Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tough weekend for Merriam

Rensselaer Polytechnic junior goaltender Bryce Merriam was pulled after allowing just three goals in 25 minutes, 26 seconds on Saturday night in a 6-2 loss to Princeton.
In a 3-1 defeat to Quinnipiac on Friday night, which the Engineers could have easily won, Merriam gave up a game-tying goal (1-1) on a long shot from near the blue line by Reese Rolheiser.
Next night, Rob Kleebaum gave Princeton a 2-1 lead early in the second period on a shot from near just inside the top of the right circle. That broke a 1-1 tie and few minutes later, after another goal, RPI coach Seth Appert pulled Merriam. He later assured the media that the move was strictly short term.
"We have all the faith in the world in Bryce Merriam," Appert said. "It was not his best weekend. But Bryce has been a rock for us for large stretches of the season and I have all the faith in the world that he's going to come back to work (today) and he's going to be back to what he normally is."
More time for Josh, Smitty?: Assistant captain Justin Smith had played in only eight games all season prior to Saturday night.
Fellow senior Josh Rabbani had been scratched from seven of the past nine games.
They played because it was Senior Night. However, Smith was a physical force all night, delivering big hits on each shift. And he bowled right through a Princeton defender along the right side and fired a bullet to a wide-open Rabbani, who buried the scoring chance in the back of the Princeton net.
It was the first point of the season for both players, each of whom are among RPI's better body checkers.
Perhaps either or both play against Colgate and/or Cornell?
"We'd like to," Smith said, "but whatever the team needs to win, we'll do whatever. When we do get in there, we go hard. I love playing with him."
On being physical, Smith says, "I know my role. I try to hit as many guys as I can and hopefully get something done out there."
2012-13 schedule: Rensselaer has mailed next season's schedule to season-ticket holders but a change has been made.
When officials of the Great Lakes Invitational decided to move the prestigious Holiday tournament (in which RPI competed in 2009) from Joe Louis Arena outdoors to Comerica Park, they wanted a fourth Michigan team to join the other usual three -- Michigan, Michigan Tech and Michigan State. So, they asked St. Cloud State, which had been invited, to drop out in favor of Western Michigan.
Western had been on RPI's schedule for two games on Oct. 26-27.
St. Cloud State will not host the Engineers on those dates, one week after the Engineers play at Minnesota (Mankato) State.two
Appert's alma mater and the nation's current No. 1-ranked team, Ferris State, will open the Engineers' season with a pair of games at Houston Field House, Oct. 12-13.
After the two Minnesota trips, the Engineers play rival Union in both ECACH games, Black Friday at HFH on Friday, Nov. 2 and at Messa Rink the following night.
The Engineers make their first league trip, to Dartmouth and Harvard, the following weekend, then Mercyhurst of Atlantic Hockey comes to the Field House for a pair on Fri.-Sat., Nov. 16-17.
Princeton and Quinnipiac come to town Nov. 30, Dec. 1, then the Engineers go to Yale and Brown, Dec. 7-8.
The Engineers then end a 21-day layoff by hostign Sacred Heart on New Year's Eve (time TBA).
The New Year opens with two more non-leaguers, at Boston University on Friday, Jan. 4 and at New Hampshire on Sunday, the 6th.
The ECACH season resumes when RPI goes to Quinnipiac and Princeton (Jan. 11-12), then host Colgate and Cornell (Jan. 18-19).
The Engineers and Union Dutchmen collide in a non-leaguer on Jan. 26, at a site to be determined. It's hoped the Times Union Center will be that site.
Big Red Freakout! Night will likely be Sat., Feb. 16 against Yale, although it could be early, on Feb. 2 against Dartmouth.
The regular season ends at home against Clarkson and St. Lawrence March 1-2.
Bergin to decide later: Senior defenseman and RPI captain has a red-shirt year of NCAA eligibility remaining. He'll address that option at the end of the season.


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