Tuesday, March 29, 2011

York signs with Columbus Blue Jackets

TROY -- "You're getting to be like a WCHA team (in terms of star players leaving early)," Rensselaer hockey coach Seth Appert was told on Tuesday when junior goaltender Allen York signed with the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets.
"That's part of the price you pay when you recruit well and when (those recruits) perform well," Appert said.
York, drafted by the Blue Jackets in the sixth round in 2007, joins -- though no RPI fan has to be reminded -- 2009-10 freshmen stars Brandon Pirri and Jerry D'Amigo in turning pro early.
For York, it simply was a matter of the old cliche -- 'an offer he couldn't refuse.'
"It is a tremendous opportunity at a life-long dream that I cannot pass up,” York said.
The 6-foot-3, 188-pound York was assigned to the Blue Jackets' American Hockey League affilate in Springfield. He'll be in uniform on Friday night when the Falcons host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
"I'm pretty excited," York said. "It's a dream come true."
Appert was thrilled for York.
"I would like to congratulate Allen on signing an NHL contract,” Appert said. "Allen has been a driving force in our program for the last three years, pushing us to back to back winning seasons and an NCAA Tournament appearance. We wish him the best in his future as he will always be part of the RPI hockey family.”
"A lot people (RPI players) come here for a combination of a world-class education and pretty good hockey," Appert said. "Allen came here for hockey. He believed this was the best program in the country for him to develop and sharpen his skills and to progress and mature as a goaltender."
York wasn't sure he'd start on Friday night.
"They're carrying four goalies right now," he said of the Falcons. "Hopefully I'll get a start here and there. I'll just work hard in practice and see what happens."
Asked what the Blue Jackets told him, York said, "Not much. Just that they're happy I'm here and get to Springfield."
He also said he hasn't thought much about how he'd spend his first paycheck.
"Well, I'm going to need a vehicle," he said. "I'm not sure it's going to be a nice one."
The Wetaskiwin, Alb. native spoke of his time at RPI.
β€œThe three years at RPI were the best of my life and I am very thankful to my teammates, coach Appert, the rest of the staff and the fans."
He said he came to Rensselaer "because it was a new challenge, a team that hadn't been doing well. And coach Appert was pretty persuasive with what he could do for me. And when I came (for a visit), I loved the area and loved the guys.
"I figured it was a real good fit for me," York added.
York posted an 18-11-4 record this past season, with a 2.17 goals against average and 92.4 saves percentage. He started every game but one, except when he was injured, missing three games.
York was named All-ECAC Hockey twice, earning Second Team honors after his sohomore year and a Third Team berth this past season.
He had a career goals against average of 2.47, the best in RPI history. He is third in saves percentage (91.4), fifth in games (83), starts (81) and minutes (4898:46). He's sixth in saves (2143) and shutouts (4).
Appert again stated that the Engineers will bring in a recruited goalie for the 2011-12 season but also reaffirmed his faith in junior-to-be Bryce Merriam.
"I have a lot of belief in Bryce," Appert said of Merriam, who beat Princeton 5-2 in one of his starts and gave up a total of just five goals in overtime losses to Colgate and Cornell.
"Bryce stepped up when we needed," Appert said. "He'll be 24 years old and he's more mature now."

Saturday, March 26, 2011

NCAA Tournament loss for Engineers

Rensselaer hockey players didn't want the program's first NCAA Tournament appearance in 16 years to end with an "at least they got there" situation.
After a nightmarish second period in which North Dakota scored four goals, that's the way it turned out.
The Engineers were held to 21 shots, made some defensive mistakes and the top-ranked Fighting Sioux roared to a 6-0 rout at the Resch Center in Green Bay.
"I'm certainly proud that we made here but I'm not happy the way it ended, not happy with the score," RPI coach Seth Appert said. "We didn't come here just to be here.
"We played exactly the way we needed to play to have success in the first period," Appert said. "Then they pushed us pretty good and ... we didn't have enough resolve to stay disciplined enough in the second period to continue to play the way we needed to to have a chance to win."
Brad Malone scored the first two North Dakota goals, putting in his own rebound from a sharp angle early in the second period for a 2-0 lead.
Matt Frattin had one goal, one assist for North Dakota (31-8-3), which will play Denver or Western Michigan for the Midwest Region championship today.
"It was good that we got here," said RPI senior and scoring leader Chase Polacek. "The helped the younger guys. They'll have a game under their belt when they get back here again."
"It's not the way we wanted it to end, obviously," said senior Tyler Helfrich, "but it was great to be here. It's something the guys can build on."
"Great experience to be (in the tournament)," said RPI captain John Kennedy.
"We wish we could have made a better showing."
The Engineers conclude the season with a 21-13-5 record.
Polacek, Helfrich, Foss, Kennedy, Bryan Brutlag all ended their RPI careers on Saturday. Seniors Scott Halpern and Kevin Beauregard did not play.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

RPI extends Appert's contract

TROY -- Rensselaer Polytechnic values hockey coach Seth Appert.
That became apparant on Wednesday when the Institute extended Appert's contract seven years through the 2017-18 season.
It's believed that Appert and RPI Athletic Director Jim Knowlton finalized the deal after Wednesday's practice.
Appert and Engineers leave early Thursday morning for the NCAA Tournament's Midwest Regional and a date on Saturday with top-ranked North Dakota.
It's RPI's first NCAA appearance since 1995.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Averill Park girls game 3-18

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Polacek repeats as Player of Year

Chase Polacek has been named the ECAC Hockey Player of the Year for the second straight year, becoming the third player in the 50-year history of the league to be able to make that claim.
"That's sound neat," the Rensselaer senior said Thursday when asked how 'Chase Polacek, two-time ECACH Player of the Year sounds to his ears.
Polacek, who leads ECACH scorers for the second straight year, attended the ECACH Championship Weekend banquet in Atlantic City with RPI head coach Seth Appert where he accepted the award.
Polacek said he was "a little" suprised to win the award again because, "point-wise, I didn't put up the numbers I did last year."
Consult the Troy Record website, www.troyrecord.com for more on this story.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Engineers' hopes still alive

SCHENECTADY -- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute still needs more from far and wide in its hopes for an at-large bid to the NCAA Hockey Tournament -- but the Engineers have gotten plenty so far.
As of this writing -- early in the second period at Union (the Dutchmen are tied in their quarterfinal series-deciding game with Colgate 1-0) -- the Engineers are tied for the No. 15 spot in the Pairwise Rankings, which generally picks the top 15 teams of the 16-team NCAA field, as long as seeds hold throughout the various league tournaments -- ECAC Hockey, the WCHA, CCHA and Hockey East.
The final berth is an automatic bid awarded to the Atlantic Hockey conference playoff champion. That berth, you'll remember, went to RIT, which shocked both Denver and New Hampshire at the Times Union Center.
Thus, Rensselaer could have used Dartmouth losing at Harvard but the Big Green won, 4-3.
The Engineers also need Ferris State to win at Western Michigan and Wisconsin to win at Colorado College. Western Michigan and Colorado College share the No. 12 rating in the Pairwise.
A Cornell loss to Quinnipiac would remove the Big Red as a Team Under Consideration and wipe out two RPI losses. Record against TUC teams is a key element to the Pairwise ratings.
The Big Red led 1-0 midway through the third period in their deciding Game 3.
"There's still a lot that happen (both tonight) and next week," RPI coach Seth Appert said today. "We're hoping."
More later.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bitter, bitter defeat

I don;t know which RPI's loss to Colgate contained more of - disappointment or disbelief.
I'm not that surprised at the loss, I expected it was a good possibility, based on RPI's inability to score goals against Colgate during the season, when literally every other team in ECAC Hockey did.
The fact that the Engineers followed last year's defeat to the 11th seed with an upset loss to the last-place team in the league, who's nine wins include three against RPI and three against horribly-weak Atlantic Hockey teams, is shocking. It's almost intolerable.
How RPI went 2-6-1 in its past nine games, 1-5-1 in the final seven home games is almost incredible.
It's difficult to express just how gut-wrenching this loss is. Knowing how I feel, as the local beat writer -- and I don't mind admitting I WANT RPI to succeed -- how bitterly empty the loss makes me, I can't imagaine how the players feel; what's going through Seth Appert's mind right now, and what's going on in his stomach.
With no disrespect to Colgate whatsoever -- and the Raiders deserved to win -- this loss will everyone in the Rensselaer hockey community shake their heads all spring and summer.
There were tears in the eyes of many RPI players Sunday night, even though the game had been over for nearly 30 minutes.
Chase Polacek had to fight back more tears as he greeted the media.
"This isn't what we had in mind; not how we envisioned for it to end like this," he said, adding that the defeat is worse than last year's to Brown.
"Yeah, I think it is. This is my senior year," he said. "We didn't expect to be in this position right now. I wasn't planning on this, I wasn't expecting this at all.
"I think we've made a lot of good strides," Polacek said of his four years, in which the Engineers had back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in nearly a decade.
"Going from the bottom of the league to 20 wins and some pretty high national rankings," he continued. "But it really doesn't matter after this."
Polacek won two ECACH scoring titles and is a Hobey Baker Award candidate.
"I'm really going to miss it, going to miss it a lot," said senior captain John Kennedy.
"It hurts," said senior winger Bryan Brutlag. "You work really hard at something for so long and care about it so much and to have it end so suddenly, it hurts.
"I love the guys on this team," Brutlag added.
"It sucks that it's over," said senior winger Tyler Helfrich, who scored RPI's only goal in the game. "We kept fighting. They deserved to win."
"I'm speechless right now," said senior defenseman Jeff Foss.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Engineers beaten

Colgate's Robbie Bourdon ends RPI's season with a screened shot from the point, as the Raiders beat RPI, 2-1, midway through the second overtime.
Postgame interviews will not by easy from here.

Second overtime coming

Colgate and RPI remained tied at 1-1 after the first overtime in the deciding Game 3 of their ECAC Hockey playoff series at Houston Field House Sunday night.
Both teams had excellent chances on ovetime.
Colgate's Francois Brisebois hits the right goalpost fr om the right circle 8:40 into the period. Later, RPI goalie Allen York had to make big saves on Brian Day and Chris Wagner to prevent the Engineers from losing.
Tyler Helfrich skated behind the Colgate net, back-and-forth, then came out through the crease but couldn't get off a backhander.
Colgate outshot RPI 11-8 in the OT and seemed like the hungrier team.

Engineers tie game with goal late in second period

Rensselaer and Colgate will head to the third period tied 1-1 in Game 3 of their ECAC Hockey playoffs quarterfinal-round series.
The Engineers pressured the Raiders net for much of the period but didn't create any Grade A chances. Their perserverance paid off when Mike Bergin put a shot on net. There was a scramble in front for the rebound, with players on both teams swatting at the puck.
A Colgate defender fanned on a clear try and Tyler Helfrich, on his backhand, lifted one past a screened CU goalie Eric Mihalik to tie the game.
RPI has outshot Colgate thus far, 22-12.
If you're able, follow the highlights with me on Twitter.

Engineers must travel comeback road

Except for some glaring mistakes, Rensselaer had the better of the play during the first period of their deciding Game 3 in the ECACH playoffs this evening.
Chase Polacek's pass from the point was deflected by Colgate's Austin Smith, to teammate Austin Mayer, who skated in alone on RPI goalie Allen York and beat him with a backhander for the game's only goal.
Late in the period, RPI's Nick Bailen gave the puck away in the RPI zone and York had to come up with two big saves on Smith, making a sliding stop of Smith's own rebound after York made a stick save on the first shot.
Should the Engineers lose, they will have gone 2-6-1 over the final nine games, 1-5-1 in their final seven home games.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

RPI Highlights here

Hey, RPI fans. Follow the highights of Game 2 of RPI's series with Colgate by logging on to www.troyrecord.com and linking to RPI-Colgate hockey March15.

RPI-Colgare hockey March5

Friday, March 4, 2011

Follow the highlights

Hey, RPI fans, follow the highlights of the Engineers' playoff game against Colgate tonight by logging on the www.troyrecord.com, and finding the link, RPI vs. Colgate hockey 3-4. You can send questions and comments.
RPI's forward lines for tonight are (left-to-right)
Brock Higgs-Chase Polacek-C.J. Lee
Matt Tinordi-Johnny Rogic-Tyler Helfrich
Alex Angers Goulet-Marty O'Grady-Bryan Brutlag
Patrick Cullen-Joel Malchuk-Josh Rabbani
Defensive pairings are:
Mike Bergin-Jeff Foss
Guy Leboeuf-John Kennedy
Nick Bailen-Bo Dolan

RPI vs. Colgate hockey 3-4

Thursday, March 3, 2011

RPI Fans Chat March 3

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New pact for Kirk

TROY -- Kirk MacDonald is still in the minor leagues. He'll have a few more bucks -- quite a few -- in his wallet should he be recalled by the National Hockey League's Boston Bruins.
The Bruins have upgraded the Providence Bruins winger and former Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute star's contract recently.
He now has a two-way -- National Hockey League-American Hockey League contract which will significantly increase his pay, should Boston recall him.
"Yeah, I wasn't expecting it," MacDonald said Monday. "I'd signed an AHL contract and that's what I've been working with. This late in the season, it was a surprise.
"Hopefully, it can leads something," else MacDonald said, hoping the Bruins could recall him soon.
'Two-way' contracts refer only to the salary a player is earning in each league (NHL/AHL), not the waiver status of a player.
'Two-way' means that players have two different salary amounts; one for when they are in the minors, and one for when they are in the NHL. If a player with a one way contract was sent down to the minors, he would earn the same salary he was earning in the NHL.
"They're making a run for the Stanley Cup," MacDonald said, noting the Bruins currently hold the Eastern Conference's No. 3 seed. "Maybe I could go up and be sort of a black ace for them in the playoffs. As I said, I wasn't really expecting this."
In 61 games for Providence, MacDonald has 12 goals, 15 assists for 27 points, with 31 penalty minutes and a minus-4 plus/minus rating. The P-Bruins are in sixth in the seven-team AtlanticDivision with a 26-30-3-2 record.
While at Rensselaer, MacDonald beat testicular cancer, which prevented him from playing during his fourth year. He was granted a medical redshirt season by the NCAA.
Ironically, MacDonald's current scoring line at Providence is the same as his redshirt senior season at RPI (2006-07) -- 12-15-27. He was tied with Jake Luthi (4-23-27) for the Engineers' scoring lead that season.
In 137 games during his RPI career, MacDonald scored 47 goals, 56 assists, with 144 penalty minutes. His 103 points is good for 55th place on Rensselaer's all-time career scoring list. Senior Tyler Helfrich (32-70-102) could surpass him in the upcoming ECAC Hockey playoffs.
MacDonald says he's in great health and feeling strong.
"I'm feeling good," the Victoria, B.C. native said. "And I feel like I'm doing fairly well (on the ice). Management seems to think so.
"I'm just trying to get better and get up there (to Boston) some time next year, if not this year."