Saturday, January 26, 2013

How important is Union? Schroeder seeks red-shirt

   ALBANY -- Two Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute fans were having a debate the other afternoon.
   Their topic?
   The importance of RPI beating Union in tonight's inaugural Mayors' Cup game.
   "They have to end that losing streak to Union, that awful losing culture to Union," one said.
   "Culture is a strong word," said the other. It's only been eight years, " said the second. "I want that streak to end, too, but what will Saturday's game have to do with the rest of the league season"?
   "Well,  they have to prove they can beat Union for the playoffs, prove they can beat any strong team," said No. 1.
   Number Two laughed.
   "Well, you're assuming they (RPI) get past the first round of the playoffs," he said. "And they HAVE proven they can beat good teams -- Ferris, Yale, St. Cloud State; had Quinnipiac beat, should have beaten Boston U. (an overtime loss)."
    The first fan paused.
    "You don't think RPI seniors will feel a whole lot better about the rest of the season if they beat Union and that wouldn't translate down to the rest of the team"?
    "It might," said the second. "But RPI seniors have beaten Union twice (in 13 games). The sophomores haven't beaten them yet."
   "Well," said No. 1, "you're making my point by pointing that out."
   They were both right, I thought.
   Beating Union tonight can only build the Engineers' confidence. But, then again, if they were to lose to a horribly struggling Harvard team in their next outing, that confidence could be shaken.
   It's important for the Engineers to play well tonight, win or lose, then build on their only two-game ECACH winning streak of the season.
    Whether or not they win tonight will not help them nor limit them when they take on Harvard and Dartmouth next week, then head to the North Country (St. Lawrence and Clarkson) the following week.
    After tonight, win, lose of tie, they need to win enough games to finish no worse than eighth and thus, open the ECACH playoffs at home.
    Schroeder decision official: Sophomore winger Jake Schroeder will not play again this season and will apply for a medical redshirt status and another year of eligibility from the NCAA.
   He played in just nine games this season and was hurt for five of those.
   A broken wrist had sidelined him for the rest of the schedule.
   "Yeah, mixed emotions," Schroeder said. "I wanted to get back out there on the ice and help my team. "But if I have a chance for a red-shirt and another year, I'll take it."
   Coach Seth Appert says paper work has been completed "and it looks" good for Schroeder to be granted another season.
   Schroeder had one goal and one assist this season after a 6-6-12 line in 35 games as a freshman. He'll be counted upon heavily for the rest of his RPI career.  
   Next year's slate: Every year at this time, RPI fans, regardless of how well the team is doint start wondering about next season's non-league schedule.
   The Engineers will have a non-leaguer with Union, hopefully termed the Second Annual Mayors' Cup Game and also one play home game with New Hampshire and one with Boston University, either home or away. The Engineers will play a Saturday night game in November against Sacred Heart and visit Boston College for the first time in years the next day. Rensselaer will also have a home game with Sacred Heart.
   The Engineers will host Denver for two games in October, play two at Mercyhurst in October and host St. Cloud State for two. More on the schedule later.


Friday, January 18, 2013

RPI forward lines all brand new

Now, neither Ryan Haggertry nor Matt Neal is skating with Jacob Laliberte, RPI's top centerman and leading scorer.
Coach Seth Appert had dramtatically jumbled the forward lines for tonight's ECAC Hockey game with Colgate. Appert had moved Haggerty off what had been the Engineers' top line a couple weeks ago.
Now, sophomore Neal is at left wing on a line centered by freshman Mark Miller and with junior Matt Tinordi at right wing.
Haggerty, also a soph who leads the Engineers in goals with eight, is on sophomore Mark McGowan's line, with C.J. Lee at left wing.
Laliberte (7-9-16) will center for two productive freshmen -- Milos Buela (7-6-13) on right wing, Mike Zalewski (3-6-9) on the left.
Senior Marty O'Grady (1-4-5 in 12 games) centers the fourth line, with junior Johnny Rogic at LW and senior Greg Burgdoerfer on the right.
Junior Brock Higgs, a regular and second on the team in assists with eight, sits out after taking a puck to the head (his helmet was shattered) last week at Princeton.
Freshman goalie Jason Kasdorf is back in uniform and it appears he'll start, though no announcement in that regard has been made.
Defensive pairings are Leonard-Bailen, Leboeuf-Bradley, Curadi-Dolan.