Monday, March 5, 2012

RPI should enjoy victory; Did Jones diss Bergin?

POTSDAM -- It's no major accomplishment, a No. 10 seed in a 12-team tournament beating the No. 7 on the road. However, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute should savor Sunday night's 4-1 victory over Clarkson in the preliminary round of the ECAC Hockey playoffs.
Coach Seth Appert says repeatedly the team's focus from Jan. 1 on was to be a "process focused" team -- instead of "results-focused" and work to become better and be a hard team to play against come March and hopefully, the results would improve as the team did. The strategy has been fairly successful thus far.
The Engineers began the calendar year with a 4-3 loss to Dartmouth, a game they could have won and a 2-2 tie with Harvard, a game they should have won but left them with a 3-16-1 record.
That was followed by a fairly unimpressive 3-1 victory over a grossly weak American International team and a 5-1 pounding by Union, their third such defeat to the rival Dutchmen this season. That loss could have sunken a team with a lesser resolve, a team with a less positive coaching staff.
The Engineers didn't fold up.
Since then, they are 8-5-2 and Sunday night's victory gave them a 7-1-1 record in their past nine road games.
"From where we were Dec. 30 to now, I think this is a good accomplishment and know we have to lock in and take the next step," Appert said.
Now the Engineers have to go to Union -- a team that's outscored them 15-4 in three games. They'll be a big underdog but Appert doesn't care.
"I said before the game, 'they can send us to Michigan or Boston College, I don't care, as long as we get to play next week because that meant we won today.'''
As the Dutchmen, who Appert has termed "the best team in our league" all season, he says "it's going to (take) everything that we have in us to give ourselves a chance."
Clarkson coach Jones confronts Bergin?: First-year Clarkson coach Casey Jones and RPI captain Mike Bergin appeared to have some harsh words during the traditional post-playoff series handshake. Each denied there was any hostility but the look on Jones' face at the time suggested otherwise.
One Clarkson insider said Jones felt Bergin should have gotten a one-game suspension for his late-game major penalty -- leading 5-1 at the time -- that left Clarkson winger Will Frederick a concussion.
League Supervisor Paul Stewart, the insider said, suggested a suspension for Bergin but was overruled by league Commissioner Steve Hagwell.
This is second-hand and could be half-true or totally untrue but Jones did appear controversial to Bergin.
More on this -- and more on the Engineers' gutsy playoff victory later today.


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