Saturday, December 3, 2011

HAMDEN, Conn. -- Seth Appert doesn't have a goaltender controversy. And he's not trying to start one with tonight's decision to start freshman Scott Diebold over junior Bryce Merriam, who's been regarded as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's No. 1 netminder.
After Diebold shut out Rochester Institute of Technology on Nov. 25, near his Buffalo home, Appert said: "We have a tremendous amount of belief in Bryce and he's our No. 1, but Scottie is going to be a really good college goalie, with a chance to be an elite college goalie, if he continues to put in the work and the time in like he is now. Every game we played him -- now (RIT) is four, including our exhibition (vs. Acadia College)-- he's been very good and given us a chance to win.
We need to find him more playing time."
So, Diebold, with his 1.35 goals against average and 94.4 saves percentage in a shade under 178 minutes, starts tonight against Quinnipiac. To day the 3-11-0Engineers, in the ECAC Hockey basement with a 1-5-0 record, desperately need a victory, would be understating their situation.
Once again tonight, RPI must play without second-leading scorer Ryan Haggerty (3- goals-3 assists-6 points, one of just three RPI players with more than three points, whose again sidelined by illness.
Can the defense maintain its high level?: Prior to leaving for the road trip, I asked Appert that question, if he's worried that, as the RPI offensive production improves (to whatr degree, who knows?), the defense will slip from its outstanding play of the first 13 games.
"No, not at all," he said, "because we can get better. Now, I'm not saying the numbers will look better. Right now, we're at 2.00 per game (discounting empty-net goals). Can we keep our goals against at 2 -- I don't know that's hard to do. But we can be more effective."
Appert noted that while Marty O'Grady and Brock Higgs, two strong two-way players, have been back from injuries for several games, both are just rounding into form.
Highlights on twitter: For the best highlights of tonight's game at Quinnipiac, follow me on Twitter. Log on to and go to troyrecordsport.


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