RPI v. Harvard: Preview (On The Air – 4 pm – WRPI.org)

It seems to be my destiny this year that I’ll get the call to do RPI games against Boston-area schools that are being televised by the local cable folks.  This afternoon, I’ll be back on the air with WRPI to provide color commentary for RPI’s match-up against the Harvard Crimson.

I encourage you to tune into WRPI online to catch Tim Heiman and myself calling the game.  We’ll be fighting an uphill battle for attention locally as Time Warner 3 will be airing the game in the Capital District and throughout central New York as well.  So why not be a pal and tune in online, or if you’re in the immediate Capital District, 91.5 FM?  See, now you’re properly equipped to help a brother out.


Both teams come into this afternoon’s 4 pm tilt off of wins Friday night.  RPI fought off Dartmouth to win 2-1 and Harvard handed Union College their first ECAC defeat winning 4-1.  The upside of the victory for Harvard is that their main scoring line of Canadiens first round pick Louis Leblanc, Michael Biega and Alex Killorn didn’t have to carry the offensive load.  Meanwhile, goaltender Ryan Carroll more than shouldered the load stopping 47 shots to earn the win.

Surprise news for Harvard was that senior defenseman Jack Christian rejoined the lineup.  The last time Jack Christian played was against Princeton in the 2008 ECAC Championship against Princeton.  Christian missed all of last season and the first half of this year after suffering from post-concussion syndrome.  Christian isn’t a high-scoring defenseman, he’s a guy that’s going to help Harvard keep the other team off the board and provide leadership.  His comeback to the lineup will do a lot to lift the Crimson up.

RPI shook off a miserable first period of play as well as surviving a relentless first period onslaught thanks to the play of goaltender Allen York (27 saves in the game).  Dartmouth was able to put one by York in the first to give the Big Green a 1-0 lead thanks to a 2-on-1 break in four-on-four action.  The Engineers played what seemed to be a very disinterested brand of hockey and tried to sleep walk through Dartmouth’s stifling defensive shell.

While the team woke up in the second period and played harder they were still unable to generate much offensive pressure.  In the third, a face off play by Patrick Cullen turned into a rebound goal for Tyler Helfrich and was shortly followed up by laser of a shot from senior Paul Kerins that bounced off the glove of goaltender James Mello and into the net to give RPI a 2-1 lead they would not relinquish despite falling back into their bad first period habits late in the game.  In this case, RPI certainly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and head coach Seth Appert seemed to know that in the post-game press conference.

As for my predictions about how this weekend would shake out for RPI… I was pretty well wrong about the Dartmouth game as it ended up being much closer than I thought it would but I’ll hold strong to my beliefs that this game will hold true to form and be a one-goal classic-like game.  There’s a ton of talent out on the ice and while Harvard coach Ted Donato hasn’t been the best about taking full advantage of that aspect, Harvard is a dangerous team nonetheless.  Don’t expect RPI to come out as flat as they were last night and look for them to try and take advantage of the short turnaround time against the road team.

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