Friday, November 13, 2015

Prove It Again

Well, another week has passed, and the Engineers are still tied for first place in the ECAC on the men's side. Huzzah. Now comes the real test on whether they can stay.

Yale is 1-0-1 on the young ECAC season - the RPI has two games in hand over them, but they won both of those games. But the Engineers aren't part of the real discussion just yet. That's because Yale is still unbeaten overall as well (3-0-1) and have looked very good while doing it. The one blemish against the Bulldogs is a tie against Harvard, another team that has looked very, very good (and is in fact tied with RPI for first place). You see the issue by now. Yale and Harvard tying each other, that's no knock on either of them. The Engineers, meanwhile, still need a signature win to join the conversation.

The opportunity presents itself tonight as the #10 Bulldogs come to Troy. When it comes to upsets in the Appert era, Yale has provided more than their share, although the Bulldogs have certainly had RPI's number of late. Yale swept by a combined 9-3 score last year, and 8-2 a year before that. In 2012-13, though, it was 10-2 RPI. The Bulldogs frequently seem to avoid having to face off against Jason Kasdorf - over the last two seasons, only the most recent game came against the Engineers' top netminder. They're likely to avoid him again tonight, although Cam Hackett showed off some skill over the weekend in the North Country. This shouldn't be as easy as it's been in the last couple of seasons.

Tonight's game is a tough one, but Saturday's against Brown has to be one where RPI takes points - probably both - if they want to be taken seriously. Last year, they were swept by the Bears for the first time in almost 20 years. That's a stain that needs to be washed away if they are to prove they're a better team than they were last season. Brown is 0-3 to start the season and they've given up 19 goals in three games - by comparison, RPI has given up 25 in 9. Get it done.

The women face an even more daunting challenge this weekend as they travel to face probably the most difficult back-to-back pairing in the ECAC this season, Dartmouth and Harvard. Their upset win over Clarkson on Saturday last weekend made the loss to St. Lawrence tough to swallow, but it did prove that good goaltending can keep any team in any game long enough to do some damage, and that's exactly what the Engineers got from ECAC Goalie of the Week Lovisa Selander. If she can build on her outstanding weekend, good things are in store going forward for this team. It may not be this weekend, but it'll be soon.

Dropping the beat for this weekend's pumpup.

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