Tuesday, January 18, 2011

All due back -- but no C.J.

TROY – The bad news is, yes, C.J. Lee’s major penalty early in overtime at Colgate on Saturday night did include a game disqualification penalty, so the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute sophomore forward will miss Friday night’s game against Harvard.
A rumor had been circulated that the penalty was misreported and should have been a game misconduct, which meant Lee would not be ineligible for the Harvard game.
The good news is, RPI head coach Seth Appert says he expects “all the injured players to play on Friday night.”
That would mean second-line center Brock Higgs, who missed five games after a skate blade sliced open his neck on Dec. 30 at Alabama-Huntsville, would be back, and senior winger Bryan Brutlag would return after missing just one game due to the concussion he suffered on Friday night at Cornell.
“I expect all of them to play,” Appert said Tuesday afternoon.
Back to Lee.
The “rumor” that Lee’s 10-minute penalty was not a DQ didn’t seem to have much foundation since this writer knew Appert spoke at length with referee Chip McDonald, who made the call, but it needed to be checked out anyway.
“No truth to it,” Rensselaer assistant Athletic Director and Sports Information Director Kevin Beattie said. (Lee’s) not eligible.”
Beattie said he had not heard of the rumor, Appert had.
“I don’t know how these things get started,” Appert said. “Blogs, (internet) chats. “But I talked to McDonald about (the call). It was definitely a DQ (call).”
Appert had expressed after Chase Polacek’s penalty-shot goal with 1:35 remaining in overtime gave RPI a 2-1 victory that he was “disappointed” with the disqualification call.
Back to the good news.
Hard-nosed sophomore winger Marty O’Grady, who played Saturday night at way below 100 percent after missing the game at Cornell due to a chest injury, will play Friday against Harvard, as will senior Scott Halpern, who’s missed nine games with an ankle injury.
All of the injured players skated hard in Tuesday’s practice, but without contact for Higgs and Brutlag.
“That’s just precautionary,” Appert said. “They should all be ready to go on Friday night and I expect them all to play. And with C.J. out, we need them.”
Nice view: Scott Halpern was among several injured RPI players sitting behind the east goal and Colgate U.'s Starr Rink on Saturday night.
So, the senior winger had a good look at Chase Polacek's game-winning, penalty-shot goal in overtime that gave the Engineers a 2-1 victory,
"It was awesome," Halpern said. "We knew Chase would score, he's a great goal-scorer. He put it right over his (goaltender Eric Mihalik's right)pad. Fun to watch and a big win."
Victories needed: Obviously, the victory at Colgate was huge. The Engineers still have high hopes of getting one of the top four seeds for the ECAC Hockey Tournament, winning a best-of-three series from a lower-seeded team and going to Atlantic City for the tournament's semifinals and championship.
In that regard, their 5-5-0 league record is much better than 4-6-0, or even 4-5-1.
Eight of the final 12 regular-season games are at home.
This weekend's games are crucial. Harvard is struggling, winning just once since its 1-0 victory over RPI. The Crimson have lost eight straight ECACH games and are 1-11-0 in their past 12 games overall.
The Engineers nearly lost to a reeling Colgate team (winless in league play) on the road. They need to bury the Crimson at home.
Saturday's game is a must if the Engineers are to finish ahead of Dartmouth, which is 6-3-1 in league play.
Assuming Yale and Union finish 1-2 in the ECACH for a second straight season -- a fairly safe assumption at this point -- if the Engineers lose to Dartmouth, they would virtually be playing for the fourth and final preliminary-round bye, having to beat out Princeton (7-4-1), Clarkson (5-3-1) and Cornell (5-5-0) for that spot.
Let's assume the Engineers come up big with a sweep this weekend, beat Brown but lose to Yale next week. That would make them 8-6-0. Among the eight remaining games after that, if they could (in no specific order) complete the sweep of Colgate, beat Cornell, get three points in two games against Quinnipiac, split with Princeton and get at least two points from the north country trip -- let's say a split, with the win coming at Clarkson -- they'd be 13-8-1.
Let's assume the split with Union, too, and lose again to Yale. That would mean they Tigers would have to get at least nine points from their other five games to beat out RPI.
That would be a major chore for Princeton.
We've made many assumptions into the 'W' column for RPI. Are they good enough to make those assumptions realities?
We'll see, starting Friday night.
Fans chat: At 6 p.m. Thursday, we'll have a RPI fans chat herein. Go to troyrecord.com.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home