Preview: RPI at Princeton
The Engineers look to end the first half of the season on a positive note
RPI have an opportunity to bounce back tonight when they face Princeton in Hobey Baker Rink. It’s a chance to bring back some good vibes to the team going into the holiday break after a pretty bleak loss to Quinnipiac.
Now if we want to look at this purely from a “where do we get our ECAC points this season” perspective, the Quinnipiac game probably gets penciled in as a loss, and any points you get out of it are a bonus. House money, per say. Quinnipiac are an extremely talented team, and absolutely a tier above where RPI are as a program right now. They’ve been itching to go on a good tournament run for the past couple of seasons, and they should have a legitimately good chance at doing just that this year.
Princeton, on the other hand, are one of those teams that you probably should be getting closer to 3 points from if you are looking to seriously compete for a top-four finish in the ECAC. They are by no means a bad team (or program for that matter – they made the NCAA tournament just a couple of years ago). But they don’t sit in that top tier of teams with the likes of Quinnipiac and Harvard.
They weren’t rated highly coming into the season (CHN predicted they would finish last in the conference), but they have started the season well, all things considered. They’ve only had 4 wins in their first 10 games of conference play, but 4 of their losses have come against Quinnipiac (x2), Cornell, and Harvard.
Basically, they’ve had a tough schedule to start the season, and they are still sitting in fifth. And to add to that, they have been strong recently. They beat Clarkson 6-2 last weekend and shut out a good RIT team 5-0 the week before.
Ethan Pearson (#31, G) only played in 3 games last season, but has been the go-to netminder for the Tigers this year. He has posted a .930 save percentage through 9 games.
Jack Cronin (#19, RW) has 4 goals and 6 points in his last 5 games, and is the leading scorer for Princeton. He’s a speedy player with a good shot, and has been quite dangerous on the powerplay this year.
The brother pair of Brendan (#16, C) and Liam Gorman (#14, LW) has produced 8 goals and 15 points through 12 games. Liam (a senior) plays a heavier-style of play and Brendan (a freshman) fits more into the speedy, high-skill type.
What to Watch For
Brackett, Beaton, and Budy all came out of the lineup for the game against Quinnipiac. I’m guessing that they are mostly injury related - although I could understand sitting Budy in favor of playing a more defensive-focused lineup (even though it didn’t really turn out that way).
Losing all three really leaves the lineup quite shorthanded, so it will be interesting to see where the combinations go from here. Walsh-Muzzatti-Mahshie was pretty much the only line that produced any form of consistent offense against the Bobcats, so I don’t expect to see it get broken up. Everyone else could be seeing some different linemates.
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