"They completely outplayed us and out-executed
us. They were better prepared. As coaches, we'll take the
blame for that."
The words were uttered by Rensselaer head
coach Seth Appert in the aftermath of RPI's 4-3 overtime
win against Princeton.
One thing that Appert has instilled in this
year's Engineers is a belief and confidence in themselves
and their teammates. They're finding ways to succeed even
when things aren't going so well.
Two very telling statistics point out just
how well RPI has done in adverse circumstances. At 3-1-3
on the year, they've lost just once in seven games. But
the opposing team has scored the first goal in all seven
of those contests. RPI is fighting back from deficits and
In that game against Princeton, RPI allowed
the first goal but scored the next three. That lead then
evaporated as the Tigers dominated play in the third period
and tied the score in the final minute. But RPI rallied
again, and won it in overtime.
"When they score a goal, like tonight
they scored first, and we bounced back with three right
away. They tie it up and we come back in overtime. The feeling
on the bench is we know it's not over until it's over,"
junior forward Jonathan Ornelas said. "We'll always
put something together and we've been showing it lately.
Hopefully we can keep it up."
A similar story unraveled on Saturday at Houston
Field House. The Engineers trailed twice but earned a 2-2
tie with Quinnipiac.
"Teams that believe in each other, and
teams that believe in what we're trying to do find ways
to win games when they don't play that well," Appert
Making plays at opportune times and excellent
goaltending have helped RPI to a solid start. There is optimism
and enthusiasm around the team, largely due to the fact
that Appert has changed the team's style of play. He encourages
them to move the puck into open space and create odd-man
situations. It's OK if they try to be creative and turn
it over, as long as they backcheck hard. So far, it has
suited the players in the lineup.
"It's great," Ornelas said. "We're
off to a real good start and the way that coach has us playing
really fits into everybody's style of play and it shows.
We're playing really well, the practices are going well
and we have a real good feel around the rink right now."
A good deal of the success is due to the work
of the goaltending tandem of Jordan Alford and Mathias Lange.
Alford, a junior, is 2-0-1 with a 2.21 goals-against average
and a .932 save percentage. The soft-spoken netminder summed
things up very succinctly.
"We're all sticking together and all
playing for each other," he said. "It's a real
SEEN AND HEARD IN THE ECACHL
He shoots and scores! And he shoots
and scores ...: Clarkson is leading the nation
in scoring with nearly five goals per game. Junior forward
Steve Zalewski leads the Golden Knights with eight goals
and is getting lots of credit, but the key to Clarkson's
potent offense is its talent throughout the lineup.
"It's a reflection on the players that
we have and our depth," Clarkson coach George Roll
said. "If you look at our overall scoring, obviously
Stevie Zalewski is having a great year, but there's a lot
of balance from top to bottom. Teams can't just concentrate
on shutting down one line. We think we can get scoring from
a lot of different places."
Clarkson has also improved its play away from
Cheel Arena. The Golden Knights won just three games away
from Potsdam last year, but already have three wins and
a tie on the road this year.
"Our guys are a little bit older. We
played in some tight games last year on the road and there
were times when we played very well. I thought one of the
best games we've played since I've been coaching here was
against Miami, but we seemed to find ways to lose,"
Roll said. "It's the opposite this year. We haven't
played great all the time, but we've come through with a
big goal or Dave (Leggio) has made a big save. We're finding
ways to win."
Great Weekend Getaway
at Cornell (Fri.)
Dartmouth at Cornell (Sat.)
The fish will fly on Friday night in front of the
nation's college-hockey-watching eyes on CSTV, despite
measures being taken Cornell administrators and security
to eliminate the tradition. The Big Red is the nation's
only unbeaten and untied team, at 4-0-0 on the season,
but hosts two very dangerous teams that dropped valuable
league standings points at home last weekend.
While You're There: Ithaca's
Commons is a cozy commerce area that features several
bars and restaurants, but two particularly good dining
options. Viva Taqueria has great Mexican food and
Benchwarmers is a traditional sports bar.
"Attaboy" for Harvard freshman goalie
Kyle Richter, who earned his first career shutout
on Tuesday night by blanking powerful Boston College.
It should give Harvard momentum heading into this
I had the pleasure to attend RPI's Black
Friday game against Princeton but was unsuccessful
in my efforts to bring home one of the sweaters.
My bid for Jake Luthi's #15 was less than my car payment,
but more than my car insurance payment. Alas, it was
not enough. I also dropped 10 tickets into the jersey
raffle, but none of them were drawn there.
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM
OF THE BAG
• There are only eight ECACHL games
on the schedule this weekend as Clarkson and St. Lawrence
host Princeton and Quinnipiac, while Cornell and Colgate
entertain Harvard and Dartmouth.
• Maybe we can blame it on the Veteran's
Day Holiday, but there are many uncommon starting times
for games involving ECACHL teams this weekend. If you're
heading out to the rinks, don't assume a 7 p.m. face off.
Keep in mind that Saturday's Harvard-Colgate and Quinnipiac-St.
Lawrence games begin at 4 p.m. and Friday's Harvard-Cornell
game is an 8 p.m. start because CSTV is broadcasting the
game from Lynah Rink. Saturday's Princeton-Clarkson game
begins at 4:30 p.m. and Brown hosts Wayne State at 2 p.m.
the same afternoon. Also, Sunday's RPI game against Merrimack
is a 5 p.m. face-off. Earlier schedules had indicated that
it was a 2 p.m. start.
• St. Lawrence's pair of wins at Dartmouth
and Harvard last weekend marked the first time they've taken
four points on that trip since 1984-85. Of course, Harvard
and Dartmouth weren't travel partners from the 1991-92 campaign
through the 2004-05 season, when Dartmouth was paired with
Vermont and Harvard with Brown.
• Union ended a five-game winless streak
with an overtime win against Princeton. Olivier Bouchard
scored the game-winner. The Dutchmen have this weekend off.
• Clarkson isn't the only team to lead
a national statistics category ... Yale is the most penalized
team in the nation (38.2 PIMs per game), and Brown is second
• St. Lawrence snapped a three-game
losing streak with a 4-0 victory at Wayne State on Saturday.
The losses to Niagara, Providence, and Michigan State were
all one-goal defeats or by a two-goal margin with an empty-net
goal for the opponent.
• The performance has been better than
the results for Princeton. Here's coach Guy Gadowsky's assessment
after the first of a pair of back-to-back 4-3 overtime defeats:
"Anytime you come back, and anytime you score a goal
late to tie it up you have to be happy with that, but the
bottom line is that we didn't finish it. If you look at
the performance, I think the performance was a good one.
They're a good team and this is a tough place to play, but
they found a way to win and we didn't."
• Harvard hadn't lost back-to-back games
since the first week of January in 2005, so a three-game
losing streak was almost unthinkable. But it happened after
St. Lawrence's win at Bright last Saturday. It was the first
three-game losing streak for Harvard since Feb. 2002 (at
Cornell, at Colgate, and Northeastern in the Beanpot) and
the first 0-3 start since the 1951-52 season when Boston
University, Boston College and RPI beat the Crimson.
• Prior to the Governor's Cup games
in late October, Quinnipiac last played in the Pepsi Arena
on Oct. 15-16, 1999. At the time they were playing in a
league still known as the MAAC and were in a tournament
with Rensselaer, Boston University, and Niagara. The Bobcats
were in their second season of Division I hockey at that
time. They obviously hope they won't have another seven-year
gap between games at the downtown Albany facility.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report