Discover more from The Field House
Preview: RPI at Colgate
RPI goes for the season sweep of the Raiders on Saturday night
Last time out against Colgate, RPI played one of their most complete games of the season. They won 5-3 and were clearly the better team that night by many metrics. They had a 55% corsi, won the scoring chances 22-18, won the special teams 2-1, won SOG 33-26, and won xG 4.1-2.9. Colgate is a good team that’s currently in 4th place in the league. Since December, RPI is the only team to beat them in regulation. Colgate is 7-2-1, and the only other loss was to Harvard in OT. The game last month gave us a glimpse of what the Engineers can look like when they play well against a quality team, and they will need a similarly strong performance tonight.
Colgate is an interesting team that has been pretty average at everything. They don’t have too many glaring weaknesses and also not many glaring strengths.
Offensively, Colgate is average across the board between corsi, xG, and actual goals. The power play is their main strength offensively even though they don’t generate too many chances. With players like Matt Verboon, Colton Young, and Alex Young who can really move the puck and finish plays, that makes a lot of sense.
The defense is more of Colgate’s strength with a 19th ranked 5v5 goals against per 60 to show for it. However, the way they actually get to those results are interesting. They are below average in corsi against and xG against, which would indicate that they are not actually very good defensively. The real driver of their results is Carter Gylander. Gylander has a 0.921 SV% this season, and he’s the reason for their very high team save percentage and good team defense results.
Even on the penalty kill, Gylander is a huge difference maker. Colgate’s PK is one of the worst in the country in terms of the chances they allow, but their PK is actually top 20 because the goaltending is a brick wall.
This makes me very intrigued by the matchup of RPI’s power play versus the Colgate penalty kill. By the numbers, the Engineers should be able to generate plenty of chances on the power play with it being their main strength and Colgate’s biggest weakness. Whether or not they can score on those chances will mean a lot in this game.
I actually think special teams could decide this game at whole too. Colgate’s power play is mostly potent because of their finishing, so if RPI can keep their chances out of the slot on the penalty kill, it’ll come down to the goaltending once again.
The numbers say to expect a pretty even game at even strength as well, which fits this narrative. The two teams are pretty closely ranked in corsi and xG. In their last game, both teams got two goals at even strength. Special teams were the decider with RPI’s 2 power play goals to Colgate’s one, and then, they got an empty net goal to put it away.
Colgate continues their well-balanced trend here. They have some firepower and good depth to go with it, but it is not the same type of overwhelming lineup that you would see from Cornell and Quinnipiac, for example.
Up front, Matt Verboon and Alex DiPaolo lead the way with both having stellar years so far both in terms of production and play-driving. Alex Young remains an extremely potent offensive weapon, so you might be surprised to see him with a lesser game score. The reason it works out like that is because Young gives a lot of that offense back defensively, which diminishes the impact his offense has. Additionally, a lot of his offense is coming on the power play, which ends up counting for less than even strength production.
Defensively, Nick Anderson has been quite good this season with both offensive numbers and production to go with solid two-way play. He is their best defenseman easily due to his all around impact.
You may see Bobby Metz’s game score and wonder why I didn’t mention him. Metz has only played 7 games thus far this season with no production, but his play-driving numbers in those games are really good. He is basically benefitting from putting up good numbers in a small sample size, but it’s not truly indicative of his level as a player or else he’d be playing a lot more.
As I have said before, game score is certainly not an end-all be-all, but it’s a pretty useful tool to evaluate players that isn’t just points and +/-.
Overall, Colgate has edges in firepower and depth, but most of the lineups look close enough that this is shaping up to be a pretty good game. Carter Gylander is a huge factor that isn’t depicted in the graphic, so he and whoever RPI chooses to start will be very important. I expect a pretty even game that gets decided by special teams. If RPI can play like they did against Colgate a month ago, they’ve got a great shot.
Thanks for reading The Field House! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.