Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Black Ice

Ooh. Darkness. Fun.

It's Black Friday Saturday Tuesday, which for the 11th straight season recognizes RPI's first home ECAC contest of the season. This year, it's also the first ECAC game period, so the winner tonight gets to be in first place all by their lonesome for three days. Fun.

Hard to take away much from last year's Harvard games. In November, when Harvard won 4-0 against RPI, the Engineers were at rock-bottom and had several healthy scratches in a "message sending" game from the locker room. In February, when RPI won 3-0 at home, the Crimson were approaching rock-bottom, having lost six in a row going into that contest.

One thing that is still true from February to today - while the players who left the program midseason as part of the cheating scandal at Harvard are back with the team, they won't play in any games until around Thanksgiving. That means the Crimson are likely going to improve around then... and RPI's getting them at the right time, since they can't see them until the ECAC Tournament at the earliest.

But Harvard won't be the pushovers that they seemed to be in February, either. This is a team brimming with offensive talent in the sophomore and freshman classes, and we saw last year what a team like that can do - it finished in 2nd place when it found some good defense. The Crimson shut out Bentley on Saturday, 3-0, but they had to stop 43 shots in order to do so. Something tells me RPI has a slightly better capacity to make those shots dent twine than do the Falcons.

The Engineers have struck paydirt in the first eight minutes of each of their last three victories. Getting ahead early and maintaining offensive pressure will be key tonight.


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