Monday, October 31, 2011

Men's Hockey - Colorado College (28/29 Oct)

For the third consecutive weekend, the Engineers have gone up against one of the top teams in the nation, and for the third consecutive weekend, they've walked away without a win. This past weekend, it was a pair of 4-1 losses to the then-third ranked Colorado College Tigers, but just as with the other two weekends, they were in games that were filled with optimistic signs for RPI.




The injury bug continues to be a problem for the Engineers, and it got a bit worse when it was revealed late Friday that freshman Matt Neal, who had just gone 11-for-14 at the faceoff dot against Notre Dame, would be out with injury. Brock Higgs missed his fourth consecutive game, as did Marty O'Grady, while Jacob Laliberte was out for the second straight match. All four of those guys are either regular centers, or have been capable replacements, leaving RPI with a dearth of their best guys in the circle.

Colorado College got out of the box quickly with a nice cross-crease pass from Scott Winkler to Rylan Schwartz that the elder Schwartz brother one-timed to the back of the net, giving the Tigers the lead just 4:10 into things. The first period, however, proved to be fairly even outside of the scoring, as RPI leveled 10 shots on CC's Joe Howe, just one less than the Tigers fired at Bryce Merriam.

While the RPI power play has struggled all season to date, it certainly didn't help any that on all of their first three opportunities on Friday, they took a penalty themselves to negate the advantage - which led to shortened opportunities for CC on three of their first four power plays. When Josh Rabbani was called for boarding to negate an RPI power play, the Tigers converted once their player was out of the box, and it was Rylan Schwartz doing it again with 14 seconds left in the second period, putting the Tigers up 2-0.

It could have been the worst possible time to allow a goal, but the Engineers pounced on a Tigers squad that looked like it had one leg back in the dressing room already. Only 10 seconds after CC went up by two, Patrick Cullen scored his first goal of the season from Guy Leboeuf to bring RPI back within one and send the teams off for the second intermission with a charged up crowd.

RPI finally got what would be its only full two-minute power play opportunity of the game midway through the third period, but they were unable to convert, as Joe Howe made a number of big saves to keep his team on top throughout the final frame. With just over two minutes left in regulation and a faceoff coming in the CC zone, RPI called timeout and pulled Merriam for the extra skater, but a boarding call against C.J. Lee just 14 seconds after the puck dropped disrupted the Engineers' plans significantly. Once RPI cleared the puck, Merriam was pulled again, but the Tigers would pick up a pair of empty netters in the final 30 seconds - the first a very slow dribbler that the RPI defense simply couldn't catch up to - for a 4-1 final score.

That score certainly didn't underscore the closeness of the game, which, given the number of injuries the Engineers were in the process of enduring, was a pretty solid result against one of the best teams in the nation when you remove the empty netters. Both of their goals were scored by one of the best lines in the nation, featuring Winkler and the Schwartz brothers.




Scott Diebold making his second career start was the only lineup change overall for the Engineers on Saturday, and, much as in his first start, the freshman goaltender had a sharp game that was well played but was not enough to result in a victory.

CC's first goal on Saturday was a bit of a fluky one, though they count just as much as the pretty ones do. During RPI's second power play opportunity midway through the first period, Alexander Krushelnyski was stopped on a shorthanded opportunity with a beautiful save by Diebold, and then flung the puck back on net from a practically impossible angle, the puck curling behind Diebold and into the net - the RPI goaltender never saw the shot, and in fact was still looking for the play for a couple of seconds before realizing the puck had somehow ended up behind him.

RPI played a physical game on Friday, but it was even more physical on Saturday for sure. They seemed to have a goal of punishing anyone in black who even looked at the puck, and it helped keep them in the game even if it generally kept shot totals down on both sides of the ice.

About a minute after C.J. Lee picked up his third penalty of the weekend, the Engineers picked up a shorthanded goal to compliment CC's shorty earlier in the game, this one coming from senior Alex Angers-Goulet, who has long been one of RPI's better penalty killers anyway. His goal from Nick Bailen tied things up at one, but the Engineers still had over a minute left to kill on the Lee penalty.

The Tigers bounced back right away with a laser of a pinpointed shot from Winkler, who placed the puck perfectly in the corner of the net past a screened Diebold to give CC the lead once again just 51 seconds later. CC dominated the shot count in the second period, but Diebold came up big with 12 saves to keep RPI firmly in the game heading into the third.

A defensive breakdown took place in the middle part of the third period leading to CC's third goal - and given that the beat-up Engineers had been skating with the prolifically speedy Tigers all weekend, it's not surprising that the sixth period would expose a mistake at some point. Rylan Schwartz picked up his third goal of the weekend (and fifth in four games against RPI in the last two years) after Diebold and Leboeuf were left alone in the RPI zone, giving CC a 3-1 edge.

RPI certainly refused to go away, and they continued working to crawl back within one. A decent opportunity on the power play three minutes after the Schwartz goal created good opportunities, but again Joe Howe showed why he is one of the best goaltenders in the nation with some excellent play keeping RPI out of the back of the net.

As he's shown all year long, Seth Appert is not afraid to go for it, even down by two, and Diebold was pulled from the net with just over two minutes left to play, and for the fifth straight game, an empty netter was the result as Jaden Schwartz, popularly considered the better of the brothers, picked up his only goal of the weekend.

So despite running with one of the best teams in the nation for the better part of 120 minutes, the far-less-than-100% Engineers still walked away with their fourth and fifth straight losses, and yet, as the ECAC schedule gets underway next weekend, there's still plenty to be optimistic about going forward. The team has played great physical hockey, decent defense, and they have shown an ability to move the puck. The biggest issue thus far has been finishing, which was difficult even in the first weekend against Minnesota State, but next to impossible against top defenses like Ferris State and Colorado College (both tied for 5th in the nation on D).

Other junk - The sweep of RPI, coupled with Denver's 1-point weekend against Michigan Tech, pushed the Tigers from #3 to #2 with five first place votes, still behind #1 Boston College. Ranked ECAC teams this week are #9 Yale (tied Princeton and beat Dartmouth, up one with one first place vote), #13 Union (lost to UNH and beat AIC, down two), #18 Colgate (split with Niagara, down two) and #19 Quinnipiac (idle, up one). Also ranked are #6 Notre Dame (swept Bowling Green, down one) and #10 Ferris State (swept by #3 Michigan, down four). Also receiving votes were Clarkson (47), Dartmouth (30), Cornell (ex-#19, 11), and Harvard (7).

#3 Colorado College at RPI
Non-Conference Game - Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
10/28/11 - 7:00pm

RESULT: Colorado College 4, RPI 1




RECORD: 1-5-0 (0-0-0 ECAC)

Reale Deals
1. G Bryce Merriam, 30 saves
2. F Patrick Cullen, 1 G
3. D Pat Koudys, 2 shots, +1

#3 Colorado College at RPI
Non-Conference Game - Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
10/29/11 - 7:00pm

RESULT: Colorado College 4, RPI 1




RECORD: 1-6-0 (0-0-0 ECAC)

Reale Deals
1. F Alex Angers-Goulet, 1 G
2. G Scott Diebold, 23 saves
3. F Ryan Haggerty, 4 shots

Upcoming games
04 Nov - at Clarkson
05 Nov - at St. Lawrence
11 Nov - #9 Yale (Black Friday)
12 Nov - Brown
15 Nov - #13 Union

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Women's Hockey - Quinnipiac & Princeton (28/29 Oct)

With the bulk of non-conference play behind them, it was time for RPI to open up the ECAC schedule with a weekend at home against Quinnipiac and Princeton. Solid play by the Engineers was not reflected on the score sheet as RPI fell 2-0 to the Bobcats on Friday afternoon, before a well-executed game on Saturday resulted in just a 1-1 tie against the Tigers.



Le Donne/Walsh


It was about as physical a game as you could imagine as RPI and Quinnipiac faced off for an early game Friday afternoon, with tenacious forechecking by both teams, play that hovered (for much of the game) on the border of being penalty-worthy, and in more than one instance crossed that border.

Despite a relatively high number of penalties, they wouldn't factor significantly into the outcome of the game, with both teams being held off the board on the power play.

Quinnipiac struck first in the opening frame, when Kelly Babstock put her own rebound past RPI's Kelly O'Brien at 9:11. The Bobcats outshot the Engineers 8-2 leading up to the goal, but RPI turned things around afterward, racking up a 6-0 shot advantage in the minutes following the goal. The teams traded power plays but the 1-0 score held into the intermission with QU outshooting RPI 11-8.

The second period was both scoreless and relatively uneventful, with no scoring and only a pair of penalties. Some of the physical play noted above was evident in the first half of the period as Quinnipiac took some liberties knocking down RPI skaters in the crease with little repercussion. Quinnipiac mounted some pressure late in the period but couldn't muster many scoring chances, with RPI holding a 10-5 shot edge in the frame.

An early third period power play gave the Engineers a few good looks, but it was Quinnipiac who turned around after the penalty and doubled their lead to 2-0. Jordan Elkins ripped a slapshot from the point through traffic, beating O'Brien.

RPI killed off a 5-on-3 in the middle of the third, and wWith nearly three minutes of extra attacker time at the end of regulation, RPI desperately tried to get on the board, but sent more than a few shots wide, and had several blocked by the QU defense. The 2-0 score held up, handing the Engineers a shutout loss in their ECAC opener.



Le Donne/Marzario


After a 2-0 shutout loss on Friday in which the Engineers didn't play particularly poorly, there was promise as RPI was set to face off against an arguably weaker Princeton team on Saturday afternoon. Once again the Engineers found themselves unable to cash in on opportunities for most of the game, but they managed to put one home late in the third to force a 1-1 tie.

Princeton opened up the scoring early, taking a 1-0 lead just 3:42 into play as Kelly Cooke beat Brianna Piper on a rebound off a Corey Stearns shot.

The teams traded power play opportunities several times throughout the second period but once again both were unable to capitalize on their opportunities, with a scoreless second period going by in a hurry, RPI holding an 11-7 shot advantage in the frame.

Getting close to another shutout loss, RPI increased the pressure as the end of regulation drew nearer, until a fortunate flurry of chances with just over two minutes left saw the Engineers draw even.

Eleeza Cox fired a shot from the faceoff circle which Princeton's Rachel Weber turned away, but the rebound slid to Jill Vandegrift who was close to the crease. Vandegrift was also stopped by Weber, but the goalie couldn't control the rebound again, and after several close range shots by Alisa Harrison, RPI's captain finally forced the puck past Weber for the tying goal.

Both teams had several opportunities in overtime, but the 1-1 score held up, and the Engineers were able to salvage a point out of what was an otherwise disappointing end to a pretty well-played weekend.

The Engineers remain home next weekend, hosting the North Country duo of St. Lawrence (7pm Friday) and Clarkson (4pm Saturday). As usual, live stats and video will be available via the RPI Athletics website, with live updates coming via @without_a_peer on Twitter.


RPI vs. Quinnipiac
ECAC Hockey Game – Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
10/28/11 – 3:00pm
QU 2, RPI 0



RECORD: 2-5-2 (0-1 ECAC)


RPI vs. Princeton
ECAC Hockey Game – Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
10/29/11 – 3:00pm
RPI 1, Princeton 1 (OT)



RECORD: 2-5-3 (0-1-1 ECAC)


Upcoming Games

Nov. 4 - St. Lawrence (7pm)
Nov. 5 - Clarkson (4pm)
Nov. 11 - at Brown (7pm)
Nov. 12 - at Yale (4pm)
Nov. 18 - Wisconsin (7pm)
Nov. 19 - Wisconsin (4pm)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Game #7: Colorado College

Here's game two this weekend - again, just a twitter feed while we're at home, but we're certain you'll find it useful.

Stats of the Morning

RPI has lost 4 straight games. Their three opponents in those games have an overall record of 13-4-0 (with two of the losses coming Thursday/Friday as #6 Ferris State was swept by #4 Michigan) and a goals differential of 60-36.

By comparison, Clarkson has won 5 straight games. Their three opponents in those games have an overall record of 2-16-0 and a goals differential of 38-86.

Which team is being better prepared for playing league games?


Jaden Schwartz gets all the attention. It's Rylan that's been burning RPI. He has scored in each of the three games between CC and RPI, with four goals in those contests.


As we mentioned on the Twitter feed last night, the clowns that "analyze" college hockey will look at the 4-1 final and see a solid victory by CC despite two empty netters. Impressively, CC's rivals from Denver had three empty netters scored on them against Michigan Tech, falling 7-2.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Game #6: Colorado College

It's a home game, so our "extra commentary" will be light (we're all at the game, after all), but feel free to enjoy up-to-the-second updates from the game and around the ECAC at our gameday live feed.

That Which Does Not Kill...

Speaking of killing... did you know the Engineers were 4th in the nation on the kill? Not as good as they were heading into last week against Notre Dame, but at 92% (23-for-25), it's certainly a plus to know that RPI's got the defense they need when they're down a man.

They'll need that against a Colorado College power play that will be looking to improve on its weak 1-for-7 showing on the man advantage two weeks ago in its opening weekend against Bemidji State.

These two games against the Tigers represent the last non-conference games of the early-season run for RPI, and as we've well documented here, they've been a doozy - but we agree with Seth Appert, these are the kind of games you want to be playing.

Meanwhile, the women kick off their ECAC schedule, also at home, against Quinnipiac and Princeton, a tough weekend to be sure but a key opportunity for the women to snap out of their four-game slide.

It's a great weekend for hockey in Troy, complete with its very own snowstorm!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Women's Hockey - ECAC Preview

With the ECAC schedule set to kick off for 10 teams this weekend (Cornell and Colgate having already played a game - a 6-2 Cornell win), let's take a quick look around the league and see what we can expect from the Engineers' opposition. Unlike last year's 3-part preview, this one will be condensed into a single installment with a few points on each team, primarily due to the fact that I simply didn't have time to write more. My apologies!

Without further ado - the 2011-2012 ECAC, in order of appearance vs. RPI:


Quinnipiac came remarkably close to upsetting Cornell in the ECAC Semifinals last season, but would end up falling 4-3 and ending a season which saw the Bobcats miss home ice by just two points.

Fortunately for the team from Hamden, they have essentially returned their entire team from last season. With the only two graduates last season being the team's 10th leading scorer and a defenseman who played four games, Quinnipiac can essentially continue right where they left off, with some added input from five new players including goalie Chelsea Laden (runner-up for Minnesota defensive player of the year) and junior transfer Breann Frykas who came to Quinnipiac from Wisconsin.

With nothing but additions to an already solid team, it's no wonder the coaches have Quinnipiac pegged to finish third in the ECAC. If the Bobcats don't manage to secure home ice, it would have to be considered a disappointment. QU is off to a slow start, playing games against solid teams from Mercyhurst, Northeastern, and BC among others, and will likely look forward to digging into the meat of the ECAC schedule.


  • Last Season's Record: 16-14-1, 13-8-1 ECAC (4th)
  • Key Players: Rachel Weber (G, Jr), Olivia Mucha (F, So), Charissa Stadynk (D, Sr)
  • Last Season vs. RPI: 2-1 Princeton (11/5 in Troy), 4-2 Princeton (2/12 in Princeton)
  • 2011-2012 games: 10/29 in Troy, 2/17 in Princeton
  • 2011-2012 Preseason Coaches' Poll: 7th
Last season we commented on Princeton's habit of going on runs during the season just to fall flat in the playoffs. Last year was no exception, as the Tigers won 13 of 15 to end the season before getting swept at home by Quinnipiac. They outperformed the coaches' 6th place prediction to finish 4th and take home ice, and quickly squander it in two games.

This year, the coaches again look for Princeton to finish outside of home ice contention, and it would appear from the competition in league that it would be a fairly likely result. Princeton does return their starting goalie Rachel Weber, along with top scorer Olivia Mucha who lit it up in her freshman campaign last season.

Laura Martindale will be missed by the Tigers, as the defenseman played all 31 games last season and was an anchor on defense. A freshman goalie, forward, and two defenseman will supplement the returning skaters, with the goalie, Ashley Holt, going 46-5-4 in her junior hockey career.

Princeton opened up with a win at home against Northeastern before dropping a 3-1 decision to Niagara last weekend, and will open up their ECAC play this weekend at Union and RPI.


St. Lawrence
After a pair of down seasons that saw them finish in 7th twice, the Saints will look to rebound in a year where they return their eight top scorers and several key defensive players. Sophopmore Caitlyn Lahonen will be the Saints' only returning goaltender; she split the job with senior Maxie Weisz last season, posting a .905 save percentage and 2.44 GAA. Lahonen is joined by freshman Carmen MacDonald, who helped Team Canada U-18 to the 2010 World Championship, leaving the Saints in a fairly good situation in net.

SLU opened the 2011-2012 season with a loss to an always-tought McGill, before going five games without a loss (against Clarkson, UConn, Providence, Niagara, and UNH), dropping their most recent game at BU 3-2 despite racking up a significant shot advantage. Both of the Saints games against Cornell come in the final month of the season, although the two teams also play a non-conference game on January 2. Ending the season against the Big Red could be bad news depending on how badly the Saints end up needing points at the end of the season. Look for them to lock up a playoff spot before the final weekend to take the uncertainty out of the equation.


  • Last Season's Record: 14-17-6, 10-8-4 ECAC (6th)
  • Key Players: Jamie Lee Rattray (F, So), Erica Howe (G, So), Danielle Boudreau (D, Sr), Juana Baribeau (F, Sr)
  • Last Season vs. RPI: 2-1 Clarkson (10/30 in Potsdam), 2-1 Clarkson (2/18 in Troy)
  • 2011-2012 games: 11/5 in Troy, 12/2 in Potsdam
  • 2011-2012 Preseason Coaches' Poll: 5th
  • ECAC Hockey Preview:
Clarkson graduates goalie Lauren Dahm but returns Erica Howe who closed out the season for the Golden Knights, going 10-7-5 in 22 games. All-time leading scorer Melissa Waldie also graduated, and with her goes record-setting point production. Clarkson returns quite a bit of talent, however, including last season's top scorer Jamie Lee Rattray - named Clarkson's Rookie of the Year and an ECAC All-Rookie selection.

So far this year, the Golden Knights are off to a good start, going 4-1-3 in non-conference play, including wins over Providence, Syracuse, UNH, and a tie against BU. Their lone loss so far has come against North Country rival St. Lawrence. Clarkson will look to take some momentum into the ECAC schedule and try to secure home ice with an improvement on least season's 6th place finish.


  • Last Season's Record: 2-23-4, 1-17-4 ECAC (11th)
  • Key Players: Alena Polenska (F, Jr), Laurie Jolin (F, Jr), Paige Pyett (D, Sr)
  • Last Season vs. RPI: 1-0 Brown (11/13 in Providence), 4-2 RPI (2/4 in Troy)
  • 2011-2012 games: 11/11 in Providence, 1/21 in Troy
  • 2011-2012 Preseason Coaches' Poll: 11th
  • ECAC Hockey Preview:
With the departure of longtime head coach Digit Murphy and the arrival of Amy Bourbeau (previously an assistant at Princeton) to take the reigns, it appears Brown was ready to make the changes necessary to return to prominence after sinking to the basement of the ECAC over the past several seasons.

Don't expect the turnaround to happen overnight, though. After finishing 3rd in 2005-2006, Brown has wound up 9th, 10th, 10th, 11th, and 11th in the five seasons since. The Bears statistics are about what you would expect based on the record; their goalies combined for a .897/3.89 last season, they had just two scorers above 10 points (both with 17), and finished 11th and 12th in team offense and defense. It will take some time to turn such stats around.

Brown's only game of the year so far has been a 10-0 plastering of Sacred Heart (the D1 team that plays a mostly D3 schedule yet still loses many of those games). It will be an accomplishment for the Bears to finish better than 11th, but hopefully with a new coaching staff in place they can lay the groundwork for a climb back up the ECAC ladder.


  • Last Season's Record: 9-17-3, 8-12-12 ECAC (T-8th)
  • Key Players: Aleca Hughes (F, Sr), Alyssa Zupon (F, Jr), Heather Grant (D, Sr)
  • Last Season vs. RPI: 4-1 RPI (11/12 in New Haven), 2-2 Tie (2/5 in Troy)
  • 2011-2012 games: 11/12 in New Haven, 1/20 in Troy
  • 2011-2012 Preseason Coaches' Poll: 10th
  • Yale Season Preview:
Yale opens the season looking very similar to last season's team, graduating high scoring Bray Ketchum, defenseman Samantha MacLean, and Lili Rudis who only saw action in two games. The biggest loss for the Bulldogs, however, is goalie Jackee Snikeris, whose .941/1.98 will be missed as Yale looks to find a new go-to netminder.

Whether that job will go to Yale's returning senior and junior goalies who saw limited action last season, or freshman Jaimie Leonoff (who participated in Team Canada's development camp along with playing for Team Quebec U18) remains to be seen. Up front, leading scorer Jackie Raines is in just her sophomore season, as is second leading returning scorer Jenna Ciotti.

Early outings do not bode well for the Bulldogs, who fell 5-1 to Niagara and 7-0 to Northeastern in their first two games last season. Things don't get easier with their first league game on the road at Cornell. Second-year head coach Joakim Flygh will need to get his team rolling in a hurry or it could be a long season en route to an early exit for Yale this year.


  • Last Season's Record: 11-19-3, 8-12-2 ECAC (T-8th)
  • Key Players: Brittany Phillips (F, Jr), Amanda Kirwan (D, Sr), Jenny Klynstra (F, Jr), Kimberly Sass (G, Sr)
  • Last Season vs. RPI: 5-4 RPI (1/15 in Troy), 2-0 Colgate (1/28 in Hamilton)
  • 2011-2012 games: 1/6 in Troy, 2/4 in Hamilton
  • 2011-2012 Preseason Coaches' Poll: 9th
  • ECAC Hockey Preview:
Colgate has spent most of its years in the ECAC as a middle-of-the-pack team, and things look poised to continue that way for the Raiders this season. Colgate will need to improve from the goal crease (where Kimberly Sass posted a .899/2.88 last season) out to make the playoffs this year after missing them on a tiebreaker last season.

Up front, the Raiders return their top two scorers in Brittany Phillips and Jenna Klystra, and bring in just one freshman defenseman, but five rookie forwards may make for a bit of an adjustment period. Given the team's ranking of 10th in both scoring offense and defense last season, too much adjustment time could spell big trouble for this team.

With the cluster of teams that ends up inevitably deadlocked in the 5-10 range in league, Colgate will probably be right in the mix for a playoff spot once again, but could just as easily find themselves on the outside looking in due to a tiebreaker or a game or two gone wrong during the course of the season.


  • Last Season's Record: 31-3-1, 20-1-1 ECAC (1st)
  • Key Players: Amanda Mazzotta (G, Sr), Lauren Slebodnick (G, So), Lauriane Rougeau (D, Jr), Rebecca Johnston (F, Sr), Chelsea Karpenko (F, Sr), Catherine White (F, Sr)
  • Last Season vs. RPI: 6-1 Cornell (1/14 in Troy), 6-0 Cornell (1/29 in Ithaca), 3-2 Cornell (2/25 in Ithaca), 6-1 Cornell (2/26 in Ithaca)
  • 2011-2012 games: 1/7 in Troy, 2/3 in Ithaca
  • 2011-2012 Preseason Coaches' Poll: 1st
  • ECAC Hockey Preview:
Calling Cornell the favorite to win the ECAC this season would be quite a monumental understatement. Coming off their second consecutive trip to the Frozen Four, the Big Red graduated just three players (including a goalie who played just three games) and return their top five scorers (all over 40 points) and entire defensive corps from last season.

With six seniors on the roster (including arguably some of the best players to ever play for the Big Red), this would appear to be a year that Cornell seriously challenges for the first national title to go to anyone other than UMD, Wisconsin, or Minnesota. They have two goaltenders who split time last season, putting up .945/.942 and 1.11/1.15. They have serious scoring talent and everything they need on defense. In their only outing so far this season, they dismantled Colgate 6-2 with a 64-12 shot advantage (Frosh Jillian Saulnier scored FOUR goals).

Cornell will be the team to beat in the ECAC and one of the best in the country, and that's really all there is to say.


  • Last Season's Record: 22-12-0, 15-7-0 ECAC (3rd)
  • Key Players: Camille Dumais (F, Jr), Kelly Foley (F, Sr), Sasha Nanji (D, Jr), Lindsay Holdcroft (G, So)
  • Last Season vs. RPI: 5-2 RPI (1/7 in Troy), 3-0 Dartmouth (1/22 in Hanover)
  • 2011-2012 games: 1/13 in Hanover, 2/11 in Troy
  • 2011-2012 Preseason Coaches' Poll: 4th
  • ECAC Hockey Preview:
After a third place league finish last year which led into back-to-back losses to Cornell in the ECAC Championship and NCAA Quarterfinals (can you say "bad draw"?), Dartmouth looks to build on their success and push for home ice once again in 2011-2012. The Big Green return most of their top scorers along with five defensemen, so should not suffer significantly from an overwhelming freshman influx; continued steady play from the returning players coupled with some early results from the freshman will, however, be needed to overcome the graduation of 100-point scorer Amanda Trunzo.

The Big Green start the season picked to finish 4th in league and with a preseason 10th place national ranking have already garnered some attention on the national stage. A win over McGill and a narrow 4-3 loss to #5 Boston College have highlighted the meager two games in Dartmouth's schedule so far; games against Clarkson, SLU, UNH, and Cornell should prove to be trial by fire for the Big Green as they jump into the remainder of their schedule.


Harvard does not play its first official game of the season until opening up with a pair of ECAC matchups against Clarkson and SLU, although the Crimson did skate to a 3-1 victory over McGill last weekend in an exhibition. The coaches weren't worried about it when picking the Crimson to take second place in the league, though.

Harvard loses several top players to graduation, including Kate Buesser, Liza Ryabkina, Leanna Coskren, and Katharine Chute. Top scorer Jillian Dempsey returns, along with top-scoring defenseman Josephine Pucci, fresh off a gold medal winning trip to Switzerland with Team USA.

Harvard hasn't finished a season without home ice in the playoffs since 1998. When you build a team with such continuous success and consistency, you build a team that recovers quickly from graduation losses and moves forward with little hesitation. Expect Harvard's two forward, two defense, and single goalie freshmen to gel with the team quickly and help propel Harvard in another fight for the top end of the league's standings.


  • Last Season's Record: 2-29-3, 1-19-2 ECAC (12th)
  • Key Players: Kate Gallagher (G, Sr), Lauren Hoffman (F, Jr), Lauren Cromartie (D, Sr)
  • Last Season vs. RPI: 4-1 RPI (12/3 in Schenectady), 3-3 Tie (12/4 in Troy)
  • 2011-2012 games: 1/27 in Schenectady, 1/28 in Troy
  • 2011-2012 Preseason Coaches' Poll: 12th
Long occupying the bottom of the ECAC ladder, it may not be likely that Union makes much of a jump forward this year, but that's not to say the team isn't making strides in the right direction. Under the leadership of head coach Claudia Asano Barcomb and assistants Julie Chu and Ali Boe, the Dutchwomen are slowly but surely building a team that can challenge for a playoff spot.

The Dutchwomen return much of last season's team, but also some significant additions in this year's incoming class. Goaltender Shanae Lundberg, a former USA U-18 player, continues Union's trend of recruiting solid goaltending that can hold them in games, while Syracuse transfer Talia Menard will look to emulate some of her twin sister's success in leading the Orange in scoring last season.

Like Brown, Union has a long road ahead to climb out of the basement, but the dedication of the coaching staff to building Union into a contender is undeniable. Only time will tell how it will pay off.

Today's Podcast: Ken Ralph

Sorry about the short notice, but we worked right up to the last minute to make sure we had everything arranged for our second podcast this week.

Former RPI athletic director Ken Ralph, who now holds the same position at Colorado College, is our guest this afternoon. We'll talk about the CC-RPI meetings, naturally, but we'll also get caught up on how he's been doing out in the Centennial State and get his opinions on the happenings at his old stomping grounds.

We go live this afternoon at 5 p.m. Eastern, and you can check us out by clicking Listen to Without a Peer in the right margin of the page - and feel free to listen any time on demand if you arrive too late for the live broadcast.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Dr. Malcolm "Mack" Portera doesn't know jack about college hockey.

Unfortunately, that's the ultimate reason why February will see the University of Alabama at Huntsville fade from the college hockey map - and why Portera, the University of Alabama chancellor who has assumed the temporary role of UAH president, has joined former Union president Roger Hull at the top of the list of the sport's biggest administrative fools.

Monday was a very sad day in the history of college hockey. It marked an avoidable sunset for a program that simultaneously embodied the spirit of a sport in which Division II and III schools regularly tangle - and often win - against schools whose mascots are household names, and the spirit of the sport's unique and passionate niche support.

While it is true that the college hockey family as a whole is partially to blame for leaving a cherished family member out in the cold - ironically, in the sport's warmest locale - it is beyond belief that the ultimate blame would fall with an individual within the school itself, even as the Chargers' most passionate fans did everything in their power to make the team's survival a feasible option.

There are things that could have happened to keep this day from happening. The CCHA could have chosen to bring the Chargers on board two years ago when they applied. Poetic justice, perhaps, that the league will be the next entity on its way out come 2013. If they'd been accepted, UAH would have likely begun league play this season at the latest, and could well have had a better position to collectively bargain with the other CCHA teams who, like the Chargers, were suddenly scrambling for a new home.

The WCHA, it is told, could have been a likely home following all of the moving pieces this summer even despite the league's inclusion of both Alaska schools. But then, Mack Portera came into the picture and started waving his axe, which understandably made the WCHA wary - creating Portera's self-fulfilling prophecy that the team wasn't going to find a home.

Portera's excuses are easily shot down - and he has so obviously ignored any attempts to help keep the program afloat until better arrangements can be found.

First, he takes the easy road in this difficult economy: he claims poverty, something the average citizen is supposed to be able to understand right now. Unfortunately for him, it doesn't hold much water considering that a grassroots alumni and local effort raised enough pledges to offset the school's losses for three years.

A lot can happen in three years. Heck, just two years ago, UAH was in the NCAA tournament, playing a tight game with Miami that helped goaltender Cameron Talbot earn an NHL contract. Given three years, we could see an economic turnaround that would help the school continue to support its program, and the Chargers could eventually find accommodations in a conference with an opening, of which there are now three and potentially four. If things are still bad then, perhaps the program would still have to close. But now, we'll never know.

Second, he makes the claim that Charger hockey will continue to be a defining element of the school, since it will continue to operate at the club level. Right. That's why Penn State is still playing club hockey come next season, or why Lindenwood is still playing women's club hockey. Oh, wait.

Ask any hockey fan in Glens Falls what it was like going from watching AHL hockey for 20 years with the Adirondack Red Wings to watching low-level UHL hockey with the Adirondack Icehawks/Frostbite. Needless to say, attendance, and interest, wasn't quite the same. People aren't stupid. They know the difference in quality.

Third, Portera says the hockey program's budget is much bigger than that of the rest of the athletic department. That's true at RPI, too. Some program has to be the biggest. Why wouldn't it be the most important sport at the school? Hockey allows UAH to stand out from its big brother in Tuscaloosa AND its arguable little brother at UAB, both of which play big time FBS football. As UA system chancellor, Portera probably could have saved the system more money by making minor cuts there, but of course, he couldn't.

Fourth, he points out closures at Wayne State and Findlay, which is like comparing apples to oranges when it comes to the history and tradition of hockey at those schools. They combined for a total of 17 varsity seasons and no championships. This is UAH's 27th season, and the team has won two national championships at the now defunct Division II level. Wayne State and Findlay, with very little history, went away with minimal fuss. Portera had his email inbox deluged with hundreds upon hundreds of emails from students, alumni, and fans from around the college hockey world.

UAH will be the first program with a national championship to relinquish varsity status.

Fifth, and most outrageous of all, Mack Portera tries to use the excuse that the team's lack of Alabamans on the roster is a reason to scuttle the team's varsity status - a clear grasp at straws. Someone had better alert RIT - not a single New Yorker on that team. No one from Rhode Island plays for Brown. No Nebraskans at Nebraska-Omaha. Army, Colorado College, North Dakota, Notre Dame, Princeton, Quinnipiac, Vermont and Yale have a paltry one player each from their respective home states.

It's this last claim that pushes Portera into Hull status. Don't most schools proudly point out how many different states are represented in their student body? Aren't most schools proud of their international contingent? UAH is a darn fine engineering school - fine enough that the aristocratic qualifier "for a state school" can be easily skipped - shouldn't it also be a source of pride that people from outside the state are attracted by athletics as well as academics?

Club hockey certainly isn't going to grow the sport in North Alabama either, as he tries to claim.

As Adam Wodon said so eloquently on the twitters on Monday, Hull and Portera stand alone.

Roger Hull, you will remember, earned himself undying infamy when he directed that Union become the only institution sharing a Division III conference with a D-III school offering scholarships in their D-I sport (in this case, three of them) to vote against allowing those schools to continue offering those scholarships. He then continued to carry on, unconsciously explaining his school's decades of dismal records by saying "...when they got to 40 percent [winning percentage], I was proud, and when they reached nearly 50 percent a few years ago, I was tremendously proud of them."

Can there be any wonder why the Dutchmen have been so successful since his departure? Incidentally, Hull is now running for Schenectady mayor - and perhaps the city's residents should make themselves aware of his benchmarks for success.

Fortunately for Union, they were able to at least survive Hull's idiocy. Huntsville doesn't have that kind of luxury with the fool they ended up with - on an interim basis, no less - and college hockey is a poorer place today because of it.

Late in their program's history, after the axe had fallen, Boston University football started wearing tape over their BU logos and plain white jerseys, calling themselves "University X." Findlay started calling themselves merely "the Oilers." For all the support the Chargers have received from their school, perhaps something similar is in order.

More worthwhile UAH commentaries:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Today's Podcast: Joe Paisley

I admit, we're playing with fire this week.

Last year, we tried on two different occasions to get Colorado Springs Gazette writer Joe Paisley on our podcast, and both times failed due to problems on our side.

Here's hoping the third try's the charm. We'll talk to Joe about the high-flying Tigers, now ranked #3 in this beautiful country of ours, and see just what it is that makes them a dangerous team. We'll get his thoughts on the advent of the NCHC, given that the Tigers will be a charter member of the league in 2013, and we'll talk about CC-RPI, of course.

We go live at 6 p.m. Eastern today. To listen live (or on demand after the show), click Listen to Without a Peer in the upper right hand corner of the page.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Men's Hockey - at Notre Dame (21 Oct)

Notre Dame has a truly impressive new cathedral of college hockey - an impressive tribute to the school's commitment to the sport, and RPI was given the honor of being the first opponent in the new rink this past weekend against a Notre Dame team coming off a Frozen Four appearance last season despite being one of the youngest teams in the nation. The Engineers continued their stretch of being banged up against tough squads, playing well given the circumstances but falling for the third consecutive game, 5-2.

Notre Dame



Injuries are still hampering the Engineers significantly, with freshman Jacob Laliberte added to the list of key forwards missing in action. He has the same affliction as Brock Higgs, a broken finger. Meanwhile, Marty O'Grady remains out with concussion symptoms. There was some good news, as Greg Burgdoerfer returned to the lineup.

There was, as expected, an awful lot of hoopla - and much deserved - surrounding the opening of the Compton Family Ice Arena. The place is, quite frankly, gorgeous.

Notre Dame committed to a fearsome forecheck for essentially the entire game and it paid off in spades for them. Once they gained the zone, they made it clear that the Engineers were going to have to fight for every inch of space if they gained control and they used their impressive size up front very well - perhaps a foreshadow of things to come in the future for RPI.

At any rate, it was that forecheck that helped the Irish get on the board first as Anders Lee got one past Bryce Merriam after an extended play in the RPI zone that was lengthened thanks to a forecheck that kept RPI from breaking out despite gaining the puck on two different occasions. That goal was the only major difference in an opening 10 minutes that definitely went both ways, giving the Irish the 1-0 advantage.

About four minutes later, RPI finally broke its scoreless streak thanks to some gritty play behind the Irish net by Joel Malchuk and Alex Angers-Goulet. Winning puck battles and keeping Irish goaltender Mike Johnson guessing, Angers-Goulet eventually worked the puck to Malchuk, who made Johnson guess wrong on which side he was moving to, and Malchuk stuffed it in the cage to tie the game at one.

Notre Dame won this one in the second period, smothering the Engineers defensively and limiting them to just two shots on goal during the entire period, even despite a pair of power plays during the middle frame. Anders Lee scored again early in the period to put the Irish back in front, and a rare defensive breakdown by RPI with about five minutes left in the second put Notre Dame up 3-1 heading into the second intermission.

The hole became 4-1 with another early period goal by the Irish, this time coming on the power play, and it looked like RPI was about to simply get outclassed by a better team. They didn't give up down three, however, and Johnny Rogic, whose play could certainly be described as inspired throughout, picked up his own rebound with about five minutes left to play to bring RPI back within one.

The comeback attempt was immediately muted, however, as Patrick Cullen went off for a slash immediately following the Rogic goal, and after that penalty was extinguished (thanks in part to a waved off goal by Anders Lee that went in off a high stick), RPI was unable to do much with Merriam out of his cage. Lee finished off his hat trick officially with an empty netter, a truly memorable accomplishment for a memorable night in South Bend.

All told, RPI definitely missed Higgs, Laliberte, and O'Grady in this game, but there were some bright moments, like Matt Neal, who won 11 of 15 faceoffs, Rogic's play, and Merriam, who made a number of clutch saves that kept things from getting out of hand against a very talented team. RPI may stand at 1-4-0, but all things being equal, they're still playing some pretty decent hockey against some very tough teams.

Other junk - It doesn't matter what your injury situation or your strength of schedule at this time of year - a 1-4-0 team probably isn't getting votes and that's RPI this week, no votes at all for the first time in quite a while. This time of year, good records get rewarded no matter what, and as evidence, Clarkson's 16 votes for a 4-1-1 record. Never mind that the four wins came against Sacred Heart and American International (with a weekend series at Bentley coming this weekend!). Shrug. They can enjoy them while they last. Ranked ECAC teams this week are #10 Yale (exhibition loss to Waterloo, down one with one first place vote), #11 Union (tied Niagara and beat RIT, up one), #16 Colgate (tied Army, no change), #19 Cornell (exhibition wins over Guelph and Carleton, up one), and #20 Quinnipiac (split at Robert Morris, unranked last week). #3 Colorado College (idle, up one with four first place votes), #5 Notre Dame (up one with one first place vote), and #6 Ferris State (swept Miami, up eight with one first place vote) are also ranked this week. Also receiving votes were Dartmouth (29) and UMass-Lowell (5).

Four different teams on RPI's schedule, including three of October's four non-conference opponents, received first place votes this week and are all ranked in the top 10. Think we've got a pretty solid non-conference slate?

Ken Ralph and Colorado College come to Troy this weekend - it's going to be another tough row to hoe for the Engineers for sure, but hopefully the payoff comes the following weekend where we get a tomato-can tested Clarkson team to kick off the ECAC schedule.

RPI at #6 Notre Dame
Non-Conference Game - Compton Family Ice Arena (South Bend, IN)
10/21/11 - 7:35pm

RESULT: Notre Dame 5, RPI 2



RECORD: 1-4-0 (0-0-0 ECAC)

Reale Deals
1. F Johnny Rogic, 1 G, 3 shots
2. F Joel Malchuk, 1 G
3. G Bryce Merriam, 21 saves

Upcoming games
28 Oct - #3 Colorado College
29 Oct - #3 Colorado College
04 Nov - at Clarkson
05 Nov - at St. Lawrence
11 Nov - #10 Yale (Black Friday)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Women's Hockey - Robert Morris (21/22 Oct)

A return to Houston Field House for the first home games of the regular season did little to help the Engineers recover from last weekend's sweep at the hands of Niagara, and RPI dropped two more decisions to the Colonials of Robert Morris. A penalty-filled game on Friday saw RPI fall 5-1 despite outshooting RMU 32-16, and the Engineers dropped a 4-2 decision on Saturday despite playing a seemingly better game.



Le Donne/Vadner


Despite nine Engineer power play opportunities in the game, it was Robert Morris who made their opportunites count, cashing in on consecutive 5-on-3 power play opportunities in the first period to jump out to a 2-0 lead less than ten minutes in.

With Taylor Mahoney and Amanda Castignetti in the box, it took RMU's Rebecca Vint just five seconds off the ensuing offensive zone faceoff to beat netminder Kelly O'Brien for a 1-0 lead. While still down a skater on the remaining penalty, Mahoney was sent right back for roughing, putting RMU back up by two skaters.

The Engineers nearly outlasted the second 5-on-3, but with about 20 seconds remaining in the 2-man advantage, Vint doubled the Colonials' lead, slipping a shot past O'Brien from close range to make it 2-0.

RPI found itself down 5-on-3 yet again before the period was over, but they survived the opportunity and went on to apply some pressure of their own - albeit with nothing to show for it. The period ended with RMU leading 2-0 despite RPI holding an 11-8 shot advantage.

RMU distanced itself a little more early in the second, as Paige Pietrangelo fired a rocket past O'Brien from the point to make it 3-0.

The Engineers would get their only goal of the game on a 5-on-3 opportunity of their own. Just 20 seconds into the 2-man advantage, Madison Marzario took a big shot of her own from the point, beating Kristen DiCiocco to cut the RMU lead to 3-1.

RMU tacked on two more goals in the third period, including a power play marker from Kelsey Thomas and a Thea Imbrogno empty-netter for good measure.

Even with the lopsided 32-16 shot count in favor of the Engineers, RMU mostly controlled the flow of the game from the moment the Engineers took their first penalty, making it appear like RPI was going through the motions but was not entirely into the game.

Another positive came out of the game for the Colonials, whose Brianna Delaney broke RMU's record for career points when she notched an assist on the first goal of the game. She would go on to hit the 100-point mark on Saturday.



Le Donne/Vadner


If nothing else, RPI cleaned up the penalty problem between Friday night and Saturday afternoon, but that alone wasn't enough to get the Engineers a different result. In a much more closely-contested match, RPI and RMU played a much more technically-sound and evenly-matched affair, which was never really in the bag until an empty netter late in the third period.

While RPI did cut back on penalties significantly on Saturday, they did still take the first penalty of the game - and RMU capitalized quickly. Brianna Delaney took a pass in front of the net and beat Brianna Piper below the blocker for a 1-0 lead.

RPI tied the game a few minutes later when Laura Guillemette banked a shot off a defender's skate past DiCiocco to make it one-all. The tie held up through most of the first period until Dayna Newsom took a pass in the crease and beat Piper to make it 2-1.

RMU extended their lead to two goals at 5:01 of the third period, when Delaney scored her second of the afternoon to make it 3-1. Again, RPI answered quickly, with Jordan Smelker taking a pass from Andie Le Donne and roofing a shot over DiCiocco to bring RPI back within one.

RPI pushed for the tying goal, but lost some momentum in the third period when they went down 5-on-3 in what had otherwise been a penalty free game after Le Donne's in the first period. Rebecca Vint picked up her third goal on the weekend as she put the puck into the empty net at 19:42 to put the game away with a 4-2 final.

RPI remains home next weekend as they open up ECAC play against Quinnipiac and Princeton. Both games will be at 3pm since the men will be facing off against Colorado College at 7pm after each. While the games are not currently scheduled for broadcast, don't be surprised if Friday afternoon's game gets picked up by WRPI. Saturday's game, which would air head-to-head with the Dutchman's Shoes football game at Union, will certainly not be broadcast. Both games will of course have live stats and video available via the RPI website, and live updates provided at Without a Peer.


RPI vs. Robert Morris
Non-Conference Game – Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
10/21/11 – 7:00pm
RMU 5, RPI 1



RECORD: 2-3-2 (0-0 ECAC)


RPI vs. Robert Morris
Non-Conference Game – Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
10/22/11 – 4:00pm
RMU 4, RPI 2



RECORD: 2-4-2 (0-0 ECAC)


Upcoming Games

Oct. 28 - Quinnipiac (3pm)
Oct. 29 - Princeton (3pm)
Nov. 4 - St. Lawrence (7pm)
Nov. 5 - Clarkson (4pm)
Nov. 11 - at Brown (7pm)
Nov. 12 - at Yale (4pm)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Game #5: Notre Dame

As I type this, I'm sitting in the vistor's radio box at the brand-spanking new, never before used (or seen) Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend (I'm on the color call on WRPI tonight).


If you want to watch, Notre Dame is offering tonight's game for the low, low price of free on teh Interwebs.

And, as always, feel free to join in the chat as we follow the men against the Irish and the women against the Colonials, with Gary Russinko and our secret Twitter weapon providing tweets and commentary on both in the chat below live from Pack the House Night at Houston Field House, starting at 6:30 (women at 7, men at 7:30).

Spotlight Sideshow

OK, let's be honest. When the men march into South Bend tonight, they're the afterthoughts. They'll be looking across the ice at a Notre Dame team that is ranked sixth in the nation, coming off a Frozen Four trip last season, on their way to Hockey East with a fresh TV deal in hand, and, on this night, opening a fancy new arena.

Meanwhile, we've got injury after injury to deal with. No Higgs or Laliberte, likely until the beginning of November at the earliest. No O'Grady, out indefinitely with a concussion. And, of course, no scoring in over 120 minutes.

Safe to say we're the underdogs.

Thanks to WaP reader Laurel White for this week's pumpup. If you'd like to request a pumpup, hit us up: tomyousieve (at) gmail (dit) com. Yes, that's a dit com.

Be sure to head out to Houston Field House this evening to welcome home the women's team, they face Robert Morris in a pair of games this weekend - and bring along your radio to hear the men in South Bend taking on the Fighting Irish.

We didn't have much content this week - but there wasn't really much to talk about that wasn't touched on in some way, shape or form last week or in the recap.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Today's Podcast: Seth Appert (for real this time)

Last week the SNAFUs that occasionally plague our operation popped up to stop our weekly podcast in its tracks. Today, we try again, with the last SNAFU fixed and on guard for the next one.

Since we didn't get to talk to Seth Appert last week, we'll talk to him this week instead as the Engineers prepare for a big game at Notre Dame, the first in their fancy new arena. We'll get his thoughts on the offensive famine, the defensive strengths, the team's start, and, yes, the injuries that continue to impact the team - with an injury to Jacob Laliberte the latest in a string of problems plaguing the forwards.

After we talk to Seth, we'll get up to speed with women's hockey, also as promised last week. Like the men, the Engineers had a couple of games last weekend that weren't horrible per se, but they did lose both regardless, a speed bump that ended a 4-game unbeaten streak to start the year. We'll get our first real-game look at RPI this weekend as they come home to face Robert Morris in a pair of non-league games.

We go live at 5:00pm this afternoon, and you can listen live (or on demand if you miss the live broadcast) by clicking Listen to Without a Peer over to the right.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Men's Hockey - at Ferris State (14/15 Oct)

There's a lot to the game of hockey. There's hitting, there's speed, there's passing. There's defense, there's goaltending, there's stickhandling. And, of course, there's scoring goals. You can be exceptionally good at all of the other stuff that goes into hockey, but if you aren't scoring goals, you can't win hockey games, and RPI underlined that truth with exclamation points all around it this weekend, playing technically sound hockey for the majority of their long road trip to face Seth Appert's alma mater at Ferris State, but never finding the scoresheet on their way to back-to-back shutouts, 4-0 and 2-0.




The big news heading into the weekend continued to be the Engineers' early injury situation. Starting off the season with injury problems is always difficult, and RPI has never been close to being 100% healthy. In practice during the week, Marty O'Grady and Brock Higgs suffered injuries that ultimately put them out for the Ferris State games, though Higgs was at least given the possibility of being in the lineup. The one bit of good news saw Mark McGowan healthy enough to make his Engineers debut on Friday; Greg Burgdoerfer (arm) and Jeremy Coupal are the only Engineers that have yet to see action after four games.

The first game of the weekend was very closely played through the first 40 minutes or so. Both teams were about even in shots and both had plenty of opportunities on the man advantage, but neither was able to convert in part thanks to outstanding play from Bryce Merriam and his counterpart on the other end, Taylor Nelson. Notably, Pat Koudys was called for RPI's first three penalties on the evening - two trips and a cross-check - and neither he nor Appert were very impressed with the calls, with Appert later calling them penalties for hard hits.

Ferris State scored the game's first goal at a very bad time for the Engineers (or for anyone, for that matter) - with just over a minute to go in the second period, when Travis Ouellette got the Bulldogs on the board. When a game is played very closely for so long and the first goal is given up that close to the intermssion, it's a serious blow to the psyche no matter who you are.

A penalty to Joel Malchuk just 35 seconds into the third period didn't do anything to help things, and Ouellette notched his second of the night 40 seconds later to make it 2-0. A Kyle Bonis tally four and a half minutes after that made it 3-0, and from there Ferris State went into lockdown mode, forcing RPI to finish the game with a whimper - just three shots in the final 20 minutes after going down late in the second - and Bonis would add an empty netter with just under three minutes left to play to produce the final 4-0 tally.




No notable changes despite the shutout were seen the next day - Merriam, who played well on Friday despite the loss, was back in net, and the only lineup changes were Matt Tinordi in for Mark McGowan and Bo Dolan in for Luke Curadi. Matt Neal and Alex Angers-Goulet also swapped the lines they were centering.

It's hard to start a game off much worse than the Engineers did on Saturday night, allowing an unassisted goal on the second shift of the evening, coming off a turnover in the first minute of the game to put Ferris State ahead 1-0.

That's where the game stayed basically throughout the contest. Holding that one goal lead early, Ferris State played ample defense to keep RPI from having decent opportunities throughout the first and second period, and the Engineers were only able to uncork 13 shots across the first 40 minutes of game play despite three power play opportunities.

The third period had RPI pushing harder for the tying goal, and a pair of critical power play opportunities were probably the best chances they had on the entire weekend, but they simply could not put the puck past freshman C.J. Motte, who finished with 26 saves after stopping 13 in the final period. The most golden opportunity came with just under three minutes left in the game after Jordie Johnston tripped up Bryce Merriam (who was having a sensational game of his own). College-type fisticuffs ensued after Josh Rabbani took exception, and the whole thing ended with an RPI power play after C.J. Lee and FSU's Matthew Kirzinger were dismissed as part of the episode.

Late in that power play, Appert pulled Merriam to create a 6-on-4, but that still was not enough to break onto the scoreboard. Ferris State cinched things with an empty netter with 8 seconds left in the game for the final result, leaving RPI to return to Troy completely empty-handed from their trip.

Other junk - To nobody's great surprise, a 1-3 team scoring one goal per game and getting shut out three times is no longer among the teams ranked in the poll. The Engineers somehow managed to still pick up 2 votes in this week's poll, but are certainly nowhere near the point of being ranked, and for cause. There are still, however, four ECAC teams in the top 20, led by #9 Yale (idle, up one with one first place vote), #12 Union (tied Western Michigan twice, down one), #16 Colgate (split with Miami, previously unranked), and #20 Cornell (idle, down one). Other teams on the RPI schedule this season are #4 Colorado College (swept Bemidji State, up three with four first place votes), #6 Notre Dame (split with Ohio State, down four), and #14 Ferris State (previously unranked). Also receiving votes were Quinnipiac (42), Dartmouth (33), UMass-Lowell (12), RIT (9), and Harvard (8).

The numbers are not pretty. RPI is 2-for-26 on the power play, a 7.7% conversion rate. The offense is at 1.00 GPG, and it's worse when you consider that all of the scoring has taken place in one game.

It could certainly be worse, though. New Hampshire has one goal in three games (0.33 GPG), and at least the penalty kill is going well - 21-for-22 (95.5%), tops in the nation for those with more than 10 attempts.

Things do not get easier from here for the Engineers, however. They face three consecutive games against Top 10 teams in Notre Dame and Colorado College. Unless they can pull an upset or two, they could be staring at a 1-5 start. To do that requires finding the back of the net, something the forwards have not done during normal play (with Malchuk's goal coming on an open net) in the first four games.

#20 RPI at Ferris State
Non-Conference Game - Ewigleben Ice Arena (Big Rapids, MI)
10/14/11 - 7:00pm

RESULT: Ferris State 4, RPI 0



RECORD: 1-2-0 (0-0-0 ECAC)

Reale Deals
1. F Patrick Cullen, 4 shots
2. G Bryce Merriam, 26 saves
3. D Pat Koudys, E, 2 shots

#20 RPI at Ferris State
Non-Conference Game - Ewigleben Ice Arena (Big Rapids, MI)
10/15/11 - 7:00pm

RESULT: Ferris State 2, RPI 0



RECORD: 1-3-0 (0-0-0 ECAC)

Reale Deals
1. G Bryce Merriam, 28 saves
2. F Jacob Laliberte, 4 shots
3. F Matt Neal, 4 shots

Upcoming games
21 Oct - at #6 Notre Dame
28 Oct - #4 Colorado College
29 Oct - #4 Colorado College
04 Nov - at Clarkson
05 Nov - at St. Lawrence

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Women's Hockey - at Niagara (14/15 Oct)

A great start to the season took a turn for the worse this weekend, as the RPI Engineers found themselves on the losing side of a pair of games against the Niagara Purple Eagles. RPI fell 5-4 on a penalty shot goal in overtime of a high-flying, back-and-forth affair on Friday, before getting edged 3-2 the following afternoon. In total, the Engineers squandered two-goal leads three times en route to the final results on the weekend.



Le Donne/Vadner


An unusual event in college hockey broke a 4-4 deadlock in overtime when RPI's Andie Le Donne was called for hooking Niagara's Kristen Richards on a breakaway, leading to a penalty shot. With just 52 seconds remaining in overtime, Niagara elected the penalty shot over the optional minor, and Richards lifted the puck past RPI netminder Brianna Piper for the game-winning goal.

The game had started in the Engineers' favor, however, with RPI jumping out to a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Taylor Horton at 6:49 of the first, and Jill Vandegrift at exactly 1:00 of the second.

The momentum that carried the Engineers through the first period, and led to a 7-5 advantage in shots, evaporated in a hurry after Vandegrift's goal, when Jordan Smelker and Kathryn Schilter took back-to-back penalties to put the Engineers down 5-on-3. Kelsey Gunn got Niagara on the board during the 5-on-3 to make it a 2-1 game, and Kristen Richards tied it shortly after the second penalty expired.

Despite a heavy shot disparity in favor of Niagara, RPI regained the lead before the end of the frame, with Smelker beating goalie Sarah Moses for a 3-2 lead heading into the second intermission.

Another quick goal to start the period gave RPI its two goal lead back, as Toni Sanders put a quick shot past Moses 1:34 into the third period. That would end the Engineers' scoring and Niagara would spend much of the remainder of the third period on the power play, racking up 15 shots to RPI's 5.

Jessica Hitchcock cut the Engineer lead to 4-3 at 11:12 of the third, with Sierra Vadner off for slashing, and Jenna Hendrikx again tied the game just over two minutes later after Amanda Castignetti took a body checking call.

Overtime saw just three shots on goal before the penalty shot game-winner for Niagara. In total, the Engineers were outshot 32-18 on the evening. Kristen Richards was named first star for her penalty shot game-winner, while Jessica Hitchcock picked up second star with a goal and an assist. RPI's Madison Marzario earned the third star, finishing the evening with two assists and a +2 rating.



Le Donne/Schilter


As has become the pattern over the early season, Coach Burke again switched goalies for Saturday's game, opting to play Kelly O'Brien over Brianna Piper. With Piper stopping the first seven shots she saw, the Engineers took the opportunity to capitalize against Niagara's new goalie for the afternoon affair, freshman Abby Ryplanski.

Toni Sanders scored unassisted at 5:32 of the game when she lobbed a weak shot on net from the right point which snuck over Ryplanski's shoulder for a 1-0 lead. Laura Guillemette doubled the lead to 2-0 at 9:07, when Sanders fed a beautiful pass from behind the net for an easy one-timer in the slot.

Niagara put a damper on RPI's otherwise good first period when Jenna Hendrikx capitalized on a failed breakaway by Jessica Hitchcock, beating O'Brien to cut the lead to 2-1 with just 47 seconds left in the first.

It was Niagara's turn for an early-period goal in the second, as May Wilkerson put home a Kaleigh Chippy rebound to tie it at two at the 2:26 mark.

Unlike Friday, the Engineers could not find the punch to retake the lead, and it was Niagara's Kelsey Welch put the Purple Eagles ahead with just over five minutes left in regulation. A few last-minute chances missed their mark and the 3-2 score would hold up to give Niagara the weekend sweep. The weekend would mark the first win and first sweep for Niagara's coach Josh Sciba, as well as the first career wins for both Moses and Ryplanski.

Kelsey Welch's game winner netted her first star on Saturday, with Toni Sanders' goal and assist good for second star. Ryplanski picked up the third star in her winning effort for the Purple Eagles.

RPI returns home next weekend for a pair against the Colonials of Robert Morris University. The games on Friday (7pm) and Saturday (4pm) are not expected to be covered by WRPI, but will be available for pay-per-view video streaming and live stats at Live tweets will also be available, follow @without_a_peer for updates.


RPI at Niagara
Non-Conference Game – Dwyer Arena (Lewiston, NY)
10/14/11 – 7:00pm
Niagara 5, RPI 4 (OT)



RECORD: 2-1-2 (0-0 ECAC)


RPI at Niagara
Non-Conference Game – Dwyer Arena (Lewiston, NY)
10/15/11 – 2:00pm
Niagara 3, RPI 2



RECORD: 2-2-2 (0-0 ECAC)


Upcoming Games

Oct. 21 - Robert Morris (7pm)
Oct. 22 - Robert Morris (4pm)
Oct. 28 - Quinnipiac (3pm)
Oct. 29 - Princeton (3pm)
Nov. 4 - St. Lawrence (7pm)
Nov. 5 - Clarkson (4pm)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Game #4: Ferris State

Oy. It has not been a good weekend thus far. The women were swept out at Niagara to fall to 2-2-2 on the season. The men dropped a tough 4-0 decision last night after once again finding themselves unable to finish during the first two periods. Can we end on a high note? Maybe. We'll be right here breaking things down.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Game #3: Ferris State

Here it is - tonight's live blog, complete with all the Twitter feeds you want, plus WaP commentary.

Save Ferris

You knew this was coming.

No, this is not original. Just ask anyone from Ferris State - which, by amazing coincidence, is where the Engineers will be playing this weekend as Seth Appert returns to his alma mater.

The Bulldogs are very popular. The sportos, the motorheads, the geeks, sluts, bloods, wasteoids, dweebies, dickheads, they all adore them. They think they're righteous dudes.

Alright, enough of that.

Also this weekend, the women try to stay hot, taking a four-game road unbeaten streak in to Dwyer Arena for a weekend series with Niagara. It's the fourth straight year that the Engineers have a series with the Purps, and they're 3-0-3 against them in the last three seasons (though two of the ties were last year in Troy). Can the fab frosh continue their outstanding play?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Finish Line

The biggest takeaway that the Engineers have from last weekend's games against Minnesota State: finishing appears to be the issue of the moment.

Defensively, RPI looked very comfortable, which was something we mostly expected coming into the season. The blueliners are big and, to a man, talented at keeping offensive opportunities down. Both Bryce Merriam and Scott Diebold have impressed in net, making the saves they've needed to make and also making the saves that are a bit more difficult to make.

Offensively, however, the young core of forwards had a bit of a problem putting the puck away. They were shut out on Friday - partially because Austin Lee did a phenomenal job in net, but occasionally because the forwards simply couldn't move the puck at the right time to put it home. On Saturday, three of the four goals were scored on the perimeter by defensemen, while the fourth was on an open net and a defensive miscue by the other team.

The forwards playing this weekend against Ferris State are basically known - it's an all-hands on deck situation because of lingering injuries in the MASH unit to junior Greg Burgdoerfer and freshman Mark McGowan which have now added junior Marty O'Grady and sophomore Brock Higgs, leaving the Engineers with 12 healthy forwards on the roster.

It's good to know that there's offensive ability among the defensemen. We already knew Nick Bailen was a power play threat who's always willing to take the puck down below the faceoff circles to menace the opposing defense down low. Guy Leboeuf and Pat Koudys, in addition to being big, wield a big stick as well from the point, and even Luke Curadi (certainly not known for his scoring in juniors) uncorked a couple of slappers on Saturday as well.

Now it falls to the forwards. Higgs, Ryan Haggerty, Patrick Cullen, Alex Angers-Goulet, Zach Schroeder, and Jacob Laliberte all impressed last weekend with their ability to put themselves and the puck in a position to score goals on multiple occasions each. All they need to do now is get that finishing touch down. Higgs' injury is obviously a drawback, but with so many of the team's forwards right on the cusp of scoring last week, the potential is certainly there for breakout.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Today's Podcast: Seth Appert (CANCELED)

Without a Peer Radio has a very special guest on tap today - men's hockey coach Seth Appert. We talked to Mr. Appert two years back, when he mentioned that he was hopeful to get some games scheduled against his alma mater. This weekend, those games finally come to fruition as the Engineers travel to Big Rapids, MI for the second time in school history for a weekend set against the CCHA's Ferris State Bulldogs. We'll ask Seth about his days in rural Michigan, the team's outings last week against Minnesota State, and a few other topics, including the Great Western Shuffle.

Since we are no longer doing a call-in format (since we don't have enough people with access to the lair to screen calls), if you have a question for Coach Appert, shoot us an email at tomyousieve (aht) gmail (dat) com before the show. If we like it, we'll ask it.

Also, since we haven't had much time to talk women's hockey on WaP Radio, we'll run down the early season results for the 2-0-2 Engineers, who travel to Western New York this weekend to conclude their season-opening six-game road trip against the Niagara Purple Eagles.

We get underway at 3:00pm, and you can listen in live or on demand after the show by clicking Listen to Without a Peer on the right-hand side of the page.

UPDATE: Technology, once again, fails us when we need it most. The transmitter at the lair is once again on the fritz, and therefore, we reluctantly have to cancel what we hoped would be a great podcast. Our deepest apologies.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tsunami Watch: The Flood Recedes

This is our final edition of Tsunami Watch. Why? Because the radical changes in the college hockey world caused by the advent of varsity hockey at Penn State are over.

But, you say, the most exciting part of all could be just around the corner for RPI! Perhaps. But it will be a secondary reaction if it happens.

Here is where we currently stand for 2013-14.

* There will essentially be one new conference: the Big Ten. Thus, at the end of the day, we're back to six conferences, where we were when the CHA was still around.

* The CCHA membership will disperse into four of those six conferences - Notre Dame to Hockey East, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State to the Big Ten, Miami and Western Michigan to the NCHC, and the balance to the WCHA.

* The WCHA, while it will continue to exist, will look radically different, with three less teams than they currently stand and, really, no programs that would be considered power programs. We could be talking about a WCHA that moves to the level of the ECAC.

* The only thing left to shake out will be autobids, which may not be back to six until 2015-16 under the rules. NCAA regulations say six teams of any league must have been playing together for two full seasons before they can have the autobid conferred upon them. That would seem to leave out the Big Ten off the bat since the rule applies to specific sports, but it could also leave the NCHC and the WCHA high and dry.

The NCHC might have the excuse that six of their teams have been playing together in the WCHA. The new-look WCHA, however, has only 4 teams that have played together in the previous incarnation of the league, and only 5 that played together in the CCHA.

That leaves us with four scenarios.
1) The WCHA, as the previously existing league, gets an autobid, while the NCHC has to wait two years.
2) The NCHC, as the league with six previously existing league members, gets an autobid, while the WCHA has to do without for a couple of seasons.
3) Both leagues get an autobid.
4) Neither league gets an autobid.

And, of course, the Big Ten could somehow manage to get a waiver for a supposedly unwaiverable rule.

Anyway, here's what the college hockey landscape looks like after the tsunami. The only potential secondary changes are a 12th team for Hockey East and, if that team comes from the ECAC, a move by an Atlantic Hockey team into the ECAC. Any further discussions by the discontented programs of Atlantic Hockey at a new conference would be on its own track.

Big Ten
Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin.

Colorado College, Denver, Miami, Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha, North Dakota, St. Cloud State and Western Michigan.

Alaska, Alaska-Anchorage, Bemidji State, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State and Northern Michigan.

Hockey East
Boston College, Boston University, Maine, Merrimack, New Hampshire, Northeastern, Notre Dame, Providence, UMass, UMass-Lowell and Vermont.

ECAC & Atlantic Hockey


Recently discussed potential new programs
Buffalo and MSU-Moorhead