Saturday, March 6, 2010

What do Engineers lack?

TROY -- Just what is it that Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's hockey team lacks?
I can't put a finger on it but it's something?
We've said it was killer instinct and that applies in some situations but not all?
In their last two home games, the Engineers have lost to clearly ECAC Hockey's most struggling teams and have totaled just one goal.
Friday night's loss to Brown was as puzzling as it was aggravating.
Rensselaer coach Seth Appert points out that Brown is "the most physical team in our league," and indeed, the Bears may be, but they are also the worst team in ECACH. When last-place Clarkson is anywhere near healthy, it is a better team than Brown.
Yet the Engineers have a 1-2-0 record against the Bears. Quite simply, they should have put Brown away early Friday night but couldn't. The effort wasn't strong enough.
Did losing the game at Dartmouth during the final 2:50 -- a game they had TOTAL control of after two periods -- put some doubt in the Engineers' minds?
Are their other psychological and/or internal problems of which we're not aware?
Despite the outstanding talent among their first two forward lines and Allen York's prowess in net, are they not as good as we thought?
They have a 50-point scorer, a 40-point scorer and another forward who's as good an all-around forward, as a freshman, as there is in the league and still they're a .500 team.
Rensselaer is 4-4-1 against the eighth-, ninth-, 10th- and 11th-place teams in the league and barely punched out a 2-1, homeice victory over Clarkson, one night after Clarkson allowed 11 goals at Union.
Will the Engineers win tonight?
If I was forced to bet a paycheck one way or the other, I'd have to bet yes but I really don't know if they will or not. If they do, will they win again tomorrow night and advance to the playoff semifinals?
Who knows?
With all the resiliency the Engineers have displayed this season, they better still have a boatload in reserve.
If they lose this series, be it in two games or three, this will have to be viewed as a lost season.
Chase Polacek topped the 50-point mark, is having a Hobey Baker Award-type season, led the league in scoring and is among the leaders nationally.
Freshman Brandon Pirri led the league in assists and displayed some brilliant moves and Jerry D'Amigo was an instant two-way star.
The Engineers swept No. 5-ranked Yale and showed flashes of indications that they were about to become a week-by-week Top 20, even a Top 10 team.
All that will be awash if they lose this series.


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