Friday, February 8, 2013

Grinding Nemo

Well, as of now, it's still game on despite the snow.

And of course, since it's going to snow, it's a North Country weekend.

The women have 15 points with six games left to play. That's one point more than they had at the end of last season, when they missed the playoffs. They're five points up on Princeton in eighth place, which means that unless the Tigers were to sweep a remaining schedule that includes Harvard, Clarkson, and St. Lawrence, the Engineers can finish no worse than they are now provided they beat the teams below them in the standings - Yale, Brown, and Colgate. Those are the games where points are a must for the playoffs.

If they want to aim higher - and they should - then they do need points this weekend against Clarkson and St. Lawrence at home. Even a split or a pair of ties would be helpful as they try to track down Dartmouth in 6th. It won't be easy - Clarkson is trying to catch Harvard and Cornell ahead of them, while St. Lawrence seeks to fend off Quinnipiac for home ice. Both of these teams are going to be in the playoffs, but their games against RPI will have an impact as they jockey for position.

Meanwhile, the men are already up in the North Country ahead of the storm, and since they're right in the middle of a free-for-all, they need points this weekend. On Wednesday we scoffed at the North Country's overall toughness, which used to be legendary but isn't quite as difficult anymore. Still, these are two teams that are basically right where the Engineers are - Clarkson literally coming into tonight (same 5-6-3 record in ECAC play) and St. Lawrence just a point ahead (5-5-4). Things couldn't be tighter, and the four points up for grabs between RPI and the North Country schools are crucial for all parties involved. RPI has played good hockey of late, but they must stay tough.

In the weekend recap, we mentioned RPI could be in 3rd by themselves at the end of the weekend if all goes perfectly for them (they sweep, Union swept, Dartmouth loses to Harvard, Princeton and Colgate do not sweep) but as low as 11th by themselves if everything goes badly (getting swept, Cornell sweeps, and Colgate, Princeton, and Brown all get at least one point). That makes this a weekend that could potentially have far reaching impact no matter what happens.

We used Immigrant Song for when the women were up in Canton and Potsdam - the Nine Inch Nails version, anyway. Since it's the song about snow (and, incidentally, Vikings) that rocks the hardest, here's the original version so you can get the Led out while you watch the snow and pucks fly.

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