Preview: RPI vs Colgate/Toronto (EXH)
The Engineers open the 2022-23 season with two home exhibition games
The wait is over! Hockey season is upon us, and RPI will be starting it on Saturday afternoon with the usual exhibition game. There’s a bit of a twist this season though with a second exhibition game on Sunday, making the weekend more like a typical regular season one.
Starting with Saturday, Colgate is a great team for the Engineers to play in an exhibition. They look to be a good team after finishing 5th in the league last season, making it to Lake Placid, and returning most of their scoring. With RPI projected to finish right behind them, this is a good litmus test to see how the players stack up to a team that’s supposed to be just a bit better than them. Toronto on Sunday is the typical Canadian team that we’ve become accustomed to seeing over the years in exhibition games.
It’s important to not overreact to these games and to evaluate them for what they are worth. The way you should watch exhibition games should have nothing to do with the scoreboard. It is much more about how individual players fair. You can evaluate how they appear to have progressed since last season, or in the case of newcomers, you get acclimated to their play style and get to see how ready they are to make an immediate impact.
The advantage of having two exhibitions is that all the players will get more opportunities. Normally, there’d be two lineups that each play half the game with some players in both lineups, and it was always weird for the second half players to have to jump into the middle of a game. This time, all the players will get a full game at minimum, and some players will get two full games, which is a win-win for the team and the fans.
How the team does as a whole is important too, but I wouldn’t be using the scoreboard to judge that. It’s much more about the process. How well do they possess the puck? Are they generating scoring chances? How’s their transition game? These are the main team-wide themes that I’ll be focusing on as I watch. Wins in these games would simply be gravy on top.
In the future, these previews will be more focused on the opponents and how RPI matches up with them. Since that isn’t important for this week, I thought it’d be better to talk about exhibitions as a whole and what to watch for this weekend. Consider this the blog’s exhibition post for previews! Let’s Go RED!!!!