Friday, March 15, 2013

Playoff Hockey: Kill or Be Killed

60 minutes.

In 60 minutes, everything can change. Nine wins in the last ten? Doesn't matter. In 60 minutes, you could be staring into the abyss - 60 more from being done.

To paraphrase Francis Albert Sinatra, you're ridin' high in February, shot down in March.

That's the playoffs, and RPI fans in particular should know the feeling. In 2010 against Brown, things should have been hunky dory. The Engineers were the 6th seed, Brown only 11th, and conventional wisdom said that despite the rough finish, RPI was going to roll. Oops. 60 minutes later, they were a loss away from elimination, and in Game 3 that's exactly what happened.

In 98 best-of-three series since 2000 (when the ECAC moved away from the "first to three points" model), the team that won Game 1 went on to win the series 77 times. Game 1 sets the tone. It puts one team in a position of dominance over the other.

Tonight, it's time to re-establish that dominance. When last we saw Brown, they were giving up the first five goals of the game, chasing Anthony Borelli from the net. The wildcard? No one knows how a team that has been off for two weeks will fare against a team that played last weekend. Is RPI rusty or rested? Is Brown energized or tired?

We've been counting down the hours and minutes on the road to Atlantic City all season on our clock to the right. For one team in Troy this weekend, that road hits a dead end. It's not personal, it's business.

Normally this time of year, we go with hero themed pumpups. And perhaps there will be a hero spawned this weekend. But it's a different feeling this year. This feels more like a team of heroes.

So for our first pumpup this weekend, we present this for your consideration. The waiting is over. It's time to wake up...

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