Monday, October 3, 2011

Men's Hockey - Acadia (1 Oct)

The now annual exhibition game is becoming an excellent opportunity for the Engineers to get a competitive game under their belts before the games that count begin - by the time October rolls around, the team has been playing each other for a good two months. It also affords Engineer fans the opportunity to see the freshmen play for the first time, and with a much anticipated class hitting the ice for the first time in the Cherry and White, a larger than usual exhibition crowd of about 2,650 was on hand as the Engineers thoroughly dismantled the Acadia Axemen, 7-0.

Acadia
Tinordi/Malchuk/Rabbani
Cullen/O'Grady/Haggerty
Angers-Goulet/Neal/Schroeder
Laliberte/Higgs/Lee
Smith, Burgdoerfer

Bergin/Koudys
Leboeuf/Bailen
Leonard/Dolan
Curadi

Diebold

The game's notable scratches were Bryce Merriam, who has a knee injury that kept him from getting any playing time and has him listed as questionable for the upcoming home series with Minnesota State, and Mark McGowan, who was the only freshman not to dress for the game (though he did skate afterwards in the Skate with the Engineers). Johnny Rogic was also MIA.

Jacob Laliberte very nearly started his RPI career with a fairytale beginning, getting the puck on his stick all alone with the goaltender in the game's very first minute, but his low slot wrister was blocked up into the netting by goaltender Evan Mosher. That, perhaps, only foreshadowed what was to come, however, as the Engineer freshmen generally put on a show during the next 60 minutes.

Ryan Haggerty was the first to score for the Engineers, in close on the power play about six minutes in to give RPI a 1-0 lead. On their next power play late in the first, Nick Bailen netted one just to the left of the goal to make it 2-0.

Bailen would then make the Engineers 3-for-3 on the power play with his second goal of the game about five minutes into the second period.

Overall, RPI was 5-for-7 on the power play. The first failure to covert was due in part to a 24 second power play when Laliberte got his stick stuck in a defenseman's skate and was called for tripping. The second failure was followed by a goal just 24 seconds after the penalty expired, while the Engineers were already up 6-0. Zach Schroeder, Haggerty, Bo Dolan, and C.J. Lee all picked up goals in the final period.

Ultimately, Acadia just didn't seem like a very strong team, although freshman goaltender Scott Diebold was on top of things when he needed to be. He seems to play a style very reminiscent of just-departed goaltender Allen York, with good lateral movement and a willingness to stop play when need be.

The Axemen were taken behind the woodshed the next night in Hamden, as Quinnipiac upended Acadia 5-2. Coming into the game, it had been hoped that the Axemen would provide a very significant challenge as has come to be expected from Canadian college teams from the Maritimes after tough games with UPEI and UNB in the last two years, but RPI, especially the freshmen, skated circles around the bigger and older but much slower Acadia team.

Next up for the Engineers is a first-ever meeting with Minnesota State. The Mavericks were picked by both the WCHA coaches and media to finish 11th in the 12 team league, but it should be a solid matchup. MSU has always been a very physical team, and it will be just the kind of environment that will help RPI's young forwards grow as the season gets underway.

Other junk - RPI will begin the season as the 18th ranked team in the nation, though all told the true tale of the USCHO poll is how little consensus there is on exactly which teams go where. Seven different teams drew first place votes, and differences in position were often by just a few points. At any rate, the ECAC is well represented, with #9 Yale (1 first place vote), #11 Union, and #20 Cornell joining the Engineers as nationally ranked teams. Dartmouth drew 80 votes, leaving them as the top unranked team in the poll. Princeton (7) and Quinnipiac (4) also drew the attention of some voters. Notre Dame, who will face off with the Engineers in three weeks, is ranked #1 in the poll with 10 first place votes. Also on the RPI schedule this year is #7 Colorado College. RIT (53) and Ferris State (12) also received votes.


Acadia at #18 RPI
Exhibition Game - Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
10/1/11 - 7:00pm

RESULT: RPI 7, Acadia 0

BOX SCORES
College Hockey Stats
USCHO

RECAPS
RPI

VIDEO
Full game (RPI TV)


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

Reale Deals
1. F Ryan Haggerty, 2 G
2. F Zach Schroeder, 1 G, 2 A
3. G Scott Diebold, 19 saves, SO


Upcoming games
07 Oct - Minnesota State
08 Oct - Minnesota State
14 Oct - at Ferris State
15 Oct - at Ferris State
21 Oct - at #1 Notre Dame

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