton, NY and Duluth, MN, don't you see? It's just not fair.

Now, hockey does differ from most NCAA sports in the average age of freshmen, but it differs from most NCAA sports in a lot of other ways, too. Major league draftees don't lose eligibility. The aforementioned lack of "all sports conferences." The season length is longer. And of course, the sheer number of "play-up" teams. These are all by-products of college hockey's long-term niche presence and the nature of youth and junior hockey structures.

The Big Ten's excuse for all of this is that they're simply trying to bring hockey closer to being in line with the rest of the NCAA, even though it would be completely unacceptable to require recruits to be on campus immediately after they graduate high school. And why is that? What's the rationale?

We wrote five years ago about the recruiting game and how the NHL was changing things. The NCAA is becoming an ever increasing route for players to reach the pros - more than 30% of NHL players are NCAA alums now, as opposed to just over 20% a decade ago, and far less a decade before that. There was a time that even the very best players would stay for their entire four-year college career before jumping to the NHL. Today, pro contracts can frequently be in the offing even for guys that aren't likely to get a whole lot of ice time at the highest level, to say nothing of the blue-chip prospects.

Ironically, when we wrote that, we were expecting Brandon Pirri and Jerry D'Amigo to return to Troy for their sophomore seasons - and they didn't. So schools like RPI aren't looking for the Pirris and D'Amigos anymore. They're looking for the Chase Polaceks and Nick Bailens. It's the Mat Bodies and Jesse Roots of the world that are winning national championships. It's guys that are staying in college, finishing their education, and playing for four years that are powering the best teams in the country.

Most players who are playing in juniors into their early 20s aren't going to be NHL prospects - if they were, they'd have been pushed to college already, or headed off to major junior. But these players are also far more likely to graduate one day - which is supposed to be the point first and foremost.

Now, does this proposal explode the system? Not entirely. Players are still going to be able to mature in juniors for a couple of seasons before coming to college. But it stinks for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the underhanded way the Big Ten went about doing this. They are trying to ram it through with a vote among college administrators of whom a majority doesn't care a lick about hockey (which should sound familiar if you remember the Prop 65 battle a decade ago). They're doing it over the protestations of the vast majority of college hockey coaches (who opposed the measure 49-11 in a straw poll of all 60 of them), and probably worst of all, it skews things more in the favor of the schools that already have a lot of the advantages when it comes to recruiting in the first place.

Yes, these same institutions who don't bat an eye at accepting the commitment of players not even old enough to drive - and sometimes not even old enough to be in high school - have a problem with RIT stocking their roster with 21-year-old Canadian freshmen. Hear that? That's the sound of the world's tiniest violin. Getting beat by 24 and 25 year olds? Why don't you recruit some 20 and 21 year old freshmen yourself? Seems reasonable enough. Instead of adapting, however, these schools just want to rig the game in their favor instead.

College hockey continues to change. Beyond the Big Ten, it started changing again last year when Arizona State decided to go varsity, a move which could well encourage more big money schools to do the same in parts of the country previously untouched by college hockey. It's good for the sport. But it brings with it the challenge of maintaining traditions. I always love to point out the 1996 national championship game between Michigan and Colorado College as a perfect example of what makes college hockey special - in any other sport, the Wolverines would easily crush the Tigers, but in hockey, the titan and the minnow can meet on equal terms. Perhaps the 2014 title game is an even better example - the minnow won.

But we risk losing that if legislation like this is allowed to go through, especially in the manner that the power schools are trying to accomplish it. And that would be a complete shame.

Friday, November 20, 2015

An Odd Weekend

Yes, it's an odd weekend of hockey. Non-conference stuff in the middle of November tends to be that way.

Tonight, it's a one-night stand for the men in the Boston suburbs as they get ready for a payback game with Bentley. Let's be honest. Bentley didn't just beat the Engineers twice in Troy last year. They embarrassed them - although some of that was on RPI for embarrassing themselves in their own building. What better time to head down to give the Falcons a home game than to show off how much has changed in the last year-plus since these teams last met? RPI rides a six-game unbeaten streak heading into this weekend, and as mentioned last week, this is a game that a team that fancies itself a contender in the ECAC needs to win. Bentley's certainly not a pushover, though, so bear that in mind.

On Sunday afternoon, the women head north of the border for the first time to clash with the McGill Martinets. It's an exhibition till, so the results are ultimately irrelevant, but hopefully it's a great experience for the Engineers, an opportunity to try out new ideas and new line combinations in a competitive game before they head back into a four-game homestand, including the last chunk of their ECAC schedule for 2015.

Finally, on Tuesday, it's New Hampshire for the men. Tuesday games are old hat for the Wildcats (they usually play a few of them in Hockey East play), but they're more infrequent for RPI. UNH isn't off to a great start and they're having a hard time keeping the puck out of the net. At home, the Engineers might even be the favorites. So there it is. Another pair of games ripe for the picking for an RPI team that is starting to get a little healthier, too. Can they extend the unbeaten streak to seven and eight?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Brown Experiences the Tute Screw

So this is what it feels like to be on the other end of the screwjob.

As we said on Sunday morning, it still feels kind of hollow, but doesn't hurt nearly as much. Go ahead. You can admit it to yourselves. RPI got away with one, stealing a point from Brown like a thief in the night, due to a bad call and perhaps divine intervention - a malfunctioning replay system.

We're not going to sit here and dissect this one. We did this last year at this time, and it was directly related to how the use of replay and breaking down replay. Getting the call wrong when you've got access to replay is simply ridiculous.

But the referees on Saturday night, for whatever reason, did not have access to replay. They got the call wrong - but not egregiously wrong, even though a look at the overhead pretty quickly confirms that it was a goal. Nobody interfering with the netminder. Nobody in the crease. Net was on its moorings when the puck crossed the line, and clearly it was in well before the whistle. It would have been kind of an "own goal" if it had counted, but those are still good goals.

A lot was happening all at once. A player ended up in the net and the net was dislodged as a number of players were crashing. The puck was clearly not in sight of the officials. Plays like that, sometimes, you're going to get the call wrong on the ice. That's all that happened. And under normal circumstances, you'd just go to the replay and get the call right.

There's still plenty that the league needs to do on officiating - the seemingly arbitrary nature of what constitutes a penalty at times is maddening, and it even reared its ugly head during the overtime period against Brown. Seconds before Riley Bourbonnais was called for a seriously weak elbowing call in the extra session, the Bears arguably got away with an interference call that created a 2-on-1 and a scoring opportunity when Parker Reno was taken down between his man and the puck. Not calling it because it's overtime? That's fine. That's possibly even preferable. So why was the call made on Bourbonnais (as seen in the same link)?

Bourbonnais, as time was about to expire in regulation, laid a nice open-ice check on Tyler Bird along the Brown blueline that left the Bears defenseman resting on one knee for a short time. I'd bet anything that the weak call on Bourbonnais in overtime was because Bird didn't pop back up right away, even on a pretty clearly legal hit. This whole "carry over" or "make up" call thing has got to stop. Mess a call up? Move on.

And let's be real for a moment here, too. If this replay malfunction had happened at practically any other rink in the ECAC, the game's post mortem would have read something like this: "RPI argued that they had scored in the extra session, but a malfunction of the replay system in Providence made it unclear whether they had scored or not, and the officials stuck with their initial call on the ice."

It's only because RPI TV does a superior job with their broadcasts and their camera work - which now includes in-net cameras - that we know for a fact that the Bears were screwed over. Brown goaltender Tim Ernst wouldn't have been making sarcastic tweets at the ECAC (since, wisely, deleted) about the play if RPI TV didn't have a high-definition camera over the goal that they could use to let the rest of the world see the replay. That should be a point of pride - and even more so that it's free to the public to watch this outstanding broadcast. If you watch this broadcast regularly, please, make a donation to their cause.

Yeah, if the shoe was on the other foot, we'd be livid, and Brown has every right to be livid. But this is something out of everyone's control. Technology is great when it works, but it's not foolproof. The officials did the right thing. They went to the video tape. It wasn't there. So they huddled. And they got the call wrong. We can be as upset as we want at bad officiating, but there's an allowance for human error, especially when the technology fails.

Some have used this incident to complain that there needs to be a backup available. How? And more importantly, why? When was the last time we heard about this being an issue? 99 times out of 100, they go to the video system, and it's there ready to be used. It's the officials' job before games to make sure that the replay system is functioning. If it was working before the game and they checked, it's a blameless problem. If it wasn't and they didn't check, it's totally on them. But this doesn't happen frequently enough to require schools that have already had to invest in a replay system to also invest in something additional - like having something like RPI TV ready and able to show a replay.

It sucks to lose a point this way, yes. But from our perspective, it sucks to gain a point this way, too. If you want everything to be above board, you have to admit when you've been the beneficiary of the screwjob just as much as you'd complain about it when you're in Brown's position. But we were the beneficiaries.

And now, we move on - the screwjob balance tipped slightly back in our favor for a change. Sorry, Bears. We may not be elephants, but we have a long memory.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Men's Hockey - Yale & Brown (13/14 Nov)

The Engineers are continuing to find ways to pick up league points even without some of their most important players. Sometimes, as with their 3-2 overtime win over nationally-ranked Yale on Friday, it came down to grit, determination, and some superb individual efforts. Others, as with their 3-3 draw with Brown on Saturday, it could be chalked up to refusing to quit and a bit of just plain old dumb luck.

Ohrvall, Clary



With Milos Bubela and Evan Tironese still out, RPI rolled with the same 11x7 lineup they had put out against St. Lawrence. Jason Kasdorf remained sidelined with the injury he picked up against Clarkson the previous weekend, but he did dress and was available in an emergency capacity, suggesting that his injury should not have him on the shelf for much longer.

RPI had to be the ones setting the tone if they were to have any hope of ending their four-game losing streak against the Bulldogs, and they did that with a goal on their second shift of the game. Mark Miller, fresh off the OT winner against St. Lawrence, notched his third of the year on a shot from the top of the slot to give RPI the early 1-0 advantage as the "M-N-M" line showed flashes of the efficiency that they would show throughout the contest as the top line for the Engineers on the evening.

Yale tied things up five and a half minutes later on a goal by Ryan Hitchcock during a delayed penalty to Meirs Moore as Hitchcock pulled the puck free off the trip by Moore and just worked it straight toward the net and hammered it to Cam Hackett's right.

The Engineers regained the lead in the second period, seconds after a penalty to Jake Wood expired. Riley Bourbonnais picked the puck out of the corner of the Yale zone and zipped it up to Parker Reno, who had plenty of space at the point. Reno ripped a shot that was deflected by Lou Nanne in front, beating Alex Lyon top shelf, giving RPI a 2-1 lead.

That lead held up well into the third period, when Yale evened things once again, this time on the power play. With just under 10 minutes left in regulation, freshman Andrew Gaus netted his first collegiate goal by picking up a rebound behind Hackett from a shot by Stu Wilson, knotting the game at two. Both teams had power play opportunities late, but neither were able to capitalize, and it was off to overtime once again for RPI.

Yale put together a fairly dominating performance early in overtime, forcing Hackett to make one quality save to keep the Engineers in the game, and keeping the RPI defense on its toes for much of the extra period. But a strong counter-attack started by a diving stab by Reno to not only clear the puck but get it to Viktor Liljegren allowed the Swedish sophomore to make a rush up the boards, finishing it with a cut to the net and a lofted shot up over Lyon's shoulder, securing a 3-2 victory for the Engineers.

Hackett finished with 41 saves for the Engineers, giving him 78 across his first two games, both wins, combined - certainly a phenomenal start to his collegiate career.

Ohrvall, Clary



For the third straight outing, RPI fielded the same 11x7 lineup with Hackett between the pipes. Brown was coming off their first positive result of the season, a 3-2 come-from-behind overtime victory at Union the previous night.

As has frequently been the case for the Engineers across the last couple of decades, a bit of a letdown was in order off a big win as RPI again seemed to play to the level of their competition, especially in the first period which has frequently been a strong period for them. Outside of a single power play opportunity against which the Engineers unleashed 7 shots in two minutes against a hapless (this is actually a correct usage of the word hapless) Brown penalty kill which was dead last in the nation coming into the game, RPI mustered just five shots in the opening period.

Brown cashed in on their own power play opportunity late in the first, as freshman Tommy Marchin scored with 36 seconds left to make it 1-0 Brown at the first intermission.

The Engineers got two more power play chances in the second period, and again, they produced plenty of scoring opportunities but no goals throughout their second and most of their third power play chances, but Bourbonnais finally broke through late in the third power play to put RPI on the board 12:06 into the second period. RPI looked close to scoring again late in the second, but couldn't put one home.

Any thoughts that the Engineers could take their late-period momentum and turn it into an advantage in the third went out the window almost immediately. Nick Lappin scored just 27 seconds into the third to put Brown up 2-1, and then Lappin scored again on the power play just 2:02 later to put the Bears up 3-1 and put RPI into a serious hole.

But RPI did not back down, digging in for a second straight Saturday and finding a way to pull back into things. A shot by Jared Wilson three minutes later was redirected in by Kenny Gillespie, halving the Brown lead, and RPI was all the way back four minutes after that with a goal by Zach Schroeder while Bears netminder Tim Ernst was being screened by his own man, tying the game at three.

A lackluster finish led into RPI's fourth consecutive overtime game - the first time that's happened since five in a row in February 1992. That period featured some good end-to-end action until a fairly weak elbowing call against Bourbonnais - possibly called as a make-up call after a strong hit at the end of regulation went (reasonably) uncalled - put Brown on an overtime power play that with 2:21 left.

In the final minute of the game, a Brown shot from the slot was saved by Hackett, but the rebound trickled behind him into the crease. Schroeder rushed over to try and clear it, but his poke-check sent the puck caroming off Hackett and toward the net, which Schroeder was crashing into. Waved off on the ice, the puck was found under Schroeder and in the net once play was stopped. The referees went to have it reviewed, but the replay system malfunctioned, and the initial call on the ice of no goal was upheld despite RPI TV replays fairly clearly showing what should have been a good goal.

Let off the hook by crook, RPI killed the remaining power play time and even had a good possession in the Brown end to conclude the game, but they were unable to pull off the ultimate robbery by putting one in on the other end, and the contest ended in a 3-3 tie. Regardless of the controversial ending, it was the sixth straight game without a loss for the Engineers, representing the team's best unbeaten streak to start the ECAC schedule since the early 1970s, and it leaves them in first place three weeks into the season - although most teams will play their games in hand this coming weekend while RPI heads back into non-conference mode.

Cam Hackett picked up ECAC Rookie of the Week honors for his heroics in leading RPI to their second-straight three point weekend.

Current ECAC Standings
1. RPI - 10 pts (4-0-2)
2. Harvard - 9 pts (4-1-1)
3. Quinnipiac - 8 pts (4-0-0)
4. Cornell - 6 pts (3-1-0)
5. Yale - 5 pts (2-1-1)
6. St. Lawrence - 4 pts (2-1-0)
7. Dartmouth - 4 pts (2-4-0)
8. Brown - 3 pts (1-2-1)
9. Colgate - 2 pts (1-3-0)
10. Union - 2 pts (1-5-0)
11. Clarkson - 1 pt (0-2-1)
12. Princeton - 0 pts (0-4-0)

By winning percentage
1. Quinnipiac (1.000)
2. RPI (.833)
3. Cornell (.750)
4. Harvard (.750)
5. St. Lawrence (.667)
6. Yale (.625)
7. Brown (.375)
8. Dartmouth (.333)
9. Colgate (.250)
10. Clarkson (.167)
11. Union (.167)
12. Princeton (.000)

#10 Yale at RPI
ECAC Game - Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
11/13/15 - 7:00pm

RESULT: RPI 3, Yale 2 (OT)

RECORD: 5-4-1 (4-0-1 ECAC, 9 pts)

Brown at RPI
ECAC Game - Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
11/14/15 - 7:00pm

RESULT: RPI 3, Brown 3 (OT)

College Hockey Stats

RECORD: 5-4-2 (4-0-2 ECAC, 10 pts)

Upcoming games
20 Nov - at Bentley
24 Nov - New Hampshire
27 Nov - vs. Western Michigan (South Bend, IN)
28 Nov - at #16 Notre Dame/vs. #8 Harvard (South Bend, IN)
04 Dec - Dartmouth

Monday, November 16, 2015

Women's Hockey - at Dartmouth & Harvard (13/14 Nov)

Coming off a big upset over #4 Clarkson, RPI faced another tough challenge on the road against Dartmouth and #9 Harvard. The trip was not kind to the Engineers, as they were shutout 4-0 by Dartmouth on Friday before dropping a 2-1 decision to Harvard in a hard-fought game Saturday afternoon.





Four different players scored for Dartmouth Friday night as the Big Green shutout RPI 4-0 and outshot the Engineers 39-21. Lovisa Selander made 30 saves for RPI, while Kira Bombay made five more in relief in the game's final minutes.

Lindsey Allen got Dartmouth on the board with a power play tally late in the first, perfectly tipping a point shot from Eleni Tebano past Selander into the top corner of the net.

Kennedy Ottenbreit doubled the lead to 2-0 with Dartmouth's first shorthanded goal of the season in the second period, just 13 seconds into the penalty kill. Ottenbreit broke out 2-on-1 and went wide, electing to keep the puck and fire a shot past Selander.

The Big Green tacked on two more goals in the third period, with Ailish Forfar putting home a rebound off a shot by Allen at 5:19, and Brooke Ahbe redirecting Ottenbreit's pass at the goal mouth to make it 4-0 at 13:53.

Kira Bombay came into the game after the fourth goal for a few mintues in the RPI net, stopping five shots in 6:07 of relief.





After a less than stellar result on Friday, RPI battled Harvard on Saturday with a much better effort but again came up short as Harvard scored the go-ahead goal late in the third to defeat the Engineers 2-1. RPI outshot Harvard 33-27 on the afternoon, but could only solve Emerance Maschmeyer once.

That goal came near the midpoint of the second period, when Taylor Schwalbe poked home a rebound in traffic to put the Engineers up 1-0.

The lead was short-lived as Jessica Harvey tied the game less than two minutes later, redirecting a Briana Mastel shot past Selander.

The teams went into the third period tied at one, but Miye D'Oench put the Crimson on top at 12:51 of the third period after being given a little too much space to work at the top of the crease and picking up a feed from Haley Mullins which she snuck past Selander to make it 2-1.

Selander made a number of big stops in the RPI net, finishing with 25 saves, but in the end was outdueled by Maschmeyer's 32, including a whopping 20 saves in the second period to help stave off an RPI onslaught.

The Engineers have just one game next weekend, a Sunday matinee exhibition against McGill in Montreal, then will return home for a non-conference pair against New Hampshire the weekend after Thanksgiving before one more weekend of league play closes out the 2015 portion of the season.


RPI at Dartmouth
ECAC Hockey Game - Thompson Arena (Hanover, NH)
11/13/15 - 7pm
Dartmouth 4, RPI 0

College Hockey Stats:

Video Highlights:,-nov-13,-2015

RECORD: 4-6-1 (2-2-1 ECAC)


RPI vs. #9 Harvard
ECAC Hockey Game - Bright-Landry Hockey Center
11/14/15 - 4pm
Harvard 2, RPI 1

College Hockey Stats:

Video Highlights:

RECORD: 4-7-1 (2-3-1 ECAC)


Upcoming Schedule

Nov. 22 - at McGill (2pm)
Nov. 27 - New Hampshire (7pm)
Nov. 28 - New Hampshire (4pm)
Dec. 4 - Yale (3pm)
Dec. 5 - Brown (3pm)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Prove It Again

Well, another week has passed, and the Engineers are still tied for first place in the ECAC on the men's side. Huzzah. Now comes the real test on whether they can stay.

Yale is 1-0-1 on the young ECAC season - the RPI has two games in hand over them, but they won both of those games. But the Engineers aren't part of the real discussion just yet. That's because Yale is still unbeaten overall as well (3-0-1) and have looked very good while doing it. The one blemish against the Bulldogs is a tie against Harvard, another team that has looked very, very good (and is in fact tied with RPI for first place). You see the issue by now. Yale and Harvard tying each other, that's no knock on either of them. The Engineers, meanwhile, still need a signature win to join the conversation.

The opportunity presents itself tonight as the #10 Bulldogs come to Troy. When it comes to upsets in the Appert era, Yale has provided more than their share, although the Bulldogs have certainly had RPI's number of late. Yale swept by a combined 9-3 score last year, and 8-2 a year before that. In 2012-13, though, it was 10-2 RPI. The Bulldogs frequently seem to avoid having to face off against Jason Kasdorf - over the last two seasons, only the most recent game came against the Engineers' top netminder. They're likely to avoid him again tonight, although Cam Hackett showed off some skill over the weekend in the North Country. This shouldn't be as easy as it's been in the last couple of seasons.

Tonight's game is a tough one, but Saturday's against Brown has to be one where RPI takes points - probably both - if they want to be taken seriously. Last year, they were swept by the Bears for the first time in almost 20 years. That's a stain that needs to be washed away if they are to prove they're a better team than they were last season. Brown is 0-3 to start the season and they've given up 19 goals in three games - by comparison, RPI has given up 25 in 9. Get it done.

The women face an even more daunting challenge this weekend as they travel to face probably the most difficult back-to-back pairing in the ECAC this season, Dartmouth and Harvard. Their upset win over Clarkson on Saturday last weekend made the loss to St. Lawrence tough to swallow, but it did prove that good goaltending can keep any team in any game long enough to do some damage, and that's exactly what the Engineers got from ECAC Goalie of the Week Lovisa Selander. If she can build on her outstanding weekend, good things are in store going forward for this team. It may not be this weekend, but it'll be soon.

Dropping the beat for this weekend's pumpup.