Unpredictability Reigns at Rensselaer
Hockey League Notebook
captain Kevin Croxton leads Rensselaer with 30 points
in 21 games.
Pardon the generalization, but engineers like
for things to make sense. Dealing with absolutes and removing
uncertainty, that’s what they do.
The Engineers on skates in the venerable Houston
Field House are not following the example provided by the
very trade their team is named for. The body of work put
forth this season has only demonstrated uncertainty.
With wins over Providence, Boston University,
and Harvard and losses to Merrimack, Sacred Heart and Holy
Cross (twice), it’s impossible to know what to expect
when Rensselaer takes the ice.
There’s no shame in losing to teams
from Atlantic Hockey. But following an overtime loss to
second-ranked Miami with a 4-2 defeat to Holy Cross just
illustrates the inconsistency that has plagued the Engineers.
“It’s tough. I wish there was
a way to explain it but there really isn’t. I think
a lot of it is how you match up against people,” Engineers
senior captain Kevin Croxton said. “We have two losses
to Holy Cross but they are a very good team. That conference
is really closing the gap and they obviously are a team
that we don’t match up well with.”
Croxton can’t explain the problem but
he thinks he knows how to solve it – which is definitely
“You have to address it if you want
to be successful. We’re working on it and I think
we’re getting better at it,” he said. “We
play well when we’re doing all of the little things
throughout the game. We have been in a lot of close games
that we lose by one goal or lose in overtime and when you
let up for just a little bit, teams are good enough to take
advantage. We have to concentrate on a 60-minute effort
No time is better than right now to start
making that run toward the playoffs. The Engineers snapped
a three-game losing streak by beating first-place Harvard
on Saturday. RPI enters a weekend on home ice against two
teams it is chasing in the standings. St. Lawrence is in
Troy on Friday night and rival Clarkson visits Saturday.
All 14 of RPI’s remaining games are ECAC Hockey League
contests, but after this weekend’s home set the Engineers
will be on the road for five straight.
“The guys are just excited. With St.
Lawrence and Clarkson coming in this weekend, it’s
huge,” Croxton said. “Both of them are really
good teams and are in the polls and for some reason we play
well against ranked teams. You don’t have to say much
in the room when these two teams are coming into town.”
RPI tied Clarkson and lost by one goal to
St. Lawrence earlier this year. Boosted by the recent win
over Harvard, the Engineers must carry some of that momentum
into these important games. It would only make sense.
AND HEARD IN THE ECACHL
Devine getting it done –
Last Friday’s opponent for Rensselaer has also battled
inconsistency this year. The Dartmouth Big Green have posted
some huge wins (Cornell, Clarkson, Harvard) but still have
a sub-.500 record at 7-8-1.
Dartmouth’s search for consistency starts
in the goal crease and sophomore Mike Devine is providing
it. Devine has claimed the starting job and has been outstanding
over the last five-plus games. On Dec. 11 at UMass Lowell,
Sean Samuel allowed three goals on six shots and was pulled
after 12:38. Devine stopped all 16 shots he faced in relief
and has started all five games since then. Dartmouth is
3-1-1 in those five games and Devine has a .947 save percentage
during the streak. The loss was a 1-0 defeat at Vermont.
If given the nod on Saturday, Devine will
face his toughest challenge yet. Dartmouth takes on New
Hampshire in the fifth annual RiverStone Cup game between
the state rivals. Last year’s contest was one for
the ages as Dartmouth rallied from an early four-goal deficit,
and scored four goals in the last 10 minutes of the game
to win 9-8.
“Last year’s game was an interesting
game, a 9-8 game being down and having to find a way. UNH
is such a strong team in their transition and their offensive
side of the game, and they’re a difficult team defensively.
You don’t expect a high-scoring game like that. It
was fun to watch, but it wasn’t a whole lot of fun
behind the bench,” Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet said
in his Coach’s Corner segment on the Big Green hockey
“It’s a great environment to play
in. It’s fun for our guys and it’s good for
hockey in the state. To have the two Division I teams in
the state play in a venue like this is really good for hockey,
and it’s a fun game.”
Great Weekend Getaway
at Union (Fri.)
Clarkson at Rensselaer (Sat.) Recent history and established history highlight
Clarkson’s trip to the Capital Region this weekend.
The Golden Knights have knocked Union out of the playoffs
in each of the last two seasons, both times at Messa
Rink. Saturday’s game sees Clarkson visit Rensselaer
where the Golden Knights are a most unwelcome opponent.
While You’re There: If you’re
a North Country fan headed down for the weekend, downtown
Albany is a reasonable place to set up headquarters
after the Friday night game. Besides, it will give
you a chance to exercise your optimism and scout out
reliable bar stools should your team make it to the
ECACHL championship weekend or NCAA East Regional
at the Pepsi Arena in March.
fight song is rarely heard in Division III hockey,
but you need something to play in the rink after the
home team scores. Kudos to Hamilton College and the
venerable Sage Rink where Brass Bonanza blared
after each Continentals’ goal. Even better news
was that the home team scored seven times in Tuesday’s
start of December Cornell has played five games and
scored just five even-strength goals.
One of those was an empty-netter. But it’s not
all bad news, because Cornell is 4-0-1 in those five
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• Princeton has scored just four goals
in its last three games and three of those have come on
the power play. The Tigers are 0-2-1 in those games after
beating Denver on the road.
• St. Lawrence welcomed star defenseman
Drew Bagnall back to the lineup for Saturday’s game
against Clarkson in Ottawa. Partnered with senior captain
Mike Madill, the duo is the most formidable defense pairing
in the league.
• Quinnipiac squandered a two-goal third
period lead against Brown, but won the game when David Marshall
scored in overtime. Marshall has 15 goals on the season
and trails only Reid Cashman for the team’s points
• Brown broke an 11-game winless streak
with a 4-1 win over Connecticut on Tuesday. The Bears fell
behind less than two minutes into the game but rallied to
win. The good news is that Brian Ihnacak scored. The bad
news is that it was just his third goal of the season.
• Clarkson’s 6-2 win over St.
Lawrence on Saturday was one of the last major hockey events
in the Corel Centre in Ottawa. The facility was renamed
Scotiabank Place on Wednesday.
• Yale’s Brad Mills continues
to put up impressive stats. He has recorded at least one
point in all seven games he’s played this season and
has two multi-point games. He is fifth on the team in scoring
despite playing fewer than half of Yale’s 16 games.
• Former Harvard defenseman Noah Welch
is a starter for the American Hockey League All-Star Classic.
Welch is a member of the PlanetUSA Team along with ex-ECACHLers
Ryan Vesce (Cornell) and Tim Thomas (Vermont).
• Following last weekend’s ties
against Harvard and Dartmouth, Union is 6-0-4 on home ice.
The Dutchmen host Clarkson and St. Lawrence this weekend,
but play seven of their next 10 games on the road.
of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.