Friday, October 18, 2013

Backups in Boston

(Tom is in the West Indies on his honeymoon, hence the lack of additional content this week... he'll be back at the end of next week, don't worry.)

BU may not be aware of how much they've lucked out at Agganis Arena against the Engineers in the recent past - and yet, that luck hasn't translated into blowouts of RPI, not in the least. Tonight's game in Beantown represents the third straight BU-RPI game in Boston that has featured the Engineers forced to cope with an injury to its first-choice goaltender who will be inactive for the game. On December 11, 2009, an injury to Allen York pressed Bryce Merriam into duty at Agganis, and the freshman netminder responded with 32 saves on 35 shots to lead the Engineers to a 5-3 victory. Last season, on January 4, 2013, an injury to Jason Kasdorf required Merriam to take charge once again, and the senior turned in an even more impressive performance with 38 saves on 41 shots but in a losing effort as the offense was not as strong with RPI falling 3-2 in overtime.

Once again, it's RPI at BU, and once again, it's an injured top goaltender. Jason Kasdorf suffered a "freak" shoulder injury before practice on Tuesday, and while rumors are wild and flying about his long-term status (one blogger in Winnipeg suggested he was out for the year, others have said he'll be back relatively soon), we do know he's out for the coming weekend. RPI will look to Scott Diebold to channel Bryce Merriam's last two performances in order to orchestrate a bounce-back from Sunday's horrifying turnout at Boston College.

After a pair of games against two of the stronger college hockey programs in the nation, the Engineers bookend with a second game against Sacred Heart, this one the home opener. After a slow start last week in Connecticut, RPI thoroughly demolished a team that was one day removed from one of the biggest regular-season upsets in NCAA history, as the Pioneers, with just 2 wins all of last season, had just knocked off then-#1 UMass-Lowell. Hopefully, RPI can duplicate that success as a confidence builder heading into next week's till with New Hampshire, another one of the traditional Hockey East beasts.

Just one outing for the women this weekend as they take on Vermont tomorrow at the Field House as the first half of the family weekend doubleheader in Troy along with the men's game with Sacred Heart. The Engineers are coming off a big tie against BU and should be the favorites against a Catamounts team that has traditionally been one of the weakest in Hockey East. If you're planning to head to Troy for the men's game anyway, why not turn out to see the women at 3pm?

It's October, it's Friday, and you know what that means around here... turn up the volume and get psyched. In honor of the men's home opener... ladies and gentlemen... THE ROLLING STONES!

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