It was a bounce-back weekend for Dartmouth this past weekend after dropping its opening two games.
The Big Green defeated Brown 4-3 on Friday night in their home opener and then added a 3-1 victory over Yale on Saturday.
For coach Bob Gaudet, he liked how his team responded after losing to Holy Cross and Harvard during the club’s opening weekend.
“I thought our team is really progressing and good play from our entire team actually,” Gaudet said. “It was really a good team effort. We played really two good teams. Brown played very well against us and I thought the same with Yale. I thought both are skilled, quick teams and they play the game really fast.”
One thing he saw from his club is some of the young players starting to make that next leap in their development.
That’s not coach speak, either, as sophomore Daniel Warpecha was named ECAC player of the week after a goal and assist in both games on the weekend.
He’s second on the team in scoring as he has three goals and two assists on the year. He had seven goals and three assists as a freshman.
“We got some young players that are really emerging,” Gaudet said. “Daniel Warpecha had a great weekend and I think he had a couple (short-handed goals), but he just played real well; he had four points. His line was excellent [and] I thought our captain Kevan Kilistoff was super and so was Charley Michalowski.”
The trio play on a line with each other. Gaudet liked the way Warpecha put in the work this summer, saying “he’s a bigger and stronger version of himself.”
Kilstoff, a junior, also had a four-point weekend with two goals and an assist Friday against the Bears and added a helper against the Bulldogs.
He leads the team with three goals and three assists.
Michalowski had an assist Friday and had a goal and an assist against Yale.
Gaudet was elated with the play he received from three freshmen defensemen in Brendan Demler, Brendan Less and Joey Matthews despite not finding the scoresheet.
While the Big Green is littered with underclassmen, Gaudet said the team has come together during the preseason and the first two weekends of the season.
“There’s a good culture on our team where our team comes everyday and gets after it in practice,” Gaudet said. “The team is all in on what we are trying to do and that’s what we need. It’s a really tough league.”
The Big Green will spend the majority of the next month on the road as six of their remaining eight games before the Christmas holiday will be away from Thompson Arena. Their two games in Hanover are Nov. 25 against Vermont and Dec. 9 against Bentley.
They head to Cornell and Colgate this weekend and Gaudet believes those three weekends on the road are opportunities to elevate the team’s overall game.
“We are going to be on the road at Cornell and Colgate,” Gaudet said. “Tough places to play, but fun places to play. They are good teams, good energy in the buildings and later on, we get to play at Princeton and Quinnipiac. Again, really two great places to play, tough teams. We go to Denver to play a pair in the middle of December. To play the national champions in their own building is going to be a good experience for our guys. All these things help a team grow and bond, learn the simplicity of the game.” .
RPI players buying in to Smith’s philosophy
Rensselaer has had a slow start to its season with a 1-4-3 record on the year, but first-year coach Dave Smith sees his team getting better each weekend, despite the record.
“I like the progress and I think we all understand when you have a change of head coaches, there’s a process,” Smith said. “There’s a window where you make progress, then we took a little step back, and now we are moving forward again. The commitment from the players, the understanding where we are at and know this is a season where we are going to keep getting better for the long term. That piece of it we understand very well and we are aware of it.”
The Engineers’ lone victory of the season so far came back on Oct. 21 with a 8-3 victory over RIT.
This past weekend, RPI fell to Clarkson 6-0, but bounced back Saturday to earn a 4-4 tie with St. Lawrence in a back-and-forth game with the Saints.
Smith looks at each day like it’s a game day.
“What we need to continue to do is add little victories to every day in practice, every day we pick it up a notch, everyday we embrace the culture shift that we signed up for,” Smith said. “That progress really motivates me and motivates our players on where we can go with this thing.”
The Engineers will return to a familiar place as nine of their next 11 games are at the Houston Fieldhouse. They have only played one regular-season contest at home this season.
Maybe that will turn their luck around.
“We are 1-4-3 [and] a couple of those ties could have gone either way,” Smith said. “We were optimistic, we wanted them to go our way. We had a last-millisecond loss at Niagara. So nothing has been given to us. What I am hoping for in these lessons [is the players learn] the requirement in effort in how hard it is to win in college hockey [and that] will carry us not only in the short term, but help us through the tough times, help us find some of those victories, turn some of those losses to ties, turn some of those victories into big victories.”
Players of the Week
As mentioned above, Warpecha earned Player of the Week honors with his four-point effort. Other candidates included Harvard’s Ryan Donato, Colgate’s Colton Point, Clarkson’s Sheldon Rempel, Joe Snively of Yale and Max Veronneau of Princeton.
Rookie of the Week honors went to defenseman Reilly Walsh of Harvard. The third-round pick of the New Jersey Devils this past summer had two goals and an assist on the week. Forward Max Barron of Cornell, goaltender Ryan Ferland of Princeton and forward Josh Dickson of Clarkson were up for the award this week.
While Point didn’t take the Player of the Week honors, he walked away with the Goaltender of the Week. He went 1-0-1 on the weekend in a scoreless tie against Princeton and a 4-1 win over Quinnipiac. Other nominees included Dartmouth’s Devin Buffalo, Ferland and Clarkson’s Jake Kielly.