Saturday, October 13, 2012

Low keel after big win; Neal should play tonight

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute hockey fans had to be pleased with Friday night's 3-1 season-opening victory over 11th-ranked Ferris State. The Engineers were a bit turnover-prone when Ferris turned up its forecheck -- were a little impatient in that regard -- the puck-movement on the power play was not crisp, they gave up a goal on Ferris' first shot on the goal but took control of the game a few minutes after that. Scott Diebold was sharp in net, making several sprawling saves to keep the Engineers on top. In a game that didn't have many Grade-A scoring chances, Ryan Haggerty buried his to break a 1-1 tie in the second period and Jacob Laliberte did so as well to give RPI and insurance tally with 1:31 remaining. Mark McGowan, another member of RPI's talented sophomore class, beat Ferris goalie C.J. Motte with a high shot from the mid-slot area. The Engineers appear to have the skills and depth to avoid the long scoring droughts that plagued last year's team. Coach Seth Appert always keeps a low keel no matter how big a victory may be but Friday night he was almost subdued, and highlighted the mistakes the Engineers made and the work they still have to do. "Too sloppy at times," he said. "We need to take care of the puck better." The result could have been different. Ferris missed an open net from six feet away in the first period and Diebold turned away at least two sure goals. likely three. On the other hand, while the Engineers did turn the puck over, they prevented any real good scoring chances other than the three-four mentioned above. While Ferris State is a strong defensive team, the Bulldogs do have a number of skilled forwards and they will come out fired up tonight. Both Appert and RPI captain C.J. Lee both made the same word-for-word statement to this writer -- "we'll have to be better tomorrow night." To open the season with a victory against a Top 15 team, however, is a huge plus for a team that lost 24 times last year. Neal OK, expected to play: Sophomore left winger Matt Neal suffered a shoulder injury in the third period Friday night that, even though he walked off without favoring the shoulder much, appeared as if it could be long-term. It's not. "He's expected to play (tonight)," Appert said this afternoon. The Laliberte line, with Neal on the left and Haggerty at right wing, figures to be the Engineers' most productive unit. What are the odds?: Both the Rensselaer men's and women's teams were scored upon Friday night by players named Dakota. Freshman right winger Dakota Klecha tallied Ferris State's goal and the RPI women, in a tough, 3-2 loss to highly-ranked Boston University, saw BU's Dakota Woodworth put one in that gave the Terriers a 3-0 lead. The Engineers got two goals from Eleeza Cox but couldn't come all the way back. Follow us on Twitter for highlights of the clash with Ferris State tonight.


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