Saturday, November 17, 2012

Much-needed win for RPI; Lee out tonight

   Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute senior captain C.J. Lee will not play in tonight's game against Mercyhurst, sidelined by injuries suffered during Friday night's 4-2 victory over the Lakers. More on that below.
   Mercyhurst is not the best team on the Engineers schedule, not even on the November portion of it -- even if you were to exclude Union.
   However, the Lakers are decent and came to town having won three of their previous four games at Houston Field House (one over Princeton in a tournament title game. They are no pushovers.
   The Engineers, winless in their previous seven games, were in desperate need of a victory on Friday night and they went out and earned one.
   They weren't perfect. The power play was "flat", to use coach Seth Appert's word, on its first two tries, RPI put only 23 shots on the Mercyhurst net and the Engineers struggled in the third period, nearly surrendering a 3-0 lead.
   The Engineers tightened up, though, down the stretch and got an insurance goal within the final minute on a power-play goal by Nick Bailen, his second tally of the game.
   Rensselaer really could use another triumph tonight and how much Friday night's success will carry over to tonight will be seen shortly. Resuming ECAC Hockey play non Nov. 30 against Princeton with an 0-4-0 league record and winless in nine games overall, may have been too big a hole from which to climb for the Engineers.
   New group clicks on PP: Rensselaer's second power-play unit is often whatever forward line -- and whatever two defensemen -- are rested.
   On that late Friday night power play, though, Appert put Bailen, the first-unit quarterback, out there with fellow first unitmen Brock Higgs and Ryan Haggerty, freshman Mark Miller and defenseman Curtis Leonard.
   "That group had never been out there together," Appert said, lauding the qunintet. "I told them exactly what I wanted them to do and they went out and executed it at an incredibly high level without (ever) practicing (together) because they were commited to doing it right for their teammates. Credit to all of them but Mark Miller had never touched power play time, he's a freshman.
  "I just thought it was a good example of what I mean by executing."
   What had Appert told "exactly" what to do?
  "Play keep away," Bailen said, "and if there was an open lane, get a shot on net. I just shot it and luckily it hit him (goalie Max Strang's glove) and went in.
   "I wouldn't call it a must win," said Bailen, who termed the victory "much-needed.
   "We all pulled together and stuck together and that's what you have to do when you're struggling," he said.
   Lee tried to go: Lee was on RPI's original line chart but simply couldn't go. His back, his foot...
   "All over; sore all over," he said.
   Still looking for his first point of the season, Lee, who led the Engineers in goals (8) last season, hopes to return for that aforementioned Princetron game in 13days.
   Get the best real-time on-line highlight's of tonight's game at


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