January 31, 2008
Taking Things One Day at a Time

By Joe Gladziszewski

Asking anyone around the Rensselaer hockey program about the team's recent 10-game losing streak will probably yield a response similar to, "What losing streak?"

ECAC Hockey Notebook

Jordan Alford made 32 saves in Saturday's win over St. Lawrence that snapped a 10-game losing streak for Rensselaer.

National TV Schedule

RPI didn't get bogged down in what wasn't going right. Instead, there was a day-to-day focus where concentrating on details and doing things correctly would help turn things in the Engineers' favor.

A tough schedule, struggles on the power play, and the aforementioned lack of confidence were all contributing factors when things weren't going well for the Engineers. Now they've got a win to build on after last weekend's 6-3 victory at St. Lawrence.

"We didn't dwell on them or look back on those things. The biggest thing was that it probably shook our confidence a little bit because there aren't a lot of players on our team that have done a lot of winning during their time in college. We've played a very tough schedule. It's made us a better team this year and it will make our program better years into the future," RPI coach Seth Appert said.

The Engineers are using that same approach this weekend when Quinnipiac visits on Friday and Princeton follows on Saturday.

Ceremonial and alumni activities highlight the weekend, as Engineer great Frank Chiarelli will be added to the program's Ring of Honor on Friday night as its fourth member. Chiarelli, a 1955 graduate of Rensselaer, is RPI's all-time leader in goals (155), goals per game (1.94), and points (265). He is a four-time All-American and holder of three NCAA scoring records.

Ned Harkness, Adam Oates, and Joe Juneau are the other three members of the Ring of Honor.

Saturday's contest is the annual Big Red Freakout! where RPI alumni and fans pack Houston Field House wearing red and setting a boisterous scene for the opponents. This season, Princeton is the victim, err ... opponent. RPI is undefeated in its last 17 Freakout! games, with a 12-0-5 streak.

While most of the current coaching staff has only been a part of one Freakout! volunteer assistant coach Ben Barr was a part of the action for four years, from 2001 through 2004. That span included a pair of overtime wins and two victories over rival Clarkson.

Appert appreciates the tradition and significance of the game, but also noted that all of RPI's home contests are great events.

"Our normal crowd when students are back has been averaging better than 4,000 people. With the band and our fans, energy is always high," he said.

But Saturday's festivities will be the furthest thing from Engineer minds, just like a string of losses earlier this month. They'll be too focused on Friday.


Non-League Intrigue: Rensselaer isn't the only ECAC Hockey team that has taken on some top competition outside of the league this year. Clarkson is another, with previous meetings this season against St. Cloud State, Boston College, Massachusetts, and the latest endeavor – this week's two-game series at Colorado College.

The Golden Knights will look to extend a five-game unbeaten streak (4-0-1) and keep up their scoring touch, as they've averaged 3.4 goals per game during this run. That includes a 1-1 tie at Colgate.

Harvard visits Brown on Saturday, but then competes against Northeastern on Monday at 5 p.m. The Beanpot hasn't been great for the Crimson in recent seasons, as they're just 3-15-0 in the last nine years of the tournament.

Also note that Friday's game at Brown is now a 7:30 start to accommodate the women's game between the two schools earlier that day.

Great Weekend Getaway
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Quinnipiac at Rensselaer (Fri.)
Princeton at Rensselaer (Sat.)

The Engineers will have strong support from alumni and honor one of the program's best players this weekend. On the ice, they'll face two teams with differing styles of play.

While You're There: Ask an old-timer about the Freakout! game in 1987 when the souvenir horns (and other noisemakers brought by fans) caused such a ruckus that reprimand from the NCAA followed. Noise-making promotional giveaways are now prohibited.

Stick Salute

This week's INCH Podcast started by addressing e-mails from readers challenging INCH features such as the Power Rankings and Hobey Tracker. Credit to those fans. Even though they disagree with what we publish, they're passionate about the game and their favorite teams.

Bench Minor

The news is a little dated, as it happened early in the season, but enough time has passed to have a laugh about a pre-game blunder by St. Lawrence's equipment guy prior to the Oct. 20 game at Clarkson.


• The American Hockey League All-Star Classic was held Sunday and Monday in Binghamton, N.Y. and the league invited four elite teenage prospects to participate in a few events during its skills competition.

One of the participants was Kevin Cole, a current member of the Binghamton Jr. Senators. Cole has verbally committed to attend Cornell. Another was Jeremy Morin of the US NTDP Under-17s, and younger brother of Harvard sophomore defenseman Chad Morin.

• With a 3-3 tie on Sunday against American International – highlighted by Jon Grecu's game-tying goal with one second left in the third period – Dartmouth finished the non-league portion of its schedule with a 5-1-1 record.

• Five of the wins by Union during its recent seven-game winning streak came by one goal (or two goals with an empty-netter). The winning streak was the longest in Union's program history and the confidence gained in those close games should help the Dutchmen in the playoffs.

• Speaking of winning streaks, Princeton's now stands at six games after Tuesday's 5-2 win at Robert Morris. Kevin Lohry, Mark Magnowski, and Matt Arhontas had two points each in the victory. It is Princeton's first six-game win streak since the 1933-34 season.

• Yale had an impressive road trip to Colgate and Cornell, getting a win against the Raiders and a tie against the Big Red. Senior Matthew Thomey had three goals and an assist on the weekend and earned league Player of the Week recognition. The Bulldogs will need to channel that winning energy this weekend against Dartmouth, as Yale is just 2-8-0 in its last 10 games against the Big Green.

• Quinnipiac's nine-game unbeaten streak was snapped by two losses at home against Niagara last weekend. The Bobcats allowed five goals in each game and not surprisingly are 0-6-0 when allowing four or more goals this season.

• Eleven of the last 12 games between Colgate and Cornell have been decided by two goals or fewer. Both games of this weekend's home-and-home between the teams will be broadcast in central and northern New York on Time Warner Sports 26.

• Matt Vokes scored Brown's only goal on a weekend trip to Cornell and Colgate.

• After winning its first three January games against New Hampshire, Harvard, and Dartmouth, St. Lawrence has now dropped four in a row. The Saints are just 3-7-2 on home ice this year.

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report. Joe Gladziszewski can be reached at gladdy@insidecollegehockey.com.