College Hockey Slap Schotts: Week 13
A rivalry is only great when the two teams not only hate each other, but are playing well at the same time.
I get sick and tired of how much hype the UAlbany-Siena basketball rivalry gets every year around the Capital Region. It hasn't been a good one the last couple of years because the Saints have been far superior to the Great Danes. And the two teams only meet once a year because they don't play in the same conference,
If you want a true, great rivalry, one that deserves the attention of Capital Region sports fans is the one between the RPI and Union hockey teams.
The rivalry is on the upswing this season for a variety of reasons. The Dutchmen are nationally ranked, and are in first place in ECAC Hockey. The Engineers are much improved.
But a major reason has been three classic games they have played this season.
The two teams will renew hostilities Saturday at Messa Rink, when the Dutchmen host the Engineers at 7 p.m. It should be a standing-room, rocking crowd.
The two teams have given us some memorable moments this season.
— Game 1 went to RPI, 4-3, in overtime Oct. 30. The Dutchmen were clinging to a 3-2 lead late in the third period when Stephane Boileau took an inexplicable interference penalty when he lifted Jeff Foss' stick out of his hand behind the RPI net. Bryan Brutlag scored on the power play to tie it at 3-3. Chase Polacek scored the OT game-winner.
— Union won the next meeting, 5-4, in overtime to capture the Rensselaer Holiday Tournament Nov. 28. The Dutchmen jumped out to a 3-0 lead, and seemingly sealed the win on Jason Walters' power-play goal with 3:51 left in the third period to make it 4-2.
But Paul Kerins rallied the Engineers. He scored 45 seconds after Walters' goal to make it 4-3. Then, with Boileau taking another late third-period penalty, Kerins scored with 0.2 seconds left to tie it. But Walters came though with the game-winner in OT.
— The two teams met 11 days later, with Union winning, 5-4, again in dramatic fashion. RPI saw a 3-1 lead evaporate early in the third period when Mario Valery-Trabucco scored his second and third goals of the game. Polacek gave the Engineers a 4-3 lead on a power-play goal with 7:31 left.
With Dutchmen goalie Keith Kinkaid pulled for an extra attacker, Walters scored with 50.6 seconds left to tie the score, and the game seemingly was heading for yet another overtime.
But with 18.4 seconds to go, Mike Schreiber fired a shot over goalie Allen York's left shoulder to give Union a 5-4 lead. The Dutchmen survived yet another late-game penalty, when Walters was called for tripping with six seconds left, and won the game.
It will be tough to top those three games, but it will be fun to watch. I bet the UAlbany-Siena fans wish their rivalry was this exciting.
Union moves up
Coming off a weekend road sweep of Princeton and Quinnipiac that put it in first place in ECAC Hockey, Union moved up four spots to 13th in the latest USCHO.com NCAA college hockey poll.
The Dutchmen (6-0-3 ECACH, 12-4-5 overall) beat Princeton, 7-3, Friday, and Quinnipiac, 2-1, in overtime Saturday. They have won four straight, and are 9-1-4 in their last 14 games.
Union, which received 350 points, has been in the poll four straight weeks. The Dutchmen are in the top 15 for the first time since being ranked 12th on Dec. 4, 2000.
RPI got one 20th-place vote in the poll.
Union also made the top 15 in the U.S. Hockey Magazine/USA Today Hockey poll, coming at No. 13. The Dutchmen got 78 points.
The Dutchmen moved up two spots, to No. 14, in the Inside College Hockey power rankings.
The big news is that Denver takes over the top spot in both polls. Miami (Ohio) dropped out after losing two straight games to Robert Morris.
USCHO.com Division I Men's Poll
Team (First Place) Record Pts Last Week
1 Denver (45) 14-5-3 994 2
2 Miami (3) 13-4-5 871 1
3 Wisconsin 12-5-3 867 4
4 North Dakota (2) 12-6-4 821 5
5 Yale 9-3-3 754 6
6 Ferris State 16-4-2 685 11
7 Michigan State 15-6-3 673 9
8 Colorado College 12-7-3 658 3
9 Cornell 8-4-2 603 8
10 Minnesota-Duluth 14-7-1 595 13
11 Bemidji State 14-4-2 545 10
12 Boston College 10-6-2 500 7
13 Union 12-4-5 350 17
14 St. Cloud State 12-7-3 330 15
15 Mass.-Lowell 12-7-2 325 14
16 Maine 11-7-2 238 18
17 Quinnipiac 13-7-1 172 12
18 Vermont 10-6-2 156 19
19 Massachusetts 12-8-0 137 16
20 New Hampshire 9-7-4 118 NR
Others Receiving Votes: Alaska 82, Lake Superior 9, Notre Dame 6, Michigan 3, Minnesota 3, Northern Michigan 2, Minnesota State 1, RPI 1, RIT 1.
USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll
(First-place votes in parentheses)
Rank School Last Poll's Ranking 2009-10 Record Weeks in Top-15
1. Denver University, 509 (33) 2 14-5-3 14
2. Miami University, 436 (1) 1 13-4-5 14
3. University of Wisconsin, 429 4 12-5-3 7
4. University of North Dakota, 386 5 12-6-4 14
5. Yale University, 371 6 9-3-3 14
6. Michigan State University, 316 9 15-6-3 9
7. Ferris State University, 308 12 16-4-2 5
8. Cornell University, 253 7 8-4-2 14
9. Colorado College, 248 3 12-7-3 11
10. University of Minnesota Duluth, 223 13 14-7-1 8
11. Bemidji State University, 184 10 14-4-2 11
12. Boston College, 150 8 10-6-2 11
13. Union, 78 NR 12-4-5 1
14. University of Massachusetts Lowell, 75 14 12-7-2 14
15. St. Cloud State University, 59 15 12-7-3 3
Others receiving votes: University of New Hampshire, 21; University of Vermont, 14; University of Maine, 11; University of Alaska, 5; University of Massachusetts, 3; RIT, 1.
York, O'Grady honored
Two RPI players were honored by ECAC Hockey on Monday.
Allen York was named goalie of the week after helping RPI win two road games. He made 36 saves in Friday's 4-1 win over Quinnipiac on Friday, and stopped 30 shots in a 4-1 triumph over Princeton on Sunday.
Forward Marty O'Grady was named rookie of the week. He had a game-winning, short-handed goal against Quinnipiac, and scored a power-play goal against Princeton.
Daily Gazette ECACH co-teams of the week — RPI and Union
With the two teams heading into Saturday's game with their weekend sweeps, RPI and Union deserve the honor.
I'm not one to complain about covering a hockey game, but I do take issue with having to sit in arenas where it is just as cold inside as it is outside.
Princeton's Hobey Baker Rink may be the coldest rink in ECAC Hockey. It's understandable because it is an old rink. But it is always freezing in there. One year, it was so cold that when I was going down to the locker room, I thought I my toes were going to break because they were frozen solid, and I couldn't feel them.
Meanwhile, Quinnipiac's TD Bank Sports Center is three years old, and a wonderful facility with a great view from the press box. But didn't the school think about investing in heaters when it was being built?
I'm not soft, but a little heat would be nice.
I always look forward to the Princeton trip because, in essence, it's a "home game" for me.
I stay with my Mom in the house I grew up in in Northeast Philadelphia, which is about 40 minutes away from Princeton. She made a couple of great meals for me. I also got to see some of my grade school friends (a big hello to Frank Barnes, Helen Frame, Jim McFadden and Andy Stackhouse, who I got to see on this trip), and the trip was completed with a visit to the Philly Pretzel Factory to get 10 pretzels. I know we have one in Clifton Park, and I should get over there more often! Or maybe one will open in Schenectady one day!
The only thing I didn't get a chance to do was get a cheesesteak. That will have to wait for my next visit.
If you have any comments, post them below, or e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.