Friday, February 4, 2011

This Week is Fired

It's finally Friday.

As I mentioned on the podcast a couple of weeks back, I'm now working for the Troy Record covering high school sports. You'd think, therefore, that with all the snow we've been getting, that would make my job easier. In fact, it makes it more difficult. That was a big factor in the reason that I was unable to produce a podcast this week. My most sincere apologies - hopefully, next week's guest will make up for that.

Anyway... enough of that. It's Friday. It's time for hockey.

A four-game losing streak has the women's team reeling, and they are in desperate need of wins. Two weeks ago we were talking about shooting for home ice, now the Engineers are two points away from being out of the playoffs altogether. Not scoring a goal in over 190 minutes - the longest goalless streak in the program's history - will do that. Fortunately, the Yale/Brown travel pairing, the easiest in the league by total points, is coming to Troy. Brown is in town tonight, and they're due a little payback from the shutout they dealt in Providence, two crucial points that RPI lost earlier this season. If they don't win tonight, the playoffs at all will start to look very bleak.

The men are a very different story. A five game winning streak now includes the impressive scalp of the top team in the nation (now down to #3), and the Engineers are clearly loaded for bear every time they hit the ice. They finally face Quinnipiac and Princeton for the first time this season, and this is no easy task. First, it's on the road, where RPI's record is more pedestrian. Second, Quinnipiac has some solid wins under their belts, including a home sweep of Nebraska-Omaha. They've been flat out dangerous since that series, played on the final two days of December. Only Cornell has been able to defeat the Bobcats since then, and it was an overtime loss. Of course, it's worth pointing out that since UNO, Quinnipiac's played Colgate/Cornell, Canisius twice, and Clarkson/St. Lawrence... but winning does build confidence.

Tomorrow, they visit nationally-ranked Princeton in another important game, as the Tigers are just ahead of RPI in the standings. A weekend sweep for the Engineers would guarantee themselves no lower than third place in the ECAC, a good place to be with three weeks left in the season.

Quite simply, both teams just need to be to hot to handle this weekend. Let's get it pumped.

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