Tuesday, November 23, 2010

RPI Holiday Tournament, By The Numbers

Want to know how much RPI should be favored in this tournament? Just look at how the numbers break down by national ranking.

Team Offense (goals per game)
35. UConn - 2.60
39. RPI - 2.55
55. Bowling Green - 2.07
56. Alabama-Huntsville - 2.00

Team Defense (GAA)
1. RPI - 1.82
40. Bowling Green - 3.36
51. UConn - 3.60
56. Alabama-Huntsville - 4.25

Power Play
11. Alabama-Huntsville - 23.1% (15/65)
31. RPI - 16.9% (11/65)
33. UConn - 16.3% (8/49)
56. Bowling Green - 7.2% (5/69)

Penalty Kill
17. UConn - 86.3% (44/51)
31. RPI - 82.5% (52/63)
44. Alabama-Huntsville 76.8% (53/69)
48. Bowling Green - 75.9% (63/83)

Those are some pretty weak offenses - not that RPI's offense is terribly decent, but the defensive advantage that they hold should be enough to stifle the other offenses in the tournament, at least enough to score a few goals. The team the Engineers face on Saturday is going to have an especially anemic offense.

What RPI should be keeping an eye on during this tournament is the showdown in New Haven next Friday. As we mentioned yesterday, the hype with Yale is the nation's best offense, but RPI counters with the nation's best defense (at least, for now). The game may well revolve around how well the Engineers' fair offense manages Yale's mediocre defense. RPI has to learn how to score on mediocre defenses, and this weekend's games will certainly provide the opportunity to practice.

This may be the weekend when we finally see Bryce Merriam get some action between the pipes as well, to help ensure that Allen York is healthy for a key ECAC road weekend.

There's no reason to be sitting back, though. We've seen the Engineers facing some weak tournament fields in the past only to come up empty. UConn tied #10 Maine and #13 Union earlier this year. Bowling Green has a victory over #11 Notre Dame. Alabama-Huntsville has only one victory this season, but it was against #20 Ferris State. RPI needs to be on high alert for the letdown upset this weekend.

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