Earning a win and a tie against last year’s national runner-up will certainly open some eyes.
But Rensselaer coach Seth Appert is more pleased with the way his team played against Ferris State as opposed to the final scores, a 3-1 win and a 2-2 tie against the Bulldogs at Houston Field House last weekend.
“We didn’t want to get too caught up in the results,” Appert said. “We were more focused with being a blue-collar, real tenacious and tough, physical team that plays for each other and our program. We saw good things in that regard.”
Break down the two games against the Bulldogs and it’s hard to find a spot where the Engineers didn’t get a contribution. Special teams? Check. RPI was flawless on the penalty kill and scored a power-play goal in each game.
Goaltending? That was there too, as Scott Diebold and Bryce Merriam both turned in solid performances. It was Merriam, a senior, who saw most of the action last season, but Diebold drew the start in the opener, blanking Ferris State after allowing a goal 1:32 in.
“There was a little bit of shock, but we bounced back real quickly and didn’t let it faze us,” RPI senior forward Brock Higgs told RPI Athletics after the game. “That’s something I feel we didn’t do enough last year. We may have let those kinds of goals get to us and affect our play.”
Seven different Engineers players recorded a point on the weekend, led by Jacob Laliberte’s three goals. That’s the type of balanced scoring Appert has stressed RPI will need this season.
“I thought this weekend was a good example [of that]. We had contributions throughout the lineup; not just with scoring, but play [in general],” he said, noting that RPI used all four lines and six defenders for all but 10 minutes of the weekend.
Friday’s was the first win ever for RPI against Ferris State, which entered 3-0 against the Engineers, including a pair of shutouts in Michigan last season. Appert, who played for Bulldogs head coach Bob Daniels from 1992 to 1996, didn’t take any special enjoyment in beating his former coach.
“I take less enjoyment in beating Ferris or Denver than beating any other program,” said Appert, who was an assistant at Denver from 1999 to 2006. “Those programs are like family to me. [The main] satisfaction to me was to share time Thursday night at dinner with Bob Daniels and [assistant coach] Mark Kaufman and catch up and talk hockey.”
Still, as Appert said, last weekend was nothing to plan a parade around. There’s a lot of hockey left, and the Engineers are certain to hit some bumps along the way.
“We have to be a team that has a chip on our shoulder this year,” Appert said. “We have to have a lot of that mentality.”
Around the league
Clarkson: Potsdam native Craig Conroy will have his No. 7 jersey retired Friday before the Golden Knights’ game against Holy Cross at Cheel Arena. Conroy played at Clarkson from 1990 to 1994 and posted 542 points across 1,009 games in the NHL from 1994 to 2011.
Colgate: Need more proof it’s still early? Colgate ranks 13th in the nation in scoring, despite getting just one goal against No. 4 Miami last weekend. Ten goals in the opener will do that. Freshman Kyle Baun scored the Raiders’ lone goal last weekend, giving him three points in his first three collegiate games. Marc Hagel, who transferred from Princeton to Miami after graduating with one year of eligibility left, assisted on the RedHawks’ first goal against the Raiders Friday.
Princeton: Former Tigers coach Guy Gadowsky and Penn State picked up the program’s first Division I win Saturday against American International. Two of Gadowsky’s former players at Princeton, Kyle Hagel and Dustin Sproat, recently released Shnarped Hockey, an iPhone app that allows you to track and interact with players across the North American professional hockey leagues.
Quinnipiac: The Bobcats raised $24,004 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which sponsors head-shaving events to fund children’s cancer research. Team members collected online donations at stbaldricks.org and athletes, coaches and fans shaved their heads at the TD Bank Sports Center after Sunday’s game against Robert Morris in support of their charity drive. Check out photos here.
St. Lawrence: Like RPI, the Saints got off to a good start against a nationally ranked opponent. Head coach Greg Carvel got his first win Friday in overtime at Western Michigan before the Saints dropped Saturday’s game 3-2 to the Broncos. The Saints were four-for-11 on the power play on the weekend, getting two goals from captain Kyle Flanagan while on the man advantage.
Union: Plenty of familiar faces found the back of the net for the Dutchmen last weekend, but it was a newcomer who helped get things rolling Friday at Bowling Green. Union coach Rick Bennett was intrigued by what freshman defender Sebastien Gingras’ right-handed shot could do on the power play. So far, so good, as Gingras scored a pair of power-play goals Friday to help Union erase an early 2-0 deficit en route to a four-point weekend in Ohio. Overall, Union was 5-for-9 with the man advantage on the weekend while adding two short-handed goals.
While the NHL appears is still locked out, the AHL began play last weekend, with plenty of familiar names suiting up.
Cornell’s Sean Collins had an assist and was a plus-1 for the Springfield Falcons, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ affiliate. The former Big Red forward made a good impression at the end of last year and was able to start the year in the AHL despite the increased roster competition due to the lockout.
Former Colgate goalie Mark Dekanich had a nice debut for the St. John’s Ice Caps after losing much of last season to injury. Dekanich stopped 35 shots in a 3-2 win over Hartford.
Forwards Alex Killorn (Harvard, Syracuse Crunch) and Chris Wagner (Colgate, Norfolk Admirals) each had an assist over the weekend as well, while former Cornell goalie Ben Scrivens started both games for the Toronto Marlies, winning the opener against Rochester before losing to Lake Erie.
Former RPI forward Chase Polacek has two goals in two games for the Alaska Aces of the ECHL.
ECAC launches mobile app
The league announced at the beginning of the month that it partnered with PrestoSports to launch a mobile app for iPhone and Android devices. The app, “ECAC Hockey Front Row,” is available free of charge and has live scores, statistics and news for the ECAC men’s and women’s leagues, as well as access to the league’s Twitter feed.
The ECAC is the first and currently the only league to offer a full-fledged college hockey mobile app, according to assistant commissioner Ed Krajewski.
As announced by the league:
Player of the week: Kyle Flanagan, St. Lawrence. The senior captain had three goals and an assist in two games at Western Michigan. A few more weekends like that and you can bet he’ll be on the Hobey Baker Award watch list.
Rookie of the week: Sebastien Gingras, Union. The freshman defender had two power-play goals Friday at Bowling Green and has three points in his first three collegiate games.
Goalie of the week: Scott Diebold, Rensselaer. Diebold drew the opening-night start against national runner-up Ferris State, making 30 saves in a 3-1 win over the Bulldogs.
USCHO covers the ECAC all week long on the ECAC Blog, with weekend recaps on Monday, picks on Friday, and updates during the week.