Both the men and the women tangle with the North Country this weekend, the men doing it on the road in the Great White North, the women doing it from the comfortable confines of Houston Field House.
The weekend couldn't have gone much worse for the women last weekend, as they had the opportunity to reach 5th place but are currently in a tie for the last playoff position, 8th. (We'd say they're in 8th, since they have a game in hand over Dartmouth, but they do lose the tiebreaker to the Big Green.) That's the bad news. The good news is that there's a major log jam in the middle of the ECAC, from 5th to 9th, five teams separated by a whopping two points.
That's what makes tonight's game against St. Lawrence all that much more important. With a win tonight, the Engineers would move into a tie with the Saints for as high as 5th. A loss would not only put them four points behind SLU, it would leave them dangling on the edge with a game against #4 Clarkson looming tomorrow. From here on out, each weekend has necessary points, and those are tonight for RPI.
For the men... well, if the weekend could be swapped, that probably would have been better. No Seth Appert, and four players suspended for tonight's game against a much-improved Clarkson squad with a defense that has them in basically every game. Being without two important goal scorers puts kind of a crimp in the plans - any points tonight have got to be considered premium.
Saturday, the Engineers return to full strength against a St. Lawrence team that is in absolute free-fall right now. Especially if Friday turns sour, those are going to be some key points to pick up going forward.
Both teams stand at a crossroads of what they've done and what they need to do this weekend. Here's a pumpup for you that elaborates on that point.