This weekend, the Engineers face off against Princeton and Quinnipiac in what have already basically become do-or-die contests. Sitting at the bottom of the ECAC with 0 points thus far on the season, and two points behind everyone else, getting swept wouldn't be a final death blow, but it would make things very, very, very difficult going forward. Points are simply a must this weekend.
Are we talking about the men or the women?
Tonight in Troy, the men take on a Princeton team that pulled off an unexpected home sweep of Cornell and Colgate three weeks ago, but has done basically nothing else impressive, especially a 7-2 execution at the hands of Clarkson and a 3-1 loss to struggling UMass-Lowell last week. The Tigers are one spot behind the Engineers in KRACH, which would tend to predict a close game tonight and certainly one RPI can win.
The one hangup - RPI is expected to have a short bench. From what's been said, C.J. Lee and Zach Schroeder are still out, Mark McGowan has mono and hasn't been practicing, Craig Bokenfohr and Phil Hampton are suspended for the weekend due to an "on-campus incident," and it sounds like Brock Higgs and Johnny Rogic are going to be game-time decisions tonight. That's dicey heading into a must-win weekend.
The women head into Hamden to face off with Quinnipiac tonight. When last we saw the Bobcats just 20 days ago, the Engineers put 32 shots on senior netminder Victoria Vigilanti but could only come away with two goals, the second a late extra attacker goal. She's been a tough cookie to crumble for RPI, but they're going to need to find a way tonight.
The ladies then move on to Princeton, a team they lost to 6-5 in a game that was probably the perfect example of a "track meet," as the teams basically traded goals all night long. Can the defense improve enough against the Tigers to pull out a win? That's going to be the key.
A more difficult task awaits the men tomorrow night against Quinnipiac, with the Bobcats' early season inconsistency pretty much vanished. After they were stunned by American International on November 6 - probably the most shocking Election Night result of all, a 2-1 loss - Quinnipiac has since gone unbeaten in six straight games, including four big ECAC victories in a row, to include a sweep of Colgate and Cornell. Through the stretch, the Q has gotten the good offense, the good defense, and the good power play they need to be one of the elite teams in the league that we thought they'd be.
How about a little Uncle Ted for the weekend pumpup? This is a pretty rockin' live version, but there are a few colorful words, so you may want to wait until you get home from work to get pumped.