RPI rallying

Here’s a look back at another topsy-turvy weekend in the ECAC:

1. Four points for RPI: Brian wondered just a few weeks ago what the rest of the season held for the Engineers. And to be fair, so did I. Neither of us was ready to bury them, but given the results to that point, there was little reason for hope.

If you picked them as the only ECAC team to finish with four points this weekend, congrats. And there may be an ECAC columnist spot open for you (kidding, of course). But all jokes aside, the Engineers doubled their league win total in just two days and are 3-1-1 over their last five games.  Their last ECAC win prior to this weekend? Nov. 12 against Brown.

“We’ve been alright since the holidays, even though it always doesn’t look it,” RPI head coach Seth Appert said after  Saturday’s game. “We’ve play a lot of games were we’ve looked good and found ways to lose. Tonight we played average and found a way to win.”

Junior Bryce Merriam was a stalwart in net for RPI, turning away 81-of-82 shots over the weekend. That’s the kind of stuff that carries teams.

But the Engineers got contributions from other areas too, popping in two power play goals in a 3-0 win at Brown Friday, and blocking 21 shots at Yale Saturday, including a flurry at the end when the Bulldogs pulled goalie Jeff Malcolm for an extra skater.

“We were just doing what we had to do, said Marty O’Grady, who scored both RPI goals and blocked Kenny Agostino’s shot in the closing seconds. “It would have hurt way more not to block that shot and lose the game.”

2. Two more ties for Harvard: OK, so getting a point each against Cornell and Colgate isn’t the worst thing for the Crimson.  But when they look back on this year, they’ll probably wish a few more of those draws turned into wins. Harvard currently has eight ties,  most in the country. Put it this way: 44 percent of the Crimson’s games have ended without a winner or loser.

3. Tough to predict: I touched on it in last week’s column, but ECAC weekends are anything but predictable. I saw Union play a solid all-around game at Yale Friday, and then they lose to Brown Saturday despite leading 2-0 after one period.

Meanwhile,Yale and Colgate continued their respective slides. The Bulldogs scored two goals on the weekend, although I saw both games and Yale wasn’t terrible by any means.  Junior Nick Maricic made his first start in almost two years and was solid Friday, while a red-hot Merriam and aggressive RPI defense thwarted them Saturday.

The main culprit? Yale was a combined 0-for-1o on the power play.  As for Colgate, I haven’t seen them in person yet, but the results speak for  themselves.  The Raiders haven’t won a game in 2012 and have just one league point in that span.

Need a sense of normalcy? Cornell took three points this weekend, extending the nation’s longest unbeaten streak to seven games.




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