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by Ken Schott

Parting Schotts

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Ken Schott blogs about college hockey & more

Union-RPI Route 7 Rivalry pregame report

Good evening from a soon-to-be packed Messa Rink, where it’s Part 1 of the three-part Route 7 Rivalry trilogy between Capital Region-foes Union and 10th-ranked RPI.

Here is a look at the game, which is a 7:30 p.m. start

The Rivalry
RPI leads the all-time series with a 45-31-10 record. But that has meant little over the last few years.

Union has dominated the rivalry, going 12-1-1 in the last 14 meetings. The Dutchmen have won the last eight games overall, and have a six-game winning streak at Messa. The last time RPI won at Messa was Oct. 30, 2009, a 4-3 win in overtime. The Engineers’ last win overall was also a 4-3 OT decision Nov. 13, 2010, at Houston Field House.

The Engineers could have won two of last season’s games. They outshot Union in those contests, but the Dutchmen came through. In the 4-2 win Nov. 2 at the Field House, the Dutchmen used a three-goal second period to take a 4-1 lead. Union only had 18 shots in the game.

In the inaugural Mayor’s Cup game Jan. 26 at the Times Union Center, Dutchmen goalie Troy Grosenick made 36 saves, and a Matt Wilkins power-play goal with 37 seconds left in regulation gave the Dutchmen a 3-2 victory in a game that they had only 20 shots on goal.

The only game that was a mismatch was the Nov. 3 contest at Messa. With the Dutchmen leading, 2-1, RPI defenseman Luke Curadi hit Dutchmen defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere in the head from behind. Union got a major power play out of it and scored three times. Union finished with six goals in the second and cruised to a 7-3 victory.

RPI coach Seth Appert wants his team to play with emotion, but not cross the line where they become over emotional.

“Early last year, we learned a good lesson,” Appert said. “There’s a fine line when you play a rivalry game, and this is a great rivalry. It’s really cool to get to be a part of it for our student-athletes and for theirs to play in these environments in sold-out buildings and the energy and the animosity between both fan bases and teams.

“When you play in those types of charged games, you have to play with a certain level of emotion, but you can’t play emotional. I thought last year, we played real good at home, but we played emotional. We took some penalties we didn’t need to take. Then we played over-emotional in their building, and that was my fault. I hadn’t gotten the guys to understand yet on how to play with passion and emotion without be emotional.”

Union needs to be more consistent, especially when it has the lead. Last Friday, the Dutchmen blew leads of 2-0 and 3-2 and dropped a 5-3 decision to Colgate. It was the fourth time this season that the Dutchmen failed to protect a lead.

They did a much better job in the next night’s 3-0 win over Cornell. The Dutchmen held the Big Red to 11 shots on goal.

Union lineup
Kevin Sullivan remains out with an upper-body injury.

Forwards (LW-C-RW):
Daniel Ciampini/Max Novak/Michael Pontarelli
Matt Hatch/Mike Vecchione/Nick Cruice
Daniel Carr/Eli LichtenwaldMatt Wilkins
Cole Ikkala/Mark Bennett/Sam Coatta

Mat Bodie/Charlie Vasaturo
Matt Krug/Sebastien Gingras
Shayne Gostisbehere/Jeff Taylor

Colin Stevens starts in goal

RPI lineup
Forwards (LW-C-RW):
Matt Tinordi/Brock Higgs/Johnny Rogic
Mike Zalewski/Matt Neal/Ryan Haggerty
Jacob Laliberte/Mark McGowan/Zach Schroeder
Jimmy DeVito/Mark Miller/Milos Bubela

Guy Leboeuf/Phil Hampton
Curtis Leonard/Chris Bradley
Luke Curadi/Parker Reno

Scott Diebold starts in goal.

Union has just one power-play goal in its last 18 opportunities.

Carr will play in his 131st consecutive game.

Bodie needs one assist for 75 for his career.

Appert is 4-18-3 against Union since he became RPI coach in 2006.

The teams have played 18 overtime games. Union has a 5-4-9 edge.

RPI is fourth in scoring in the nation with an average if 4.10 goals per game. Union is 10th at 3.78.

The officials
Mike Baker and Chip McDonald are the referees. Jim Briggs and Glen Cooke are the linesmen.

Twitter and hashtags
Follow me on Twitter @slapschotts. The hashtags for the game are #UnionHockey, #RPIHockey, #ECACHockey and #Route7Rivalry. If you have questions before, during and after the game, please ask. I will try to reply as quickly as possible.

Please like the “Slap Schotts College Hockey Segment" page on Facebook by clicking here, as well as The Daily Gazette On Ice Facebook page here.

Enjoy the game!

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