Friday, January 6, 2012

Homecoming Spotlight

It was a dark December at Houston Field House - literally. Neither the men or the women had home games last month, and believe it or not, the last game played there was a win for RPI; a 2-1 victory for the women over Syracuse way back on November 26. The last men's game was a little less memorable and a little longer ago, a 5-1 loss to Union on November 15 - going on two months ago now.

Both teams make their returns this weekend with four ECAC contests. This afternoon at 3pm, the women return from their winter break - their first actual game in over a month - with a big one against Colgate, a team just in front of them in the league standings. That makes this a winnable game and an important one as well, since the Raiders have a game in hand over the Engineers.

Tonight, the men take center stage with the big spotlight of a national television audience against a team that certainly has an axe to grind with RPI - Dartmouth, the team that was first out back in March for the NCAA tournament, with the Engineers first in. RPI's two big wins over the Big Green last season were the difference makers. Will they have similar success this year, or will Dartmouth get their revenge? Come down to the Field House tonight at 7:30 (get there at seven or earlier!) to find out.

Tomorrow afternoon brings another huge challenge for the women with the Cornell Big Red, ranked #3 in the nation. RPI has lost 7 straight against resurgent Cornell, but they gave them all they could handle in Game 1 of last year's ECAC quarterfinals - just as they did with #1 Wisconsin in the first of two in November. Can they pull the upset and snag a golden point or two from a team that isn't giving many up this year? It'll be tough.

Finally on Saturday night, it's Harvard for the men, and the Crimson have been all over the map this season. They managed a tie last week at North Dakota (before being blown out the next night), something that is never easy even though this isn't exactly the Team Formerly Known as the Fighting Sioux's year.

Hockey is back in Troy, and the lights are shining tonight. Hopefully, the optimism of Friday morning doesn't have to give way, as it has frequently this year, to the disappointment of Sunday morning.

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