Friday, February 13, 2015

Statistic of the Year

Here's your statistic of the year for the RPI men.

When allowing two or fewer goals, the Engineers are 9-0-1.
When allowing three or more goals, the Engineers are 0-20-0.

It's that amazingly stark. You'd think that, even with the Engineers' well documented goal struggles, they'd have found a way to at least pick up a tie in one of those games where they've allowed three. You'd perhaps especially think that maybe they'd have dropped one or two even when they didn't.

Nope. It's been a hard and fast rule through 30 games. Give up three, lose. Don't give up three, don't lose.

Now, most teams are going to have a strong record in games where they allow two or fewer, and a weaker one when they give up three or more. It's just a fact of life. But this is pretty telling about what matters for this team.

The three-goal mark is always bandied about in college hockey as the goal for any team to score in any game. "First to three" is a pretty common remark, especially out west.

Interestingly enough, RPI has managed 3 goals themselves in six of nine wins - the difference being three 2-1 victories over Union, Dartmouth, and New Hampshire. They've scored three in a loss only once - in the Mayor's Cup game, a game they lead 3-2 heading into the 3rd period.

What's going on here? Wasn't the defense supposed to be a point of strength?

Freakout! weekend is here, and it's none too soon. The Engineers have slid into 9th, a road playoff spot, just as we feared would happen after the game at Dartmouth. They're back home for the first time in a month, and they've done some awesome things at home in league play this season. With four of the last six games being played in the friendly confines of Houston Field House and the Tute still just four points out of 3rd place, it's another key weekend. Friday's game against Brown is a required two points - almost nobody is giving up points to the Bears this season, and RPI's already dropped two of them. Yale presents a bigger challenge on Saturday, but perhaps Freakout! could be the great equalizer. The last time Yale came to the Freakout! they were the #1 team in the nation. They weren't anymore afterwards.

Meantime, the women get set to wrap up their season next weekend at home, but first they go through their final road trip of the year to Yale and Brown. The Bulldogs are almost certainly off to the playoffs, but they at least represent some lower hanging fruit that the Engineers should hope to grab points from. Brown is a team RPI needs to beat, the first of two straight Saturday games in which the Engineers can pick up points to conclude their season on an upbeat note.

We've had a pretty good year here at WaP, and we're hoping it continues for at least another month. We've been accused at times by different people of going far too easy on the teams for their struggles or being far too hard on them. Sounds like we're getting it right.

But for those who think we're too hard... this pumpup is for you.

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