RPI-Bowling Green pregame report
Good evening from Houston Field House, where it's time for the championship game of the 60th annual Rensselaer Holiday Tournament as RPI takes on Bowling Green.
First of all, the news is good on RPI forward CJ Lee, who was injured and carried off on a stretcher midway through the third period of Friday's 6-5 RPI win over Connecticut. Lee suffered a concussion, but there was no injuries to his neck. He was down for over 10 minutes and didn't appear to be moving as the medical staff worked on him in the UConn crease.
Lee suffered the injury when teammate Patrick Cullen was checked from behind at the net. As Cullen was falling, his skate hit Lee in the back of the neck.
Obviously, Lee won't be playing tonight. I spoke to RPI athletic director Jim Knowlton shortly after I arrive during the second period of the third-place game between UConn and Alabama-Huntsville. Knowlton told me that while Lee was in the emergency room, he realized he might miss tonight's game. Lee is a tough kid, and I'm glad he is doing well.
Lee will be replaced on the top line by Bryan Brutlag, who will be on the right wing with center Chase Polacek and Cullen on the left wing. Cullen was on the right wing on the top line last night.
Brutlag had a goal and an assist in last night's win, and RPI coach Seth Appert singled him out for his effort.
"I thought the reason we ended up winning the game, and I don't know if the scoresheet will say it, but it was Bryan Brutlag," Appert said. "I thought Bryan Brutlag was absolutely inspiring, and just put the team on his shoulders with his work ethic. A lot of the forwards wanted an easy game tonight, and I thought Bryan won us the game."
As for tonight's game, the 17th-ranked Engineers (6-3-3) are seeking their 17th tournament title, and first since 2001. RPI assistant coach Nolan Graham was on that team. Maybe he is the missing piece to help RPI win the title.
Appert returns from his one-game suspension tonight.
Here is the RPI lineup, starting with the forwards (LW-C-RW):
Patrick Cullen/Chase Polacek/Bryan Brutlag/
Alex Angers-Goulet/Marty O'Grady/Tyler Helfrich
Matt Tinordi/Brock Higgs/Scott Halpern
Josh Rabbani/Johnny Rogic/Justin Smith
The defensive pairings are:
Mike Bergin/Jeff Foss
Pat Koudys/Nick Bailen
Guy Leboeuf/Bo Dolan
Allen York starts in goal.
Bowling Green (6-9) advanced to the final with a 5-1 win over UAH last night. It was the program's 800th win.
Two seasons ago,Nick Bailen left the school and returned to the U.S. Hockey League's Indiana Ice. The program was saved, but Bailen had already made his decision to leave.
There was some good-natured trash talking this week.
“It will be pretty fun seeing all the guys I haven’t seen in a long time,” Bailen said earlier this week. “I’ve been talking to them on and off. One of my buddies is the captain, David Solway. He was texting me the other day, saying he can’t wait to play me so he can take a few dives. Hopefully, the refs hear this.”
Here is the Bowling Green lineup, starting with the forwards:
David Solway/Camden Wojtala/Brett Mohler
Jordan Samuels-Thomas/Marc Rodriguez/Bryce Williamson
Andrew Wallace/Nathan Pageau/James McIntosh
Chad Sumsion/Cameron Sinclair/Wade Finegan
The defensive pairings are:
Andrew Krelove/Jake Sloat
Bobby Shea/Max Grover
Ian Ruel/Michael Montrose
Andrew Hammond starts in goal.
Chip McDonald and Jean Yves-Roy are the referees. The linesmen are Mike Emanatian and former RPI forward CJ Hanafin, who was also on that 2001 RPI Holiday Tournament title team.
In the third-place game, Alabama-Huntsville beat Connecticut, 6-2.
I will have updates on my Parting Schotts blog, the Daily Gazette Twitter account (http://twitter.com/dgazette) and my own Twitter account (http://twitter.com/slapschotts).
Enjoy the game!