Monday, February 28, 2011

Men's Hockey - Princeton and Quinnipiac (25/26 Feb)

Coming into the final six games of the regular season, the Engineers had only failed to win once at home, with four home games left, so things were looking pretty good. Going 0-3-1 in those four home games is a recipe for failure no matter how well your team is doing, however, and that's exactly what happened to the Engineers to close out the 2010-11 regular season. After the embarrassment of being swept at home by the likes of Colgate and Cornell two weeks prior, RPI laid another egg on senior weekend, losing to Princeton at home for the fourth time in a row, and earning only a tie with Quinnipiac when a win would have delivered them into the ECAC Quarterfinals with their first ever bye.

Instead, the Engineers now have to play Colgate in the first round of the ECAC playoffs, with a trip to Cornell the reward for victory.




The big news on Friday night was that Mike Bergin was making his return to the lineup after missing all of February to that point after being injured in the Freakout - his return was expected to provide a major boost to an RPI defense that had been noticeably exposed in recent games.

RPI got the first power play of the game, but were down 1-0 just 25 seconds into their own man advantage when Princeton freshman Andrew Calof stole the puck from Chase Polacek at center ice and went in all alone on York, coolly wristing a backhander to the top of the cage to put the Tigers ahead, an ominous sign for the Engineers. RPI would get the goal back as a product of the same power play chance as Brock Higgs scored his 7th goal of the year just a few seconds after the advantage ended to tie the game back up.

That was short lived. Princeton would score practically off a faceoff in the RPI zone less than two minutes later to regain their lead.

Princeton made it 3-1 five minutes into the second period by scoring on a relatively weak shot that Allen York probably should have had, and things were starting to look pretty bleak for RPI. The Tigers began to dominate puck control and the two goal lead looked like it may as well have been 20.

An RPI power play midway through the period made it look like that could change, as Matt Tinordi scored his first collegiate goal to bring RPI back within one. The Engineers looked like they had a little bit of life, but unfortunately it was an unforced error by Tinordi that led to another sour turn of events. Tinordi took a roughing penalty that negated what had been a productive power play for the Engineers, and eventually led to a power play that produced a goal for Princeton just before the last minute of the second period. The turn of events felt like a definite dagger.

Johnny Rogic netted his fourth goal of the year with about five minutes left in the third period, but the Engineers were unable to find the equalizer even after Princeton was called for interference with 1:45 left and even with Allen York on the bench creating a 6-on-4 situation for over a minute and a half of that time.

One could look at the game's last sequence as being the fourth consecutive game with a long two-man advantage that the Engineers not only failed to convert, but also helped lose the game. It's a complete head-scratcher why this team, which has gotten so many two-man advantages of late, just can't score on them. There's no excuse.

RPI gave up far too many shots, as well. Allen York gave up 4 goals, but had 40 saves. This could have been far worse.




Despite the bad result on Friday, RPI still was very much in a position where they could land the bye, especially given the high likelihood of other games going their way - RPI was essentially rooting for Union and Yale over Princeton and Cornell, the two top teams in the league.

The pre-game concern was for Chase Polacek. He reportedly was ill on Saturday and there seemed a very real possibility that the senior would be a scratch for the first time in his collegiate career. He skated in the pre-game warmup and was deemed ready to go, so he did indeed start on senior night.

Things looked good early on as RPI got a goal from an unlikely source. Just one week removed from his first career goal (into an empty net), Guy Leboeuf beat the goaltender this time just two minutes into the game to put the Engineers up 1-0. Even more impressively, the first assist went to another stay-at-home defenseman, John Kennedy.

RPI led 1-0 after one period, and it was becoming clear looking at games elsewhere that they were in very good position to grab that first round bye, as Princeton and Cornell both were losing in their games. However, the Engineers had a horrible first 10 minutes of the second period, allowing two goals about five minutes apart to go down 2-1. To make matters worse, Leboeuf and Patrick Cullen were both called for cross-checking a mere 45 seconds after giving up the go-ahead goal, meaning RPI had a two-man disadvantage for a full two minutes.

Fortunately, RPI got through unscathed and even tied the game back up two minutes later on Joel Malchuk's sixth goal of the year. Things were looking up for the Engineers again, and all they needed was another goal and they'd be taking the next weekend off.

Unfortunately, that goal never came. The third period was full of opportunities for RPI as they had three distinct power plays in the final 20 minutes, but they simply could not finish. Quinnipiac bottled the puck up in the RPI zone for much of the remainder of the game, including the overtime period, which featured just one shot on goal by either team. The Bobcats were doing what they needed to do, because they came into the game really only needing a tie for home-ice (although they could have reached 7th with a win).

Despite the game being tied, Seth Appert pulled Allen York with about 30 seconds left in the overtime period, but it did not lead to a goal. Everything went right for RPI except for their own game, and they finished in a three-way tie for 4th place with Cornell and Princeton, losing the tiebreaker with the Big Red but winning it with the Tigers to end up as the 5th seed.

Just one more point over 22 games would have seen RPI have this coming weekend off. There are plenty of places that point could have been picked up over the year, and we're not just talking about the two screwjob losses (although those do now seem even more upsetting now). The bottom line is, this team needs to decide whether it wants to be tough or not. We know they can be, the question is whether they still have enough gas in the tank to show it.

Other junk - The one-point home weekend caused another drop in the polls, as RPI is now ranked #16 in the nation, down two from last week. #3 Yale (1 first place vote, no change), #4 Union (1 first place vote, up one), #13 Boston University (up two), #17 Colorado College (up two), and #20 Dartmouth (down two) are also ranked this week. Receiving votes were Princeton (18), RIT (6), and Cornell (3).

Chase Polacek has only one point in the last four games. That point does move him into 20th by himself with 156 points. He needs one point to tie Larry Landon '81 for 19th with 157.

That does still put Polacek and Jeff Foss are still on pace to set the all-time record for games played as an Engineer provided they stay healthy. They will tie Peter Merth's record on Friday and they would break the record in the team's second playoff game.

Final ECAC Standings
1. Union - 17-3-2 (36 pts)
2. Yale - 17-4-1 (35 pts)
3. Dartmouth - 12-8-2 (26 pts)
4. Cornell - 11-9-2 (24 pts)
5. RPI - 11-9-2 (24 pts)
6. Princeton - 11-9-2 (24 pts)
7. Clarkson - 9-12-1 (19 pts)
8. Quinnipiac - 6-9-7 (19 pts)
9. Brown - 8-12-2 (18 pts)
10. Harvard - 7-14-1 (15 pts)
11. St. Lawrence - 6-15-1 (13 pts)
12. Colgate - 4-15-3 (11 pts)

Princeton at #14 RPI
ECAC Game - Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
2/25/11 - 7:00pm

RESULT: Princeton 4, RPI 3

College Hockey Stats


Troy Record
Albany Times Union

YouTube (post-game press conference)

YouTube (goals, no audio)
RPI TV (full game)

RECORD: 19-10-4 (11-8-1 ECAC, 23 pts)

Reale Deals
1. F Brock Higgs, 1 G
2. F Tyler Helfrich, 1 A
3. G Allen York, 40 saves

Quinnipiac at #14 RPI
ECAC Game - Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
2/26/11 - 7:00pm

RESULT: RPI 2, Quinnipiac 2

College Hockey Stats

Troy Record
Albany Times Union

RPI TV (full game)

RECORD: 19-10-5 (11-9-2 ECAC, 24 pts)

Reale Deals
1. D Guy Leboeuf, 1 G
2. F Joel Malchuk, 1 G
3. D John Kennedy, 1 A

Upcoming games
04 Mar - Colgate (ECAC First Round Game 1)
05 Mar - Colgate (ECAC First Round Game 2)
06 Mar - Colgate (ECAC First Round Game 3, if necessary)
11 Mar - at Cornell (ECAC Quarterfinal Game 1, if qualified)
12 Mar - at Cornell (ECAC Quarterfinal Game 2, if qualified)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Women's Hockey - ECAC Quarterfinals (Game 2)

The Engineers didn’t have enough left in the tank to keep up with Cornell for a second game, and a frustrating season for RPI ended on Saturday in a 6-1 loss in Ithaca. With the win, the Big Red move on to the ECAC semifinals, while RPI makes its departure into the offseason.

Game 2


Le Donne/Vadner

van der Bliek

Sonja van der Bliek held the Engineers in their first playoff game against Cornell; as it would turn out on Saturday, her efforts were not enough to keep the high-powered Big Red offense at bay.

Cornell notched the first goal for the second game in a row as Rebecca Johnston (who scored the last second game-tying goal Friday) opened the scoring at 2:13. Receiving a nice pass from Brianne Jenner behind the RPI net, Johnston slid a quick shot under van der Bliek for the 1-0 lead.

The Engineers held the Big Red off the board for the rest of the period, but managed a paltry two shots on goal, even with a power play opportunity. Cornell struck early once again in the second period as Chelsea Karpenko scored just 55 seconds in, taking a Catherine White faceoff win and roofing it past van der Bliek.

RPI cut the Big Red lead in half three minutes later as Alisa Harrison took a pass from Smelker and skated in to beat netminder Lauren Slebodnick and make it 2-1. That would be the end of the Engineers’ scoring, and Cornell would shift to a higher gear, racking up a whopping 19 shots in the second period while the Engineers could only manage three more of their own.

Johnston made it 3-1 in favor of the Big Red at 7:39 of the second, beating van der Bliek five-hole off a pass from Karlee Overguard.

The Big Red broke the game open in the third period, notching three more goals en route to the 6-1 final score. White beat van der Bliek high on the glove side at 5:06 of the final frame, Johnston made it a hat trick at 13:54 and Karpenko notched her second of the game to close out the scoring at 16:01.

In the end, the series played out how most may have expected. RPI hung on and made a game of it in the first meeting of the weekend, but Cornell’s depth and talent proved to be the difference maker in the second game as the Big Red simply outlasted the Engineers and capitalized against a depleted RPI squad.

RPI will look to regroup during the offseason and fill the holes in the lineup left by the graduation of Sydney O’Keefe, Kendra Dunlop, and Sonja van der Bliek. With 3 forwards, a defenseman, and a goaltender lined up for next season, the Engineers will look to have a little more wiggle room in fielding a full contingent of skaters in each game, but how they handle goaltending in the wake of van der Bliek’s graduation remains to be seen. We’ll take a look at the incoming recruits and next season’s outlook during the offseason.

In the meantime, all eyes are on the men as they enter the ECAC playoffs hosting Colgate next weekend at the Field House.


#8 RPI at #1 Cornell
ECAC Hockey Quarterfinals Game 2 – Lynah Rink (Ithaca, NY)
2/26/11 – 4:00pm
Cornell 6, RPI 1 – Cornell wins best of 3 series 2-0

College Hockey Stats:


RECORD: 10-18-7 (0-2 playoffs, 0-2 quarterfinals)


Playoff Standings (after game 2):

#1 Cornell vs. #8 RPI –2-0 Cornell (3-2 OT, 6-1) – Cornell Advances
#2 Harvard vs. #7 SLU – 2-0 Harvard (6-1, 8-3) – Harvard Advances
#3 Dartmouth vs. #6 Clarkson – Tied 1-1 (4-1 Clarkson, 4-2 Dartmouth) - Game 3 Today, 2pm
#4 Princeton vs. #5 Quinnipiac – 2-0 Quinnipiac (2-1, 2-0) – Quinnipiac Advances

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The End of Things

The women fell 6-1 to #1 Cornell in game two of their quarterfinal series. With the loss, RPI’s season comes to an end, while Cornell advances to the semifinals next weekend.

The men could only manage a 2-2 tie against Quinnipiac tonight, which resulted in RPI finishing in the 5th spot once all the other games were complete and tiebreakers applied. The Engineers will host Colgate next weekend – probably one of the most dangerous 12 seeds in recent history. If RPI manages to advance out of next weekend (which is by no means a given looking at Colgate’s play and RPI’s recent struggles), they are rewarded with a weekend trip to Lynah Rink to face Cornell in two weeks. Quite possibly the worst draw we could have managed.

All 3 games against Colgate next weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday if required) will be at 7pm. Tickets are on sale now at the Field House Box Office.

Here are the matchups for next weekend’s first round:

#5 RPI vs. #12 Colgate - Houston Field House
#6 Princeton vs. #11 St. Lawrence - Baker Rink
#7 Clarkson vs. #10 Harvard - Cheel Arena
#8 Quinnipiac vs. #9 Brown - TD Bank Sports Center

And here's your first look at the potential second round matchups based on the winners of each first round series:


More on this weekend’s games and a look forward to the men’s playoffs to follow…

What We Know

The RPI men lost to Princeton, 4-3 on Friday night, missing out on an opportunity to move into 4th place by themselves in the ECAC and take control of their destiny for the bye. Instead they are now in 6th place by themselves. The good news is, they can't get any lower than where they are now. No reason not to go for broke tonight. They could win and still end up in 6th place, which is where they'd be if they lose, and as you'll see they could well end up in sixth if they tie, so... why not take chances?

The good news is, the two games we're watching elsewhere involve rooting for the top two teams in the league, that is, the teams that should be favored to win those games anyway. Given that RPI should be favored over Quinnipiac as well (although we've seen how much that means recently), I guess RPI will have the bye as long as there are no upsets. That's not a horrid place to be by any stretch of the imagination.

Here's where things stand with one game left in the ECAC schedule.

Union (34 points) can clinch the Cleary Cup (yes) with a win over Princeton OR a Yale loss to Cornell. Yale (33 points) would win a potential tiebreaker on ECAC goals, so they could clinch with a win and a Union loss or tie, or a tie and a Union loss.

Union and Yale will both potentially host one of the teams currently in 7th place or below in the second round.

Dartmouth (26 points) has clinched a first round bye by virtue of their tiebreakers with Cornell and Princeton. They will finish either 3rd or 4th.

Cornell and Princeton (24 points) are tied for fourth, with Cornell currently leading the tiebreaker (record against Top 4 teams). Cornell could potentially finish in 3rd, or as low as 6th. Princeton, due to tiebreakers, can only finish as high as 4th and as low as 6th.

RPI (23 points) needs to defeat Quinnipiac on Saturday, and see Cornell (vs. Yale) lose and Princeton (vs. Union) lose or tie in order to finish 4th and receive the final first round bye. Anything else, and they will be at home in the first round, either in 5th or 6th. They cannot catch Dartmouth.

Tonight's scenarios:
RPI wins, Cornell loses, Princeton loses/ties: 4th place

RPI wins, Cornell loses, Princeton wins: 5th place
RPI wins, Cornell ties (regardless of what Princeton does): 5th place
RPI wins, Cornell wins, Princeton loses: 5th place
RPI wins, Cornell wins, Princeton ties: 5th place
RPI ties, Princeton loses (regardless of what Cornell does): 5th place

RPI wins, Cornell wins, Princeton wins: 6th place
RPI ties, Cornell loses, Princeton ties/wins: 6th place
RPI ties, Cornell ties/wins, Princeton ties/wins: 6th place
RPI loses (regardless of anything else): 6th place

As a 4 seed, RPI would potentially host Cornell, Princeton, Quinnipiac, Clarkson, or Brown in the 2nd round.

As a 5 or 6 seed, RPI would potentially host Harvard, St. Lawrence, or Colgate, and potentially travel to Cornell, Princeton, or Dartmouth in the second round.

The Engineers cannot face Yale or Union until Atlantic City at the earliest.

Quinnipiac (18 points) is in 7th. They have not clinched home ice due to their tiebreakers with Clarkson and Brown. They can clinch home ice with a tie at RPI on Saturday, and 7th with a win. They will finish between 7th and 9th.

Clarkson (17 points) is in 8th. They can clinch home ice with a win or tie over Dartmouth. Also will finish between 7th and 9th.

Brown (16 points) is in 9th. They can clinch home ice with a win and a Quinnipiac loss, since they hold the tiebreaker with the Bobcats. They do not win the tiebreaker with Clarkson. They will finish between 7th and 9th.

Harvard and St. Lawrence (13 points) are tied for 10th, with Harvard technically in 10th right now on the first tiebreaker. They also happen to play each other on Saturday, winner gets 10th place. They will both be on the road in the first round, but Harvard can claim 10th with a tie over the Saints as well due to the tiebreaker. The 10th place team will travel to Quinnipiac, Clarkson, or Brown. The 11th place team travels to Cornell, RPI, or Princeton.

Colgate (11 points) can only finish in 11th with a win and a Harvard loss to St. Lawrence. That would give the Raiders 11th on the second tiebreaker with the Crimson. Otherwise, they are 12th. Regardless, they will travel to either Cornell, RPI, or Princeton next week. (Guess who their preference is going to be.)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Women's Hockey - ECAC Quarterfinals (Game 1)

RPI very nearly pulled off the upset of the year in game one of their best-of-three series at Cornell, leading the Big Red through the late third period and entirety of the third, but a heartbreaking game-tying goal with seven seconds left gave Cornell the chance they needed to take back the game and win just 1:28 into overtime by a final 3-2 tally.

Game 1


Le Donne/Daniels

van der Bliek

RPI picked up a quick opportunity to start the game as Karlee Overguard went off for a hook, but the Engineers couldn’t capitalize on the early opportunity. Cornell had no such trouble when they were given their first power play, as Catherine White notched the game’s first goal on a rebound during a Kendra Dunlop checking penalty at 12:16 of the frame. RPI held Cornell scoreless in another power play opportunity later in the first, and found an opportunity to tie the game just a couple minutes after killing the penalty. Jill Vandegrift took a pass from Andie Le Donne and roofed a shot over Cornell netminder Lauren Slebodnick to knot the game at one.

RPI stunned the Big Red in the second period, outshooting the Cornell squad for the first period this season and taking the lead at 14:55 when Kendra Dunlop found a rebound and put it home to go up 2-1. That lead would nearly go the distance, but not without some controversy. Cornell had an apparent goal waved off with about a minute left in regulation, sparking a long delay while the play was reviewed by video. The decision wouldn’t be enough to save the Engineers, who would surrender the tying goal with just 6.7 seconds remaining in regulation. Those 6.7 seconds were all that separated the Engineers from a tremendous upset over the second ranked team in the nation.

Cornell wasted little time in the overtime period, throwing four shots on net in the first minute and a half, and the winner came just 1:28 into the extra frame. Karlee Overguard found a loose rebound in front of the Engineer net and slammed it past Sonja van der Bliek to give the Big Red the victory in game one.

Sonja van der Bliek was spectacular in the RPI net, making 34 saves for the Engineers, including 17 in a third period which saw the Engineers outshot 18-0.

It will be interesting to see how much the Engineers have left in the tank tomorrow for game two (4pm) after spending the entire third period bottled up in their own zone and being run down by a talented Cornell squad. Tomorrow’s game will be carried live on WRPI - although the FM transmitter was down tonight due to the weather, the web stream worked, and with any luck the FM signal will be up and running in time for tomorrow afternoon’s contest.


#8 RPI at #1 Cornell
ECAC Hockey Quarterfinals Game 1 – Lynah Rink (Ithaca, NY)
2/25/11 – 7:00pm
Cornell 3, RPI 2 (OT) – Cornell leads best of 3 series 1-0



RECORD: 10-17-7 (0-1 playoffs, 0-1 quarterfinals)


Playoff Standings (after game 1):

#1 Cornell vs. #8 RPI – 1-0 Cornell (3-2 OT)
#2 Harvard vs. #7 SLU – 1-0 Harvard (6-1)
#3 Dartmouth vs. #6 Clarkson – 1-0 Clarkson (4-1)
#4 Princeton vs. #5 Quinnipiac – 1-0 Quinnipiac (2-1)


Upcoming Games:

Feb. 26 – ECAC Quarterfinals @ Cornell (4pm)
Feb. 27 – ECAC Quarterfinals @ Cornell (4pm) (if necessary)

Moment of Truth

It's a defining weekend for both squads.

Things don't look good for the women... but stranger things have happened. If they believe in themselves and play the perfect series, they could still end their season at Cornell this weekend. That's how good the Big Red are right now.

It's the final weekend of the regular season for the men - we find out now whether they're worthy of that first round bye that would probably be mostly in the bag if not for some untimely injuries. They're back to 100%. Can they get the job done, and will we get some help elsewhere?

For this week's pumpup, I'm going with one fresh out of the box. Lupe did us wonders last year against Princeton and Quinnipiac, perhaps his new jam will do the same? I'm not superstitious, it's just a fun jam that'll get you psyched for the weekend, I hope.

Please observe a mild content warning, kids.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Women's Hockey - 2011 Playoff Preview

While the men gear up for the final weekend of the regular season, the women’s teams of the ECAC are set for the quarterfinals of the ECAC playoffs. With Colgate, Yale, Brown, and Union finishing in the bottom four and missing the playoffs, the seeds were established for this weekend’s matchups:

No. 8 RPI at No. 1 Cornell
No. 7 St. Lawrence at No. 2 Harvard
No. 6 Clarkson at No. 3 Dartmouth
No. 5 Quinnipiac at No. 4 Princeton

Let’s take a look at the other three series before we get to RPI’s challenging trip to Ithaca.

No. 5 Quinnipiac at No. 4 Princeton

Head-to-head: Tied 1-1 (5-2 QU in Hamden, 3-0 Princeton in Princeton)

Quinnipiac’s Record: 12-9-1 (20-11-3 overall) (5-3-2 last 10)
Princeton’s Record: 13-8-1 (16-12-1 overall) (8-2 last 10)

Princeton has been an interesting case this season. In their first 14 games, they went 3-10-1, before finding their game in early December and finishing the season on a 13-2 tear. Their two losses in the final 15 came to Clarkson (3-2) and Dartmouth (7-0!). Quinnipiac has been much more hot-and-cold, managing to win five and four in a row only one time each this season – and each came with the benefit of a gimme game against Sacred Heart.

Perhaps most perplexing is Quinnipiac’s final regular season weekend. Entering the weekend in fourth place, the Bobcats proceeded to lose to 10th place Yale, tie 11th place Brown, and promptly surrender home ice to Princeton who handily defeated both teams.

While Princeton has had playoff woes, losing in the quarterfinals for four straight years, the combination of a Tiger squad that’s found its stride, a streaky Bobcat group, and home ice should tilt this series in Princeton’s favor, although we wouldn’t be surprised if the Bobcats take it to three games with Victoria Vigilanti in net. Vigilanti has posted an impressive 1.68 GAA with a .933 save percentage and 8 shutouts. Princeton’s Rachel Weber nearly matches Vigilanti’s numbers with a 1.79 and .930, however.

No. 6 Clarkson at No. 3 Dartmouth

Head-to-head: Tied 1-1 (3-2 OT Clarkson in Hanover, 3-1 Dartmouth in Potsdam)

Clarkson’s Record: 13-15-6 (10-8-4 ECAC) (5-2-3 last 10)
Dartmouth’s Record: 19-9-0 (15-7-0 ECAC) (9-1 last 10)

Dartmouth has the benefit of entering the playoffs having won 10 of 11 since being swept in the North Country in the middle of January. The Big Green’s lone loss in that span came in a shutout by Quinnipiac where the Bobcats scored one goal shortly after a 5-on-3, one goal on a 5-on-3, and an empty netter en route to a 4-0 final tally. Clarkson, like Quinnipiac, has been inconsistent during the season. The Golden Knights have had an off season just a year after taking Cornell to overtime in the ECAC championship game.

Ending the season in the Top 10 of the USCHO poll, Dartmouth carries all the momentum into the playoffs and has enjoyed large crowds at home. While the series isn’t lopsided by any means, it’s Dartmouth’s to lose.

No. 7 St. Lawrence at No. 2 Harvard

Head-to-head: Harvard 2-0 (2-1 in Boston, 3-2 in Canton)

SLU’s Record: 16-16-2 (11-11-0 ECAC) (5-5 last 10)
Harvard’s Record: 15-10-4 (14-5-3 ECAC) (5-3-2 last 10)

St. Lawrence has been a thoroughly average team this season. A .500 record overall, a .500 record in league, .500 in their last 10, and a +4 goal differential across 34 games. Now two seasons removed from a string of NCAA tournament appearances, the Saints are stuck in a bit of a rut, and that’s not a great position to be in when facing a Harvard squad that had your number in two games during the regular season. While the games may have been decided by a single goal each, Harvard outworked and significantly outshot SLU in each, and that type of game is draining on a team in a best-of-three series.

While Harvard has hit some road bumps late in the year, going 3-3-2 in their final 8 games, they should be favored to win this series without too much trouble. If the Saints want to stand a chance of moving on, their most likely hope is behind solid play from goaltender Maxie Weisz, who has been more impressive than Harvard’s Laura Bellamy over the course of the regular season. It was Weisz who posted 31 saves against RPI in the final game of the season, holding the Saints in a game where they were outworked.

No. 8 RPI at No. 1 Cornell

Head-to-head: Cornell 2-0 (6-1 in Troy, 6-0 in Ithaca)

RPI’s Record: 10-16-7 (8-12-2 ECAC) (1-8-1 last 10)
Cornell’s Record: 26-2-1 (20-1-1 ECAC) (8-1-1 last 10)

We’re not going to sugar coat this one. Cornell has run roughshod over the ECAC this season, much like the Harvard squad of three years ago which went undefeated in ECAC play. In their two head-to-head games, the Engineers were outshot by the Big Red 77-25 and outscored 12-1. Cornell is a relative lock for the Frozen Four, and RPI has done little this season to show they pose any threat to the #2 ranked team in the nation.

Limping its way into the playoffs, RPI has dealt with a short bench in many of its games, dressing just three lines and two defensive pairings at times. With a roster full of some of the top players in the country, Cornell has outworked one team after the next and wore them down for win after win. RPI doesn’t have the depth to roll a full lineup against the Big Red, and that’s going to hurt over the course of a weekend.

Last year, RPI battled back from a 5-1 hole in the ECAC semifinal to draw within one against a Cornell squad that went on to win the ECAC title. That near-comeback was sparked by Whitney Naslund and Laura Gersten, both of whom graduated. And perhaps more importantly, it came in a single elimination game. Drawn out over a best-of-three, the hopes of such a disparate matchup resulting in an upset becomes that much smaller.

However – as former RPI captain Laura Gersten said on the air for WRPI last weekend – “There’s nothing better than an upset.”

Friday’s game (7pm) will not be carried by WRPI as it conflicts with the men’s game against Princeton. However Saturday (4pm) and Sunday (4pm if necessary) will be carried live from Ithaca by WRPI. Live video will be available for purchase from Cornell, along with live stats and live tweets from Without a Peer at

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tomorrow's Podcast: John Kennedy, Kendra Dunlop

It's a tough task facing the women this week, but it's better than being where Colgate and Yale are - done for the season. Our guest this week is RPI captain Kendra Dunlop. We'll hopefully get a quick valedictory on her four year career at RPI, and ask her about the Engineers' readiness to face off with the second best team in the nation, the Cornell Big Red.

Our podcast this week is today starting at 11:30am Eastern. We'll talk Bracketology and look at the men's final home weekend, as well as the playoff race on the ECAC side - not to mention a brief look at who's doing what elsewhere.

You can listen to today's podcast by clicking "Listen to Without a Peer" in the upper right-hand corner at the witching hour, but if you miss it, no sweat. It'll be available 24/7, on demand. And don't forget... we need your help to keep offering our podcasts! Hit the tip jar!

UPDATE (2:00 pm): OK! So, I'm sure astute observers will notice that we didn't go live when we'd originally planned to today. Thank our internet provider here at the secret underwater lair for that - they decided to do some maintenance with telling anyone, and killed our connection in the process. Those responsible have been sacked. We are on instead Thursday at 11:30am, and thankfully, the problem has at least allowed us the opportunity to bring on another guest, who will kick off the show. We'll have both captains on this week as John Kennedy will be our guest at the top of the show to talk about the last weekend of play in the ECAC and get his thoughts on four years at RPI.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Engineer Bracketology: Week 7

If you're still among those muttering "well, I'll just root for the Engineers and everything else will sort itself out" after reading our weekly Bracketology, consider this. After Friday, when Rensselaer dropped a 5-3 decision to St. Lawrence, they ultimately moved up one spot in the PairWise Rankings after being as high as 10th at one point during the course of the night before all the results were in. Then, following Saturday, where the Engineers picked up a big 5-1 victory over Clarkson, they didn't budge an inch, still sitting 13th in the PairWise, though technically now tied for 11th with Miami and New Hampshire. Why did that happen? Well, it's because you can't "just root for the Engineers and everything else will sort itself out."

1. Yale
2. North Dakota*
3. Boston College
4. Merrimack
5. Denver
6. Michigan
7. Minnesota-Duluth
8. Union*
9. Nebraska-Omaha
10. Notre Dame*
11. New Hampshire*
12. Miami
13. Rensselaer
14. Wisconsin
15. Western Michigan
16. Boston University
17. Dartmouth
18. Minnesota
19. Colorado College
20. Maine
21. Princeton
22. Ferris State
23. Minnesota State
24. Alaska
25. Robert Morris
26. St. Cloud State
27. RIT*
28. Northern Michigan
29. Bemidji State
30. Cornell
31. Ohio State
32. Alaska-Anchorage

In: Western Michigan
Out: Dartmouth

In: Ohio State, Northern Michigan, Bemidji State
Out: None

So the Engineers currently find themselves as the highest of the 4-seeds, very close to moving back up into 3-seed territory given their tie with Miami and UNH. Here's the bracket.

1. Yale
2. Union
3. Nebraska-Omaha
4. RIT

Green Bay
1. North Dakota
2. Minnesota-Duluth
3. Notre Dame
4. Western Michigan

1. Boston College
2. Michigan
3. New Hampshire
4. Wisconsin

St. Louis
1. Merrimack
2. Denver
3. Miami
4. Rensselaer

Amazingly, this is the natural bracket (1 vs. 16, 2 vs. 15, etc.) with no intra-conference matchups and no needing to accomodate hosts. The St. Louis bracket is a little worrisome as far as ticket sales are concerned, but the other three brackets are pretty solid money-wise. I suppose the NCAA could try to swap the Green Bay and St. Louis brackets completely, and then swap Wisconsin for the Engineers (putting Rensselaer in Manchester against Boston College). That might make each bracket good for ticket sales, even if it would confirm that the NCAA cares more about selling tickets than bracket integrity.

Yes, that is Merrimack as a 1-seed. It's been a wild season around the nation, for sure.

Time to take a look at the TUC cliff. It's getting crowded, which means there is a lot of potential for change.

23. Ferris State (.5096)
24. Robert Morris (.5095)
25. St. Cloud State (.5094)
26. Alaska (.5087)
27. Cornell (.5085)
28. RIT (.5071)
29. Bemidji State (.5035)
30. Ohio State (.5029)
31. Alaska-Anchorage (.5029)
32. Northern Michigan (.5004)
33. Quinnipiac (.4981)
34. Michigan State (.4946)
35. Niagara (.4932)
36. Air Force (.4931)
37. Lake Superior State (.4927)
38. Northeastern (.4919)
39. Clarkson (.4907)

We know some of these are good TUCs or potentially good TUCs from previous editions of EB (Ferris State, RIT, Alaska-Anchorage, Bemidji State, Niagara, and possibly Quinnipiac). We know some of these are bad TUCs or potentially bad TUCs from the same (Cornell, Robert Morris, Cornell, Alaska, Michigan State, Cornell, St. Cloud State, Clarkson, and, oh yeah, Cornell).

Does Rensselaer's win over Clarkson this weekend change our attitude toward them? No. It does make them less of a problem if they do become a TUC, but their would still negatively impact the Engineers' TUC record.

Northeastern pops in as a potential TUC down the road. How do we feel about them, given the lone game against them was a tie? Much like Clarkson, it wouldn't be horrible, but we'd rather not. Adding ties into a winning TUC record weakens that record.

But here's the bigger question. Where's Brown? We've been lobbying hard for Brown in this space practically since the beginning, but they've been abysmal. Since the Engineers completed the season sweep, the Bears are 1-4-1 and are not in a position to become a TUC unless they manage a minor run through the ECAC playoffs. We'll still root for them for the time being, but we need to have the mindset that they're not likely to come to the rescue and boost Rensselaer's TUC record.

As far as Cornell is concerned - the Big Red dropping out as a TUC would flip the Engineers' comparison with Nebraska-Omaha. Given nothing else, that would move the team from 13th to 11th in the PWR. Here's what we're looking at with the Engineers' comparisons - ones that seem to have the possibility to flip in the next week. Rensselaer is currently winning comparisons with the first four, and losing them to the last two.

New Hampshire: This one's razor thin, but a Rensselaer win right now. The Engineers have a pretty solid COp lead, and are winning the comparison on a TUC lead. Cornell dropping out would shore this win up significantly (drop 2 losses for Rensselaer, drop 1 win for UNH), but barring that, the Engineers are going to need to beat Princeton on Friday in order to keep this one a win.

Notre Dame: Rensselaer wins this comparison 2-1 right now on TUC/COp. They've clinched COp, but TUC is close. Much like New Hampshire, this comparison needs a win over Princeton on Friday and Cornell to drop out to be shored up.

Western Michigan: The Broncos' big TUC advantage has pretty much completely dried up, which is good news for this comparison. Rensselaer has about a .0100 RPI advantage to go with the TUC edge, so they do need to keep winning to keep this one alive.

Dartmouth: This one flipped back in Rensselaer's favor this week due to RPI after the Big Green lost to Colgate and Cornell. We knew that was a potential silver lining to a Cornell win over Dartmouth, and that's what we got. The Big Green present an interesting challenge, because we don't get to use the Engineers' two wins over them in the TUC comparison. Losing Cornell actually doesn't do much good here, since that would help Dartmouth as well, though not as much. The biggest thing here, really, would be a win over Princeton on Friday. Quinnipiac as a TUC might hurt the Big Green a little too (1-1-0 against them), so especially if the Engineers beat the Bobcats on Saturday, QU as a TUC would help out a little. Bear in mind that if the Engineers and Big Green face each other in the playoffs, all bets will be off in this one, especially if that's before Atlantic City.

Nebraska-Omaha: As explained above, Cornell falling under .5000 RPI would flip this comparison back to the Engineers. The same holds true for St. Cloud State falling out, since they are a big boost to the Mavericks' TUC record. Quinnipiac is a COp, and while a loss on Saturday wouldn't kill the chances of winning this comparison by any stretch, it would certainly make things a little precarious.

Miami: Same as last week, since the Redhawks were idle last week. Engineers need to win, Miami needs to lose to flip RPI, which is going to be the sole determinant of this comparison.

So in the next week or so, it doesn't look like Rensselaer has the potential to move up too terribly far in the PairWise, but they can potentially move into a 3-seed position, and maneuver themselves to where they could possibly shoot for a 2-seed (their highest reasonable seeding) during the ECAC playoffs. More importantly, moving up the PWR at this point increases their likelihood of being in the tournament at the end of the day.

Here is this week's cheering section.

Engineer Cheering Section
Brown over Harvard

Ferris State over Ohio State

Rensselaer over Princeton
Quinnipiac over Union
Brown over Cornell
Harvard over Clarkson
St. Lawrence over Dartmouth
Northeastern over New Hampshire
Vermont over Boston University
Ferris State over Ohio State
Alaska-Anchorage over Alaska
Lake Superior State over Miami
Bowling Green over Michigan State
Western Michigan over Notre Dame
Wisconsin over St. Cloud State
Denver over Nebraska-Omaha
Colorado College over Minnesota-Duluth
Niagara over RIT
UConn over American International
Bentley over Holy Cross
Air Force over Robert Morris

Rensselaer over Quinnipiac
Brown over Colgate
Yale over Cornell
Clarkson over Dartmouth
Northeastern over New Hampshire
Vermont over Boston University
Alaska-Anchorage over Alaska
Lake Superior State over Miami
Bowling Green over Michigan State
Notre Dame over Western Michigan
Wisconsin over St. Cloud State
Denver over Nebraska-Omaha
Colorado College over Minnesota-Duluth
Bemidji State over North Dakota
Niagara over RIT
UConn over American International
Bentley over Holy Cross
Air Force over Robert Morris

Bemidji State over North Dakota

UNH/NU series: We don't want NU as a TUC, but we do want UNH to lose to more COps and drop in RPI. Advantage Northeastern.

UVM/BU series: Like last week, just keeping BU at arm's length in the PWR.

WMU/Notre Dame series: Tough one here since these are games between teams we have potentially volatile comparisons against. Root for a weekend split. If the Engineers sweep their weekend, it'll have a net benefit in both comparisons.

SCSU/UW series: There's no good answer to this one. We want SCSU to fall out as a TUC to help flip the UNO comparison, but we also don't want Wisconsin picking up TUC wins. The thing is, if the Badgers do sweep, SCSU may no longer be a TUC anymore (or at least be very close) - and we'd have even more reason to root against the Huskies. Go with UW for now (maybe for 3 points instead of 4), looking to the future when we hopefully get help from Colorado College in two weeks.

Niagara/RIT series: Blargh. This sucks. Here we have two teams that we really want as TUCs. RIT currently is one but is on the edge, Niagara currently isn't one but is close. We could root for RIT to sweep, firming them up as a TUC but making Niagara less of a likelihood. We could root for a split, which would probably maintain the status quo. Nah, let's go for it all. No guts, no glory. Take Niagara for both, and then hope RIT either stays a TUC or can regain TUC status down the road.

Cornell at Brown: I know I don't need to explain this one, but how cool is it that we can help get a lot of what we want if Brown beats Cornell in this game? From Brown's rising RPI to Cornell's falling RPI to helping the Engineers get a first round bye (of course, not at all related to Bracketology, but another concern at least). Obviously, this would be a big result for the Engineers.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Men's Hockey - at St. Lawrence and Clarkson (18/19 Feb)

Earning road weekend splits is a good way to position yourself for a first-round bye, as long as you're taking care of business at home as well. RPI finished off their ECAC road schedule with another split, giving them four splits and a 3-point weekend among their five league road weekends. In the North Country, the Engineers had to endure a tough 5-3 loss to a very game St. Lawrence team, but they picked up a convincing 5-1 victory over Clarkson the next night.

St. Lawrence



All eyes were on Allen York as he made his return to the RPI lineup after missing three full games and part of a fourth due to a concussion. Meanwhile, hopes that Mike Bergin would return to the lineup were not realized, as he would miss his fifth and sixth consecutive games since picking up a leg injury in the Freakout!.

The game could not have started off much worse for the Engineers. St. Lawrence won the faceoff and immediately started pressuring in the RPI zone, keeping the puck in almost as though they were on the power play until they scored the first goal of the game just 1:24 in to make it 1-0.

The Engineers responded three and a half minutes later on the power play, as Josh Rabbani scored on a rebound a minute into RPI's first man advantage of the night to tie the score. That would not last terrible long, however, as Guy Leboeuf was called for roughing about two minutes later, and St. Lawrence's freshman phenom Greg Carey gave them the lead back on the ensuing faceoff, scoring just 4 seconds into the Leboeuf penalty to put the Saints back on top.

RPI would have plenty of chances to tie things up again during the remainder of the first period, especially when SLU was called for too many men while they were already killing a penalty, giving the Engineers a 5-on-3 for over a minute for the third consecutive game, and like the previous two, they did not convert. They even had third power play opportunity before the end of the period that was also wasted. Despite starting off the night 1-for-1, RPI ultimately went 1-for-4 on the advantage in the first period and finished the night 1-for-6.

Carey scored his second goal of the night with a pinpointed laser of a shot that simply placed the puck in a part of the net where York wasn't to make it 3-1 early in the 2nd period. Later on in the period, as a penalty to Pat Koudys was expiring, the Saints got a fourth goal that was at least inspired by the power play if not technically a power play goal, giving SLU a commanding 4-1 lead that they would hold after two periods.

It wasn't so much that the Engineers were playing poorly per se, although they did have some top players who had rough games, it was more an issue with St. Lawrence playing exceptionally well as a team. That was displayed in lights early in the third period. Just one minute after Jeff Foss scored his third goal of the year of the year off a rip from the point to cut the lead to 4-2 (the much ballyhooed "worst lead in hockey"), the Saints answered right back, scoring on an impossible angle shot that Allen York appeared to either not see, or straight gave up on. At any rate, the fifth goal of the night for St. Lawrence ended York's night, and Bryce Merriam made his fifth consecutive appearance in net for the Engineers.

Merriam stopped all seven shots he saw, but the Engineers could not claw their way back. C.J. Lee did net his fifth goal of the season with four and a half minutes to play and Merriam was pulled for much of the remainder of the game, but it was too little too late for RPI as they fell, 5-3. It was RPI's third consecutive loss, the first time this season they have dropped more than two in a row.




The shakeup to the lineup was immediate and intriguing. Although C.J. Lee appeared to be favoring his shoulder late in the Friday game, he was scratched due to a coach's decision rather than an injury. Brock Higgs, for the first time, was moved off to the left wing, and Tyler Helfrich was placed on the fourth line alongside Matt Tinordi and Johnny Rogic.

For the second night in a row - and the third consecutive game - the Engineers got off to a bad start by giving up the first goal of the night. This one came in similar fashion to one of St. Lawrence's goals as the Golden Knights scored just three seconds into an elbowing penalty against Nick Bailen, giving Clarkson a 1-0 lead only 2:48 into the contest.

The Engineers started off slowly, but gradually began putting pucks on net, ending the first period with the shot totals tied 8-8 despite being down 1-0. The second period was a different story, as RPI outshot Clarkson 4 to 1 during the middle stanza. The persistence paid off midway through the period as RPI finally got on the board with a putback goal from Marty O'Grady, who notched his sixth goal of the year to bring things level.

RPI was the beneficiary of a late penalty to Clarkson in the second period, called at 20:00 to give them fresh legs and a fresh sheet of ice for a full two-minute power play to start the third, but they were unable to take advantage. That didn't matter two minutes later as Johnny Rogic scored on a rebound following a wraparound try by Matt Tinordi, putting the Engineers in front for the first time on the weekend, 2-1.

The Engineers killed a pair of penalties during the period, and Allen York was brilliant in the third, showing that exceptional lateral movement that has served him well all season. He made 20 saves on 21 shots during the course of the game.

Greg Burgdoerfer's third goal of the year midway through the third gave RPI an important two-goal cushion, and Guy Leboeuf sealed it with his first career goal into an empty net with under two minutes remaining, lofting it high in the air from just over the red line in the neutral zone and watching it bounce down and into the net.

That wasn't the end, however, though the final goal was more of a testament to the forechecking, defensive, and penalty killing ability of Alex Angers-Goulet. A slashing call against Joel Malchuk put Clarkson on the power play for the remainder of the game, but in the final seconds, a pokecheck while forechecking from Angers-Goulet resulted in a breakaway in the Clarkson zone, which he put away with 4.2 seconds left in the game, giving RPI a 5-1 victory.

RPI now sits in fifth place, one point behind Cornell and Dartmouth, who are tied for third. Things are very simple for RPI from here - if they win a pair this weekend and see Cornell drop at least one, they won't have to hit the road again until a potential trip down the Garden State Parkway to the Atlantic City Expressway. Sure, it's a bit of a longer drive than the 10-minute trip down I-787 that we never got to take, but it's the new goal.

Other junk - No movement for RPI this week in the poll, as the split weekend kept them ranked #14 in the nation. Ranked past opponents this week are #3 Yale (no change, swept Quinnipiac/Princeton), #5 Union (up two, swept Clarkson/SLU), #15 Boston University (no change), #18 Dartmouth (down two, swept by Colgate/Cornell), and #19 Colorado College (down one). Also receiving votes this week were Princeton (33), Cornell (24), RIT (20), and Northeastern (3).

Congratulations to Tyler Helfrich, who earned his 100th career point on Saturday with an assist on Johnny Rogic's goal. He is the 61st member of the RPI Century Club.

A very rare pointless weekend for Chase Polacek leaves him tied with Barry Martinelli '76, for 20th all time with 155 points. He needs two points to tie Larry Landon '81 for 19th with 157.

I was mistaken about the all-time lead for games played in an RPI uniform - apparently RPI's online records have not been updated to reflect last year, when Peter Merth set the record with 151 games. That does still put Polacek and Jeff Foss on pace to set the all-time record provided they stay healthy and in the lineup - they would break the record in the team's second playoff game.

With Matt Tinordi and Guy Leboeuf breaking onto the scoresheet for the first time in their collegiate careers, Kevin Beauregard, who has appeared in only one game this season, is the only skater who has not registered a point this year.

14 different Engineers have registered at least 3 goals so far this year. That includes every forward that has scored a goal.

ECAC Standings
1. Union - 16-3-1 (33 pts)
2. Yale - 16-4-0 (32 pts)
3. Cornell - 11-7-2 (24 pts)
4. Dartmouth - 11-7-2 (24 pts)
5. RPI - 11-8-1 (23 pts)
6. Princeton - 10-8-2 (22 pts)
7. Clarkson - 8-11-1 (17 pts)
8. Quinnipiac - 6-9-5 (17 pts)
9. Brown - 6-11-2 (14 pts)
10. St. Lawrence - 6-12-1 (13 pts)
11. Colgate - 4-14-2 (10 pts)
12. Harvard - 4-14-1 (9 pts)

#14 RPI at St. Lawrence
ECAC Game - Appleton Arena (Canton, NY)
2/18/11 - 7:00pm

RESULT: St. Lawrence 5, RPI 3

College Hockey Stats

Troy Record
Watertown Daily Times

RECORD: 18-9-4 (10-8-1 ECAC, 21 pts)

Reale Deals
1. F Josh Rabbani, 1 G
2. D Jeff Foss, 1 G
3. F Joel Malchuk, 1 A, +1

#14 RPI at Clarkson
ECAC Game - Cheel Arena (Potsdam, NY)
2/19/11 - 7:00pm

RESULT: RPI 5, Clarkson 1

College Hockey Stats

Troy Record
Watertown Daily Times

RECORD: 19-9-4 (11-8-1 ECAC, 23 pts)

Reale Deals
1. G Allen York, 20 saves
2. F Matt Tinordi, 1 A
3. F Alex Angers-Goulet, 1 G

Upcoming games
25 Feb - Princeton
26 Feb - Quinnipiac (Senior Night)
04 Mar - ECAC First Round Game 1 (if necessary)
05 Mar - ECAC First Round Game 2 (if necessary)
06 Mar - ECAC First Round Game 3 (if necessary)

What We Know


There are two games left in the regular season, with the exception of Harvard and Brown, who play each other on Tuesday, they have three games left.

Union (33 points) and Yale (32 points) have secured first round byes. They will finish in the top two positions in the league. The tiebreaker is uncertain (each team won one game against the other) unless they tie with Union earning three points and Yale earning four points OR Union ties twice and Yale earns three points, in which case Yale would win the tiebreaker (total ECAC wins). Besides those two scenarios, a tie would go to the third tiebreaker, records against the top four teams, which in this case is record against each other plus whoever ends up in third and fourth.

Dartmouth, Cornell, RPI, and Princeton have secured at least home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. They will finish in positions three through six in some order.

DRT/COR: Cornell won the head-to-head, 3-1.
DRT/RPI: RPI won the head-to-head, 4-0.
DRT/PRN: Dartmouth won the head-to-head, 4-0.
COR/RPI: Cornell won the head-to-head, 4-0.
COR/PRN: Would currently be solved on third tie-breaker, and would depend on which teams are in the top four.
RPI/PRN: Depends on the outcome of Friday's game. RPI wins the tiebreaker with a win or a tie. A Princeton win would solve this on the third tie-breaker, depending on which teams are in the top four.

Three-way ties:
DRT/COR/RPI: Cornell, then RPI, then Dartmouth.
DRT/COR/PRN: Cornell, then Dartmouth, then Princeton.
DRT/RPI/PRN: RPI, then Dartmouth, then Princeton (regardless of Friday's game).
COR/RPI/PRN: Cornell, then goes to the RPI/PRN tiebreaker.

Four-way tie: Cornell, then RPI, then Dartmouth, then Princeton (regardless of Friday's game).

Dartmouth and Cornell are tied for third with 24 points each. Cornell wins the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Big Green and currently sit in 3rd place.

RPI is alone in 5th place with 23 points.

Princeton is alone in 6th place with 22 points.

Clarkson and Quinnipiac are tied for seventh with 17 points each. Clarkson wins the 2nd tiebreaker with the Bobcats (total ECAC wins) and currently sit in 7th place. The Golden Knights will finish between 7th and 9th, thanks to their season sweep over St. Lawrence. The Bobcats can finish between 7th and 10th due to St. Lawrence holding tie-breaker over QU.

Brown is alone in 9th with 14 points, and have a game in hand. They could finish anywhere from 7th through 12th. They can guarantee themselves no worse than 10th with a win or tie on Tuesday.

St. Lawrence is alone in 10th place with 13 points. They can still finish as high as 8th for the final home-ice spot, but would need to sweep this weekend AND see Quinnipiac swept AND Brown take no more than two points in their last three games.

Colgate is alone in 11th place with 10 points. They will be on the road for the first round of the playoffs, but can finish as high as 9th.

Harvard is alone in 12th with 9 points. They will also be on the road for the first round of the playoffs and can also finish as high as 9th. However, a loss on Tuesday would allow them to finish no higher than 11th.

Downtable tiebreakers:
CKN/QU: Clarkson wins on 2nd tiebreak.
CKN/BRN: Clarkson wins head-to-head, 4-0.
CKN/SLU: Clarkson wins head-to-head, 4-0.
QU/BRN: Brown wins on 2nd tiebreak.
QU/SLU: St. Lawrence wins head-to-head, 4-0.
BRN/SLU: Brown wins head-to-head, 4-0.
CKN/QU/BRN: Clarkson, then Brown, then Quinnipiac.
QU/BRN/SLU: Brown, then St. Lawrence, then Quinnipiac.
CKN/QU/BRN/SLU: Clarkson, then Brown, then St. Lawrence, then Quinnipiac.

BRN/COL: Would be determined on the 3rd tiebreak depending on who the top 4 teams are, as a tie would require a split head-to-head with the same ECAC record.
BRN/HRV: Would be determined on either the 2nd or 3rd tiebreak, as a tie would require a split head-to-head.
SLU/COL: St. Lawrence wins head-to-head, 4-0.
SLU/HRV: Depends on the result of Saturday's game. Harvard wins the tiebreaker with a win or a tie.
COL/HRV: Would be determined on either the 2nd or 3rd tiebreak due to a head-to-head split.

Given that Harvard still has games against both Brown and St. Lawrence, and Brown has games against Harvard and Colgate, the multiple tiebreak scenarios have too many permutations right now for definite answers. We'll know more on Tuesday night after the Harvard/Brown game is over.

Best case scenarios for RPI: Sweep Princeton/Quinnipiac, Cornell (at Brown/Yale) earns no more than two points on the weekend, Dartmouth does not sweep at home over St. Lawrence/Clarkson, OR Engineers earn 3 points, Cornell earns no more than one point, Dartmouth earns no more than two points, OR Engineers beat Princeton (or tie both games with Princeton losing to Union), Cornell is swept, Dartmouth earns no more than one point.

In these scenarios, Engineers finish in third place and face one of the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, or 10th seeds in the second round, depending on the results of the first round.

RPI does not control their destiny for the bye. They could sweep the weekend series at home and still finish in 5th if Dartmouth does the same and Cornell takes at least three points.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Women's Hockey - Clarkson/St. Lawrence (18/19 Feb)

A win or two this weekend would have gone a long way toward securing a more favorable playoff spot for the Engineers, but a pair of losses to Clarkson and St. Lawrence saw RPI back into the 8th and final playoff spot which is accompanied by a less-than-desirable trip to face Cornell in the ECAC Quarterfinals next weekend. After falling 2-1 to Clarkson on Friday night, the Engineers saw a repeat on the scoreboard in a 2-1 loss to SLU on Saturday, despite playing significantly better than they did the night before.



Le Donne

Van der Bliek

Clarkson struck early in the first period, netting a pair of goals on a delayed penalty and the ensuing power play – the rules having been changed this season so that a goal on a delayed penalty does not wave off the penalty. With the net empty and the extra attacker on for the delayed call, Clarkson defenseman Vanessa Plante fired a shot through traffic which Sonja van der Bliek stopped, but Juana Baribeau was there for the Knights to put home the rebound for a 1-0 lead.

A minute into the ensuing power play, it was another rebound shot that put Clarkson up 2-0. Melissa Waldie put a shot off van der Bliek which Jamie-Lee Rattray corralled and put past the sprawling netminder to double the Knights’ lead.

Rattray would factor in the game’s next goal as well, but for the wrong reason. Sent off for hooking, Rattray watched from the penalty box as the Engineers cycled in the offensive zone, feeding a pass to Andie Le Donne, who rifled a shot toward the net. Taylor Horton tipped the shot in front and past Clarkson goalie Erica Howe to cut the lead to 2-1.

The Engineers would go on to dominate the second period, posting an 8-3 advantage in shots, but couldn’t solve Howe in net. The tide turned back in Clarkson’s favor in the third, and although the Knights didn’t score another, it wasn’t for lack of trying behind a whopping 15 shots on goal. With van der Bliek on the bench late in regulation in favor of an extra attacker, Clarkson had several opportunities at the empty net, but rang one shot off the post and had another stopped by freshman Toni Sanders to keep it at 2-1. RPI would manage just 4 shots in the final frame and Clarkson would hold on for the 2-1 victory.

The loss dropped RPI into a 3-way tie for 8th place and set up a must-win game for the regular season finale if the Engineers wanted to be guaranteed a playoff spot. As we would find out on Saturday, the Engineers would choose the hard way to get into the playoffs instead.

St. Lawrence


Le Donne/Vadner

Van der Bliek

With SLU sitting in 7th place and RPI in 8th, just two points back, the standings had set up a big showdown in the regular season’s final game on Saturday. A win by RPI would move them into a tie with SLU, and even with two other teams in range to tie, RPI would have held all the tiebreakers and been guaranteed the 7th spot. Instead, the Engineers settled for a disappointing loss on Senior Night, but made the playoffs anyway thanks to Colgate and Yale both losing.

Saturday was RPI’s turn for an early goal, and it came just 52 seconds into the first period when Alisa Harrison picked up a rebound in a scramble beside SLU netminder Maxie Weisz. Harrison poked the puck home for a 1-0 lead before the game’s first minute had elapsed.

After the early goal, the teams settled down a little and played several minutes of exciting back-and-forth hockey, with both goaltenders forced to make some impressive saves. After being bottled up for some time by a tenacious SLU forecheck near the middle of the period, a series of RPI turnovers were quickly converted by the Saints’ Lauren Brozowski who broke across the crease with the puck and beat van der Bliek to tie the game at one.

Karell Emard notched the deciding goal for the Saints in the middle of the second period as she fired a laser over van der Bliek’s glove on a 2-on-2 rush down ice. RPI would get a chance at the equalizer with 1:36 left in the second, as Amanda Castignetti broke past the Saints defense on a breakaway. Castignetti was hooked from behind and the official signaled penalty shot, but RPI coach John Burke elected to make use of the rule allowing the coach to opt for a 2-minute minor in place of a penalty shot.

This proved to be a missed opportunity for the Engineers as 26 second later, a SLU player dove into the boards under pressure from Jordan Smelker and drew a boarding call to negate the lion’s share of the RPI power play. Although RPI would get several good chances at the tying score, including nearly two minutes of extra attacker play, Weisz would hold strong for the Saints and secure the 7th seed for St. Lawrence.

With the loss, RPI ended the season with 18 points, tied with Colgate and Yale on the season. By virtue of head-to-head record, RPI won the 3-way tie and secured the 8th spot and a trip to Ithaca next weekend to face Cornell.

Here are the matchups for the ECAC Quarterfinals:

No. 1 Cornell vs. No. 8 RPI – Lynah Rink (Ithaca, NY)
No. 2 Harvard vs. No. 7 SLU – Bright Hockey Center (Boston, MA)
No. 3 Dartmouth vs. No. 6 Clarkson – Thompson Arena (Hanover, NH)
No. 4 Princeton vs. No. 5 Quinnipiac – Baker Rink (Princeton, NJ)

Keep an eye out during the week for a preview of the RPI-Cornell series, along with a brief summary of the other three matchups.


RPI vs. Clarkson
ECAC Hockey Game –Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
2/18/11 – 7:00pm
Clarkson 2, RPI 1

RECORD: 10-15-7 (8-11-2 ECAC)


RPI vs. St. Lawrence
ECAC Hockey Game – Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
2/19/11 – 4:00pm
SLU 2, RPI 1

RECORD: 10-16-7 (8-12-2 ECAC)


Final ECAC Standings
                   Pts      ECAC     All
1. Cornell 41 20-1-1 26-2-1
2. Harvard 31 14-5-3 15-10-4
3. Dartmouth 30 15-7 19-9
4. Princeton 27 13-8-1 16-12-1
5. Quinnipiac 25 12-9-1 20-11-3
6. Clarkson 24 10-8-4 13-15-6
7. St. Lawrence 22 11-11 16-16-2
8. Rensselaer 18 8-12-2 10-16-7
9. Colgate 18 8-12-2 11-19-3
10. Yale 18 8-12-2 9-17-3
11. Brown 6 1-17-4 2-23-4
12. Union 4 1-19-2 2-29-3

Upcoming Games

Feb. 25-27 – ECAC Quarterfinals at Cornell (best-of-3, game times TBA)
Mar. 3 (Thu)– ECAC Semifinals (campus sites of top 2 remaining seeds)
Mar. 5 (Sat) – ECAC Finals (3pm, at the top remaining seed)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Vocational Training

A Clarkson hockey player prepares for life after college.

RPI needed a win tonight to get back on track for a first-round bye, and they got it in fine fashion, putting up a 5-1 road victory over Clarkson, with five unanswered Engineer goals after Clarkson took an early 1-0 lead.

RPI picked up scoring from some unlikely sources, which was sorely needed. Matt Tinordi and Guy Leboeuf picked up their first collegiate points, while Alex Angers-Goulet turned in a fine performance and capped the night off with a shorthanded breakaway goal to make it 5-1 with 4.5 seconds left.

Although Cornell defeated Dartmouth and RPI stands in 5th place in the ECAC, the win snaps RPI's losing streak and sets them up for a big regular season finale next weekend against Princeton and Quinnipiac.

Earlier this afternoon, the RPI women fell to St. Lawrence, but backed into 8th place in the ECAC by virtue of Colgate and Yale losses. The Engineers will get to travel to Ithaca next weekend for a best-of-three series against Cornell in the ECAC quarterfinals.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Women's Hockey - Mid-Weekend Update

The Engineers fell 2-1 to Clarkson this evening in a hard fought game at Houston Field House. Unfortunately, the loss, when coupled with the other results across the league, put RPI in a 3-way tie for the 8th and final playoff spot with Colgate and Yale. The Engineers trail 7th place St. Lawrence (who they play tomorrow) by 2 points, but are out of reach of any higher position. Brown and Union are both far removed from the playoff race in 11th and 12th and will not factor into the scenarios (except for one particular scenario where Brown can influence a tiebreak by keeping Quinnipiac out of the top 4).

With tomorrow marking the last game of the regular season for all 12 ECAC teams, let’s take a minute to take a look at the possible outcomes of tomorrow’s games as they relate to RPI’s playoff aspirations.

A. If RPI defeats St. Lawrence, RPI would move to 20 points on the season and would be tied with St. Lawrence who currently stands at 20. Colgate and Yale would also be involved in potential tiebreakers based on the results of their games tomorrow. The tiebreakers are all detailed below, but all combinations based on this RPI/SLU result end up with RPI in 7th traveling to Harvard, and SLU in 8th traveling to Cornell.

  1. If Colgate defeats Dartmouth AND Yale defeats Princeton: RPI, Yale, SLU, and Colgate would be in a 4-way tie for 7th. Based on head-to-head records among tied teams, RPI would win the 7th spot with a 4-1-1 record (SLU 4-2, Colgate 2-4, Yale 1-4-1). The remaining three teams would tie for 8th place and the tiebreaker would be applied again. SLU would win the 8th spot with a 4-0 record (Yale 1-3, Colgate 1-3). RPI would travel to Harvard next weekend in the ECAC quarterfinals.
  2. If Colgate defeats Dartmouth AND Princeton defeats Yale: RPI, SLU, and Colgate would be in a 3-way tie for 7th. Based on head-to-head records among tied teams, RPI would win the 7th spot with a 3-1 record (SLU 2-2, Colgate 1-3). SLU and Colgate would then tie for 8th place and the tiebreaker would be applied again. SLU would win the 8th spot with a 2-0 record over Colgate. RPI would travel to Harvard next weekend in the ECAC quarterfinals.
  3. If Dartmouth defeats Colgate AND Yale defeats Princeton: RPI, SLU, and Yale would be in a 3-way tie for 7th. Based on head-to-head records among tied teams, RPI would win the 7th spot with a 3-0-1 record (SLU 2-2, Yale 0-3-1). SLU and Yale would then tie for 8th place and the tiebreaker would be applied again. SLU would win the 8th spot with a 2-0 record over Yale. RPI would travel to Havard next weekend in the ECAC quarterfinals.
  4. If Dartmouth defeats Colgate AND Princeton defeats Yale: The Engineers would be in a 2-way tie for 7th place with St. Lawrence and would win the 7th seed based on a 2-0 head-to-head record. SLU would capture the 8th spot. RPI would travel to Harvard next weekend in the ECAC quarterfinals.
  5. Ties in either of the Dartmouth/Colgate and Princeton/Yale games do not affect the Engineers’ final position, RPI wins all the tiebreakers that could result based on head-to-head record and finishes in 7th.

B. If RPI loses to St. Lawrence: RPI would stay at 18 points on the season while SLU would move to 22. SLU would clinch 7th place.

  1. If Colgate defeats Dartmouth AND Yale defeats Princeton: Colgate and Yale would tie for 8th place with 20 points. Colgate and Yale split their season series (first tiebreak). Both would have 9 wins on the season (second tiebreak). Record against top 4 teams would determine which of Colgate/Yale makes the playoffs (third tiebreak), but either way RPI would miss the playoffs. Assuming Quinnipiac defeats Brown, Colgate would win the tiebreak based on record against Cornell, Harvard, Dartmouth, and Quinnipiac and take the 8th spot. If Brown upset the Bobcats, Yale would win the tiebreak based on record against Cornell, Harvard, Dartmouth, and Princeton and take the 8th spot.
  2. If Colgate defeats Dartmouth AND Princeton defeats Yale: Colgate would capture the 8th spot with 20 points and RPI/Yale would miss the playoffs.
  3. If Dartmouth defeats Colgate AND Yale defeats Princeton: Yale would capture the 8th spot with 20 points and RPI/Colgate would miss the playoffs.
  4. If Dartmouth defeats Colgate AND Princeton defeats Yale: RPI, Yale, and Colgate would be in a 3-way tie for 8th place. Based on head-to-head record among the 3 teams, RPI would capture the final playoff spot with a 2-1-1 record (Yale would be 1-2-1, Colgate would be 2-2). Yale and Colgate would be eliminated. RPI would travel to Cornell next weekend in the ECAC quarterfinals.
  5. Ties in either of the Dartmouth/Colgate and Princeton/Yale games do not affect the Engineers’ final position; RPI would be eliminated if either game ends in a tie.

C. If RPI and St. Lawrence tie: RPI would move to 19 points while SLU would move to 21. SLU would capture the 7th playoff spot and travel to Harvard.

  1. If Colgate defeats Dartmouth AND Yale defeats Princeton: Colgate and Yale would tie for 8th. The tiebreakers would apply as shown in (B)(1) above, and RPI would be eliminated.
  2. If Colgate defeats Dartmouth AND Princeton defeats Yale: Colgate would capture 8th place with 20 points and RPI would be eliminated.
  3. If Colgate defeats Dartmouth AND Princeton ties Yale: Colgate would capture 8th place with 20 points and RPI would be eliminated.
  4. If Dartmouth defeats Colgate AND Yale defeats Princeton: Yale would capture 8th place with 20 points and RPI would be eliminated.
  5. If Dartmouth defeats Colgate AND Princeton defeats Yale: RPI would capture the 8th spot with 19 points and Colgate/Yale would miss the playoffs.
  6. If Dartmouth defeats Colgate AND Princeton ties Yale: RPI and Yale would tie for 8th place, but RPI would capture the final playoff spot based on a 1-0-1 record head-to-head. RPI would travel to Cornell.
  7. If Colgate ties Dartmouth AND Yale defeats Princeton: Yale would capture 8th place with 20 points and RPI would be eliminated.
  8. If Colgate ties Dartmouth AND Princeton defeats Yale: RPI and Colgate would tie for 8th place with 19 points. The teams split the season series (first tiebreak). They would each have 8 wins. (second tiebreak). RPI wins the tiebreak on record against top 4 regardless of whether that includes Princeton or Quinnipiac, thanks to the Engineers’ wins over Harvard and Dartmouth earlier in the season. RPI would take the 8th spot and travel to Cornell.
  9. If Colgate ties Dartmouth AND Princeton ties Yale: RPI, Colgate, and Yale would be in a 3-way tie for 8th place. RPI would capture the 8th spot based on head-to-head record as outlined in (B)(4) above and travel to Cornell.

The fact of the matter is, if RPI wins tomorrow, they make the playoffs, and as a bonus avoid an all-but-guaranteed crushing defeat at Cornell next weekend in the ECAC quarterfinals. If RPI loses, they depend on both Dartmouth and Princeton to win just to make the playoffs; even then the Engineers are stuck in the 8th spot, traveling to Ithaca for the worst possible matchup in the ECAC. IF RPI and SLU tie, the Engineers either miss the playoffs or travel to Cornell, which again is a very bad thing for RPI.

One game left, and RPI needs to win it. It’s that simple.

This is Not Over

I could go on and on here about how this is an important weekend, but they're all important weekends. Still, after the men and women combined to go 0-for-4 last weekend during crunch time, we're need a little pep talk.

Content warning.

It's win or go home for the women. It's win or play in the first weekend of March for the men.

Time to make it loud.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tonight's Podcast: Jason Klump

It's been a tough week for RPI fans, but fear not... Allen York is expected to play this weekend, and Mike Bergin is might be back as well. Keep your fingers crossed.

Of course, the big news around here has been from the fallout of last Saturday night. Our guest this week was at the center of that story - Jason Klump. He was the reporter that was the subject of verbal abuse from the ECAC's Paul Stewart for asking about the refereeing job that led the Houston Field House crowd to begin resembling an angry mob. We'll ask him for his insight on the whole matter and what he's learned from the whole situation. Since he's been to all kinds of ECAC games, we'll get his impression on the league, find out who's been the most impressive, and get his take on who might be up for awards in the ECAC.

Both the men and the women are taking on St. Lawrence and Clarkson this weekend, and for the women, it's do or die. If they don't pick up some points at home, their season could come to an abrupt, disappointing end. For the men, it's an opportunity for redemption after a lousy weekend. We'll talk about the Golden Knights and Saints as well.

We are live tonight at 8pm. Come check us out by clicking "Listen to Without a Peer" in the upper right-hand corner. You can use that link, or the iTunes link, to listen to our past shows as well. For instance, last week we talked to USCHO's Jayson Moy and got some insight into the PairWise Rankings and bracketlogy. It's a must listen if you haven't already experienced it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What We Know


There are two games remaining in the season.

Cornell (39 points) has clinched first place and will have home ice throughout the ECAC playoffs.

Harvard (29 points) has clinched home ice for the first round and can clinch second place and home ice through the first two rounds of the ECAC playoffs with with a win or tie over Colgate OR a Dartmouth loss or tie against Cornell.

Dartmouth (26 points) can clinch home ice for the first round with a win or tie over Cornell OR a Princeton loss or tie at Brown.

Quinnipiac (24 points) can clinch home ice for the first round with a win at Yale AND a Princeton loss or tie at Brown due to their superior record against the top three teams as compared to the Tigers.

Princeton (23 points) has clinched a playoff berth. They cannot clinch home ice on Friday.

This is where things start to get murky.

Clarkson (20 points) did not clinch a playoff berth yesterday due to their loss to St. Lawrence, they could have done so with a win or a tie. They can accomplish the same with a win over RPI on Friday.

RPI (18 points) is in seventh place by virtue of its tiebreaker wins (for now) over Colgate and St. Lawrence (overall record against Colgate/SLU, the lone win over SLU). The Engineers cannot clinch a playoff berth on Friday due to an uncertain tiebreaker with St. Lawrence, who they face on Saturday.

St. Lawrence (18 points) is in eighth place by virtue of its tiebreaker win over Colgate (swept the season series). They cannot clinch a playoff berth on Saturday due to the uncertain tiebreaker with RPI.

Colgate (18 points) is in ninth place due to its tiebreaker losses to RPI and St. Lawrence. Their fate is difficult to determine but is helped significantly by the fact that RPI and St. Lawrence must play each other on Saturday. However, they would be eliminated on Friday with a loss AND wins by both the Engineers and the Saints due to tiebreaker losses.

Yale (16 points) is in tenth place, and would be eliminated on Friday with a loss AND wins or ties from two of the teams tied for seventh.

Brown (5 points) and Union (4 points) are eliminated from playoff consideration.


There are four games left in the regular season.

Functionally (not mathematically true yet), Union and Yale have secured first round byes, RPI and Princeton have secured home ice in the first round, and Harvard will be on the road in the first round. Clarkson, Quinnipiac, and Brown are functionally out for the first round bye.

Mathematically, Union, Yale, Dartmouth, and Cornell have secured at least home ice in the first round. Colgate has been eliminated from home ice contention altogether, while St. Lawrence and Harvard are eliminated from contention for the first round bye.

As of now, Dartmouth, Cornell, and RPI are still mathematically alive for the Cleary Cup, but only Union and Yale are functionally alive.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Engineer Bracketology: Week 6

The PairWise Rankings are an objective method of determining the NCAA tournament field. It does not care if your stud goaltender is sitting out with a concussion. It doesn't factor in referee screwjobs. All it concerns itself with is wins and losses. Did your team win, and who did they beat? Did your team lose, and who did they lose to?

Once February arrives, it is worse to lose to good teams than it is to lose to bad teams. That's just the plain truth of the PairWise. After the Engineers lost to last-place Colgate on Friday, their PairWise drop was minimal - from 7th to 8th, still a #2 seed. After losing to Cornell? Well, you be the judge.

1. Yale
2. Boston College*
3. North Dakota*
4. Denver
5. Merrimack
6. Minnesota-Duluth
7. Union*
8. Nebraska-Omaha
9. New Hampshire
10. Michigan
11. Miami
12. Notre Dame*
13. Dartmouth
14. Rensselaer
15. Wisconsin
16. Western Michigan
17. Boston University
18. Colorado College
19. Maine
20. Minnesota
21. Ferris State
22. Princeton
23. Minnesota State
24. RIT*
25. Alaska
26. Cornell
27. St. Cloud State
28. Robert Morris
29. Alaska-Anchorage

In: Miami
Out: Western Michigan

In: St. Cloud State
Out: Michigan State, Ohio State

The plain truth is that almost nothing went right for Rensselaer last weekend - from the aforementioned issues that made competing itself difficult, to the final results, to the results elsewhere in the nation.

How does that effect the bracket? Well, now it looks like this:

1. Yale
2. Nebraska-Omaha
3. Michigan
4. RIT

1. Boston College
2. Union
3. New Hampshire
4. Wisconsin

Green Bay
1. North Dakota
2. Minnesota-Duluth
3. Miami
4. Rensselaer

St. Louis
1. Denver
2. Merrimack
3. Notre Dame
4. Dartmouth

Well, that's annoying, now isn't it? You lose to Colgate and you're still a #2 seed. You lose to Cornell and you're all the way down to a #4 team, which, by definition is a bubble team, playing against one of the top teams in the nation. Remember, in this scenario, we presume that the top teams in each conference is going to win the league championship. But what if it doesn't play out that way?

Say this is the final PairWise after Maine has just won the Hockey East tournament. Whoops. Bye bye Wisconsin. Oh, Minnesota just put together a cinderella run through the WCHA tournament and hoisted the Broadmoor Trophy? Well, make it 16 straight seasons without an NCAA bid for us.

So what's happened? Well, we're still waiting and hoping for Brown and Niagara to pop back up in the TUC ranks. That hasn't happened yet. The loss to Cornell on Saturday also makes them public enemy number one for Rensselaer's NCAA chances. Why? Because they represent 2 TUC losses.

Rensselaer's TUC record is still actually fairly decent. Right now, it's at 7-5-2. That's enough to win a number of comparisons, including those with Notre Dame and New Hampshire (thanks to COp wins as well). But it's also not enough to best some top teams in the PWR. What if we were to drop those two Cornell losses? 7-3-2 is much better. Best case scenario? Brown and Niagara rise up, Cornell drops out. 10-3-2. That's hard to beat. And that is why one cannot simply root for one's own team and hope for the best when it comes to the PairWise.

So now's about the time that we want to look at the TUC cliff.

25. Cornell (.5091)
26. Alaska (.5091)
27. St. Cloud State (.5083)
28. Robert Morris (.5044)
29. Alaska-Anchorage (.5032)
30. Bemidji State (.5000)
31. Northern Michigan (.4996)
32. Quinnipiac (.4995)
33. Ohio State (.4928)
34. Lake Superior State (.4978)
35. Brown (.4938)
36. Michigan State (.4928)
37. Clarkson (.4922)
38. Niagara (.4920)

Before you ask... Bemidji State isn't a TUC because their RPI simply rounds up to .5000, but it's still technically under it.

OK, so this doesn't look all that great for the Engineers' immediate prospects. Cornell is looking good where they are - even one loss right now might not knock them down (unless, maybe, it's against Harvard). Brown and Niagara, it seems, are going to need to string some wins together.

Then there's Clarkson and Quinnipiac. We already know that we don't want Clarkson as a TUC even if Rensselaer picks up a victory on Saturday, because they still bring down the overall TUC record. Hopefully, an Engineers win would help keep that from happening anyway. Quinnipiac, as of right now, would do the same, but we're in need of some TUC help, and that could come via the Bobcats if Rensselaer picks up a win on Senior Night in two weeks. In fact, that last home weekend could be very important, since it could potentially create two additional TUC victories. So what do we want to do with Quinnipiac right now? Let's root for them and hope for the best in two weeks.

I'm going to bold this next sentence because it's an important concept: the removal of Cornell as a TUC and/or the return of Brown as a TUC will do more for Rensselaer's NCAA chances than the Engineers themselves can do. And that's why what happens elsewhere is just as important.

Now, let's examine some comparisons. We need to flip as many of these as possible to stay in a good position.

Dartmouth: It doesn't appear that Rensselaer is going to be able to catch the Big Green in COp unless something drastic happens. Fortunately, those two H2H wins mean we only need to flip one out of RPI/TUC/COp to win this comparison, and right now it's close on RPI - very close. Problem is, Dartmouth plays Cornell this week. We do want Cornell out as a TUC, but a Dartmouth win helps them in both RPI and TUC. Hmm. Remember, we're still thinking long-term. Dartmouth's win would push Cornell closer to that cliff. If Cornell exits the TUC ranks, this comparison flips to Rensselaer on TUC.

Miami: Since the only COp is Bowling Green and Miami won all four games against the Falcons, this one is RPI/TUC only, and as we know that means it's RPI only due to the tiebreak. It's close. Engineers win, Miami loses. That simple.

Michigan: 3-0 for Michigan right now, but RPI/TUC are close and have to be flipped back. Michigan, Cornell, and Alaska (Wolverines 3-0-1 against Nanooks) lose, Rensselaer and Brown win. Also simple.

Nebraska-Omaha: Here's a case where there's an otherwise uninteresting TUC that's really providing some juice for someone else. In this case, UNO has a 3-0-1 record against St. Cloud State, which became a TUC this week. Throw in the TUC problems Rensselaer is having, and there's the crux of the problem here. We have to root against SCSU. Otherwise, RPI is fairly close too, so we also root against the Mavericks - not that we haven't already been doing that.

The other comparisons that Rensselaer is losing are not close to flipping right now due to an RPI gap - seven in all. But these four flipping to the Engineers would put them right back into a comfortable position.

So here's what we're looking for this week.

Engineer Cheering Section
St. Lawrence over Clarkson

Niagara over Canisius

Rensselaer over St. Lawrence
Union over Clarkson
Colgate over Dartmouth
Harvard over Cornell
Brown over Princeton
Quinnipiac over Yale
UMass over Merrimack
Northeastern over Boston College
Providence over Boston University
Vermont over New Hampshire
Ferris State over Notre Dame
Bowling Green over Northern Michigan
Western Michigan ties Michigan
North Dakota over St. Cloud State
Alaska-Anchorage over Nebraska-Omaha
Minnesota over Wisconsin
Colorado College over Bemidji State

Rensselaer over Clarkson
St. Lawrence over Union
Brown over Quinnipiac
Dartmouth over Cornell
Providence over Boston University
UMass over Merrimack
Vermont over New Hampshire
Northeastern over Boston College
Niagara over Canisius
RIT over Robert Morris
Ferris State over Notre Dame
Bowling Green over Northern Michigan
Michigan ties Western Michigan
North Dakota over St. Cloud State
Alaska-Anchorage over Nebraska-Omaha
Minnesota over Wisconsin
Colorado College over Bemidji State

Princeton over Yale

WMU/Michigan series: A tricky one, this. Michigan is one of those flippable comparisons, but we don't want the WMU comparison to flip back in the Broncos' favor, either, since we know from prior editions of EB the last thing we want is WMU getting more TUC wins. Michigan State dropping out as a TUC is keeping that one in Rensselaer's favor. So here's what we want - a split, or two ties, with the Engineers sweeping in the North Country, and it should help both situations out a touch.

NU/BC series: This isn't as important as it was last week, but just in case the Engineers can get back where they were (and that's not impossible - you can rise in the PWR just as fast as you can fall), that COp with BC hinges on NU winning one of these games. They almost pulled it off last night, losing in overtime in the Beanpot final, 7-6.

PC/BU series: Wait, you say. We're supposed to root for BU, they're one of our non-conference opponents. Well, not this week. They're a little too close for comfort in the PWR, we don't want them to potentially displace the Engineers. Plus, we aren't worried about any COp comparison with the Friars, and we've got more important things to worry about than BU's residual RPI impact. Take Providence.

Brown/Quinnipiac: We do want Quinnipiac to be in position to be a TUC at the end of the year, but as I've said over and over and over again, we really want Brown to be a TUC at the end of the year. That trumps here - QU will have other chances to pick up wins against teams we aren't in desperate need with.