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Preview: RPI at Cornell
Things don't get any easier for RPI after a disappointing loss in the Mayor's Cup
In my recap of the Colgate/Cornell series last month, I mentioned that RPI were only able to generate 1 scoring chance at even strength against the Big Red.
The Instat tracking that we have access to now at The Field House didn’t even clock it as a scoring chance. Their tracking of the game had the Engineers at 0 scoring chances and a measly 0.19 xG created at even strength.
Needless to say, Cornell are an elite defensive team. They possess the puck really well, and when they don’t have it, they excel at snuffing out scoring chances.
So yeah, there’s a lot of gold on the Cornell side (a trend that continues into the roster breakdown as well). We can see pretty clearly here though that while their offensive output might not be in that top tier, they more than make up for it on the defensive side of things.
One area where the two sides somewhat match up is on the powerplay. RPI is actually generating chances at a slightly higher rate than Cornell this season while up a man.
Now having said that, Cornell is outperforming their xG and converting chances at a high rate, leaving them above RPI in actual power play percentage, but this is still an area in which RPI can look to close the gap between the two teams.
And if you’ll remember back to about a month ago, this is exactly what happened in the first game between these two! RPI scored all 4 of their goals on the man advantage, including 3 during the Cornell’s major penalty early in the second period.
“Timely goals on the powerplay” is something we hear Dave talk about a lot. Not many games where that will be more important than in this one.
Let’s take a quick look at the two lineups.
I will preface this by saying individual xG% has a high impact on the game score model, and Cornell do have the second best xG% in the nation, so naturally their players are all rated quite highly:
Cornell’s depth is pretty evident here, but they also have a slew of players who are in the elite-tier of college hockey. Forwards like Gabriel Seger, Ondrej Psenicka, and Nick DeSantis are all the top 5% of forwards (by game score) across the country.
They are an extremely well-coached team and this will certainly be a challenge for RPI. Cornell aren’t necessary in the most comfortable spot in the Pairwise right now when it comes to tournament implications (they sit in 11th), so they’ll absolutely be up for this game.
Let’s see what RPI can bring in return.
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