Better Pricing for Upcoming Ivy League Games!

RPI’s game at Quinnipiac this Friday will have video available online free of charge, just as Arizona State did last week and just as RPI does, of course, for all of its home games.

The Ivy League schools, however, are apparently more cash-strapped than most schools (!) and still feel the need to charge to watch their home games. Viewing a single game costs $9.95 each time.

By a fortunate quirk of scheduling, though, RPI’s next four games after Quinnipiac are all against Ivies – Princeton, Yale, Brown and Harvard – and all within a 30-day span. This makes it possible for RPI fans to get a great deal by purchasing an Ivy League Monthly Pass that will allow them to watch all four games for a total of $15.95, or $4 each.

Purchase your monthly pass here to watch the Princeton game on Saturday, December 3, the Yale game on Friday, December 9, the Brown game on December 10, and the Harvard game on December 30th.

Just don’t forget to cancel your monthly subscription after the last game, or else the penny-pinching Ivy League will renew it automatically and charge you another $15.95!

 

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Finally Again – Finishing Up On Last Year’s Seniors

Continuing my comments on the Class of 2016’s senior speeches at the hockey banquet held last May:

Milos Bubela told of how, when he arrived at RPI, he didn’t really know anyone and felt a little lost. Before long, though, with everyone’s support, he found he had a new family. He thanked everyone who supported him through “the bad years and the good years” and gave a special nod to Tera (Associate Athletic Trainer Tera Patenaude). He said he had so many injuries that he was eventually told that he had set a new team record – for visits to the training room! Milos’s infectious grin was present throughout his speech and is one of the things we’ll all miss most about him, along with his tenacious style of play.

Zach Schroeder went next. Sporting a snappy plaid bowtie and matching handkerchief in his pocket, the fifth-year senior would have surely got the award for best-dressed had their been one. His speech was as classy as his outfit, especially when he said that being a student-athlete at RPI had been a great experience – “the people I’ve met, the opportunities I encountered, and yes, the hockey.” He also said that at RPI, “we have one of the best, most loyal, fandoms in college hockey – from students, to residents of Troy, to family members, they stick with us even at our lowest points. Whenever I heard the crowd cheering ‘Red’ during the National Anthem, chills would run down my back because I knew our fans had our backs.” Very eloquently said, Zach.

Jason Kasdorf too spoke of how fast the time went and said that his four years at RPI had been some of the best years of his life. He said when he looks back over those years, the first word that comes to mind is support. Like Zach, he spoke of how “we have some of the best fans in college hockey.” He was, he said, amazed to know that some fans had been following RPI hockey for over 30 years. He added that it’s “extremely humbling” to see how many fans travel to road games and how much pride people have in the program. He thanked Coach Appert at length for believing in him and for all the extra hours he put in helping Jason improve his game. Along with friends and family, Jason also  thanked his beautiful wife Stacey, who was present despite being overdue with their first child. He thanked her for all the hard work she put in helping him to earn his degree even though, he pointed out, “sorry, but mine is going to be the only name on it.” Their adorable and equally beautiful daughter Everly was born a few days later.

Last but not least, captain Chris Bradley took the podium. He spoke of how proud he was to be a member of the RPI community, and of all the amazing people he had met along the way. He said the most important thing he learned from RPI hockey was to “never give up on myself, never give up on my teammates, and to embrace every single challenge that you face.” He said he would take those lessons with him in life and own them. Being an Engineer, he said, “is not about you, it’s about being a teammate, it’s about that guy sitting next to you and about being a part of something bigger than yourself.” Well said, Chris.

There were no really emotional guys this year – Chris Bradley would have been my guess, but he held it together pretty well. They were an eloquent group for sure, and it was clear that their experience with RPI hockey meant a lot to them. They are a great group of guys – we wish them well and will certainly miss them. Thank you, RPI hockey class of 2016!

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Finally!

Here I am to apologize, yet again, for the long delay between my posts. I do have excuses, as I always do – shingles and double vision last year, Lyme disease and Bell’s palsy this year – but you don’t want to hear about that, right? You want hockey! Me too. 🙂

Even though we’re well into the 2016-17 season, I have to go back and finish where I left off at the end of last season. It wouldn’t be fair to the terrific boys in the class of 2016 and their wonderful families if I didn’t give a little closure to their time at RPI by writing about their hockey banquet speeches. So here we go.

Sam Goodman went first and was the designated “thanker,” mentioning everyone associated with the team in any way so that the other boys could say (albeit in fancier words) “like Sam said.” He added his personal thanks to family and friends, and to Coach Appert for giving him such a great opportunity. The highlight of Sam’s speech, though, was when he told us there was only one time during his two years with the team that he didn’t do what Coach Appert told him to do – “when he told me to get in the game against Harvard!” The game was lost and the season all but over and of course his coach wanted to give him that opportunity in the last game, but I guess Sam wasn’t expecting it!

Travis Fulton went next and spoke of how honored he was to have been a part of such a “storied program with national titles and so many famous alumni” and how much it meant to him to fulfill his dream to be a D-I hockey player at a school like RPI, where the fan and community support is so amazing. Travis also thanked his family at lenth, and especially his fiancee, fellow RPI senior Celia D’Agostino, and said he was “looking forward to August.” They were married on August 14th.

Mark Miller was next up. He commented, as so many of the boys do, on how fast the time went and how, as a freshman, he listened to the senior speeches and thought what a long time it would be before he was up there but in the end it seemed like no time at all. Mark said that RPI let him combine “everything that’s important to me – family, a world-class engineering degree, and the ability to play D-I hockey for one of the best programs in the world.” He thanked his family at length, and especially singled out his fiancee. Mark and Serra were married on July 28th.

Phil Hampton’s speech took a bit different approach. He acknowledged that he had a difficult time dealing with his very limited playing time in his first two years and said for a long time he wasn’t sure he would be at RPI long enough to make a senior speech. He said he took stock after his sophomore year and decided that “one man’s failure is another man’s success” and that he would stay, work as hard as he could, and make the most of his time at RPI. He did that, and very well, and had a great senior year, playing in every game. Phil also turned out to be the comedian of the evening, peppering his speech with jokes that had the crowd laughing, like when he said that his proudest moment at RPI was beating Coach Appert at ping pong to earn the team a day off from practice! Phil has been back to RPI to visit already, attending a job fair and still looking for that perfect position in his field of aeronautical engineering.

Next blog entry – the remaining four seniors: Milos Bubela, Zach Schroeder, Jason Kasdorf and Chris Bradley.

 

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2016 Hockey Banquet Awards

Handout from 2016 RPI Hockey Banquet

The annual RPI Men’s Hockey Banquet was held on Saturday, May 7th, at the Hefner Alumni House. Here’s a first look at the events of the evening.

Athletic Director Dr. Lee McElroy gave the opening remarks, speaking of how often he and Coach Appert met this year and how they discussed what could be done to “make every day better day than the day before” for the program. Following that, Father Ed Kacerguis gave the Invocation, as usual, and dinner was served.

After dinner, the rest of the evening’s events kicked off with Coach Seth Appert’s season remarks. Coach Appert spoke of how he felt the program as a whole “dropped the ball a bit” last year on being who and what they wanted to be, and of how he looked at this as a recovery year. He said you couldn’t go from where they were last year to competing for a national championship, and that the intent this year was to get the program back on track. It was clear from things he said that he was talking about attitude and commitment moreso than performance on the ice, although clearly he felt one affected the other.

A video of season highlights was shown next, after which the remainder of the evening alternated awards with speeches by all eight departing seniors, including fifth-year senior Zach Schroeder and goalie Jason Kasdorf, who is departing with a year of eligibility left. Both young men had medical redshirts during their time at RPI. Because the banquet was held a little later than sometimes this year, all four of the seniors who spent time away playing professionally – Chris Bradley, Milos Bubela, Mark Miller and Jason Kasdorf – were able to be back and deliver their own speeches, which was very nice. I’ll go into more detail on their speeches in another post sometime soon.

The first award given was for Most Outstanding Freshman and it was presented by Scott Basiuk ’04 and Kurt Colling ’09. Both Scott and Kurt live in the area and I believe they were the only hockey alums in attendance apart from assistant coach Nolan Graham ’03. The award went to Tommy Grant, which was a bit of a surprise. Tommy did a great job this year, but didn’t get into a game until October 30th against Union and, honestly, I just figured Cam Hackett would be a shoo-in after the way he stepped up and saved the team’s bacon when Jason Kasdorf went down with an injury. Kudos to Tommy, though, on a job well done all season.

The Community Service award was presented by RPI Assistant Vice President Jeff Miner and went to Travis Fulton. Coach Appert commented that it practically had to be renamed the Travis Fulton award, given the extent of Travis’s community involvement, not only this year but throughout his time at RPI. In fact, this is the third straight year that Travis received this award – he’ll have a whole collection of Community Service trophies to take with him when he leaves!

The Erick R. James ’99 Top Scholar Athlete award was presented by RPI Vice President Jon Wexler to Phil Hampton. Phil had a 3.98 GPA in his senior year and has a 3.95 GPA overall, which is particularly impressive given his aeronautical engineering major! Just how hard it is to combine an Engineering major with the time commitment of playing D-1 hockey can be seen in how few guys attempt it: only four players on the current roster are Engineering majors; the other 22 are Business & Management. Without taking anything away from how hard the B&M guys work at RPI, I have to say that more than one of them have told me themselves that they can’t understand how the Engineering majors do it!

The Most Improved Player award, presented by Coach Graham, was shared by two players, both chosen by a vote of their teammates. Junior defenseman Parker Reno, whose plus-minus of +12 was far and away the best on the team, shared the award with freshman forward Brady Wiffen, who ended up academically ineligible this year and didn’t play at all. Parker missed a lot of games too, sitting out most of the second half with a broken collarbone, but his determination to help the team saw him back on the ice for the last regular season weekend and the first playoff game before he gave in and took a seat in the stands again. Brady was praised by Coach Appert for showing up at every practice and working as hard as anyone on the team to improve even though he knew he wouldn’t see the ice in a game until next year. It sounds as though Brady will be ready to contribute in a big way right from the start of his playing career as an Engineer.

Assistant Coach Bryan Vines presented the Best Defensive Player award, also shared by two players – captain Chris Bradley and “Super Senior” Zach Schroeder. Coach Appert talked about how many shots Chris blocked this year and how much he put himself out there for the team. He also talked about how Zach, a forward, played defense the right way and was always where he needed to be. The two together, he said, led the team by example, defensively and otherwise.

The Ben Mayo Most Inspirational Player award was, for the first time in recent years, not presented by Ben, who became an unofficial team member after successfully battling cancer several years ago. Coach Appert was happy to report that Ben, now completely in remission, is away at college as a freshman this year and thus wasn’t available to present the award. RPI Vice President John Kolb stood in instead and presented the award to Zach Schroeder. Coach Appert said that Zach was a leader and an inspiration to his teammates in every way – in the locker room, on the ice, and in his conduct away from the rink. He led by example in his attitude, his work ethic, his willingness to do whatever helped the team, and his positive approach to the season. And in his spare time, he earned a master’s degree along with his bachelor’s in Business and Management!

The final award of the evening was, of course, the Most Valuable Player award, which was presented by RPI Vice President Graig Eastin. It was no surprise to any of us that it went to Jason Kasdorf, whose stellar goaltending kept the Engineers in many a close game this season. His .931 saves percentage and 2.30 GAA, while impressive, don’t tell the full story of what he meant to the team. Forty-four saves in a shutout of Cornell, 46 saves in the tie at Quinnipiac, and a combined 92 saves and one goal allowed in the two regular-season games against Harvard will give you a better idea. Those last numbers also tell how badly Jason wanted to be out there for his teammates in the ECAC Quarterfinals at Harvard and how much his injury cost the team. (Aside: Jason and his wife Stacey are expecting their first child any day now, but Stacey was in attendance Saturday night looking happy and healthy.)

The evening concluded with a senior tribute video featuring pictures of each player from childhood up through their RPI years. What a cute bunch of kids they were! And what a terrific group of young men they are now! More on the departing seniors coming soon.

Charlene

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Some Postseason Thoughts – A First Take

Another season in the books for RPI already – where did the time go?! I feel like I’ve been remiss this year in my blogging, posting too rarely and missing some significant moments in RPI’s season. Mea culpa – I’ve had some health issues and some family occasions that distracted me, and I apologize. I have been at nearly all the games cheering the boys on, but I just didn’t find time to write about it often.

And now it’s over, another senior class has finished their time in cherry and white, and we’re facing the long off-season. Many will start the speculating on what next year’s team has to offer almost immediately, but I prefer to leave that for later and enjoy looking back on the season just finished for a while yet – at least until after the end-of-year hockey banquet!

There were some low points, as always. Certainly being blown out by Harvard in what turned out to be the final game of the season was one, even if it was understandable in light of Jason Kasdorf’s injury and Cam Hackett’s lack of recent playing time. Games like that can be painful to watch, but for what it’s worth it looked like the Engineers never stopped fighting in that one. Losing the Freakout against Clarkson and losing the game at Colgate that could easily have made the difference between a first-round bye and a middle-eight finish were two other lows.

But this season had more than its share of high points too, including some that weren’t reflected on the scoreboard. Finally winning a playoff series at home after a long drought was certainly one of them, as was sweeping Union in the regular season games and the Mayor’s Cup. For me it was a particular pleasure to see the blossoming of several players who were able to up their contribution dramatically this year, including junior Riley Bourbonnais (who doubled his points contribution from last season) and sophomore Kenny Gillespie (who tripled his!), and on defense senior Phil Hampton (who after logging just one assist last year chipped in three goals and seven assists this season) and junior Parker Reno (who went from a +/- of -14 last year to a +12 this season). There were many others who stepped up as well and the team as a whole showed plenty of fight and plenty of heart in all their games.

I’ll have more on the season later. For now, congratulations to Jason Kasdorf on signing a professional contract with the Buffalo Sabres yesterday!

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Thank you, Seniors!

RPI Hockey Class of 2016 on Senior Night

Congratulations to the class of 2016 on their victory over Princeton at Houston Field House on Senior Night, February 20th!

In addition to giving the crowd some thrills and something to cheer about, they kept hopes alive for a first-round bye in the upcoming ECAC playoffs. It’s going to be a photo-finish, with five teams vying for the remaining spots in the top four. Quinnipiac and Yale have locked up one and two in some order, but Harvard, St. Lawrence, Dartmouth, RPI and Cornell all have a shot at the next two.

The Engineers have been playing pretty well of late, though they haven’t always put together a solid 60 minutes. They came out a bit flat against Princeton Friday night, but got their act together and took care of business. If they play like they did in the second half of that game, or like they did in all of the Quinnipiac game the night before, they can beat both Colgate and Cornell next weekend. And realistically, that’s what it will take to get that first-round bye.

In the picture above, the seniors are, from left, Milos Bubela, Travis Fulton, Phil Hampton, Mark Miller, Chris Bradley, Zach Schroeder (actually a fifth-year grad student because of his earlier red-shirt), Sam Goodman and Jason Kasdorf. Thank you to all of them for four years of hard work and many, many exciting games. And here’s hoping there are quite a few more still to come!

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Scoring on the Ivy League Digital Network

The Ivy League has its own network for streaming live sporting events at all schools, including all of their hockey games. Beginning tomorrow night at Princeton, RPI has six regular-season road games remaining with the Ivies this season. Since the Ivy League Digital Network offers a variety of league-wide subscriptions in addition to one-school, one-day passes, a smart shopper can save themselves some dollars by planning ahead. Here’s how.

A one-school, one-day pass costs $9.95. This is the way to go if you’re only planning to watch the live streaming of only one of RPI’s games at an Ivy League school.

A monthly pass covering all Ivy League schools costs $15.95. This subscription runs for 30 days from the date you first sign up. It happens that RPI’s schedule lines up favorably to make the most of these monthly passes this season. There are two scenarios that enable you to get better value from your subscription.

You can sign up for a monthly pass on January 7th to watch the game at Princeton and your monthly pass will still be in effect when RPI travels to Brown and Yale on January 29th and 30th. You’ll get three games for your $16.95 instead of paying $9.95 each.

But here’s the best scenario for anyone who plans to watch several of these games online: you can sign up for a monthly pass on January 29th and your pass will cover all the remaining Ivy League games: the Brown and Yale games that weekend, the Harvard and Dartmouth games on February 12th and 13th, and the Cornell game on February 27th. You’ll get access to the webcasts of five games for your $15.95, which averages out to $3.20 per game!

You can view all the Ivy League Digital Network subscription options here. One caution: these subscriptions will renew automatically at the end of the month if you do nothing, so be sure to log back in and cancel your subscription after viewing the last game.

Enjoy the games and let’s go, Red!

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Updated Travel Section on RPIhockey.net!

This is just a quick post to point out that we have completely revamped and updated our Travel Section for this season and hope you’ll check it out.

If you’re planning to attend a road game at any ECAC school this year, we can help you plan with lots of useful information about tickets, parking, the rink, and the surrounding area including links to restaurants, hotels and things to do. Happy traveling and let’s go, Red!

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Consistently Inconsistent

Not RPI, not this time anyway. I meant me. Maybe that’s why I love RPI hockey so much – we have a lot in common. We’re both consistently inconsistent, predictably unpredictable, regularly irregular. Er, wait, let’s leave my digestive health out of this and just go with the first two. If you’ve paid attention to how the Engineers have fared in the last few years, you know that generally the only thing you can be sure of is that there’s nothing you can be sure of. Kind of like waiting for my next blog post. You could wait for months and then see three new posts in one day. Just saying.

Those of you who have been RPI fans for a long time have to have heard that axiom at some point. And while that logic certainly seems to apply to some of the teams Seth Appert has coached, it just as certainly didn’t begin with his tenure. There’s an old saying, predating Coach Appert by many years, that goes something like, “Don’t bet for Cornell in the regular season, don’t bet against Harvard in the playoffs, and don’t bet on RPI. Period.” Maybe it’s something in the Troy water…

Hence my October post expressing cautious optimism, yes, but also puzzlement as to how to explain where they were and how to anticipate where they might end up. Hence, also, my lack of subsequent posts for a bit while I tried to figure out what to expect of our Engineers this season. You’d think I’d know better by now. I did set out twice to write a new post – once after their amazing 0-0 tie with Harvard and once at the semester break. Both times I got sidetracked by other things and was kind of glad I did since every new game seemed to change my perspective a little.

So here we are, 22 games into the season, 11-7-3 overall and 4-1-3 in league play, and ranked in the national polls this week for the first time this season. Not bad at all. And here I am, writing just my third blog post of the season. Not good at all. Then again, maybe the team does better when I keep my mouth shut and sit on my hands. You know how superstitious hockey players and hockey fans can be!

So for now I’ll limit myself to a somewhat lengthy list of what I’m impressed with from the Engineers this season, and a considerably shorter list of what I’m not.

Getting the negative out of the way first, I’m not impressed by:
– the power play. With a dismal .116 record overall and .077 in league play, this continues to be RPI’s bugaboo. If this doesn’t improve down the stretch, it could prove costly.
– the split with Miami last weekend. It may seem nit-picky to question a road weekend split with an NCHC team, but the Redhawks have not been good this season, with a 6-10-2 record, and RPI in fact handed them their first win in eight games. I’ll chalk it up to getting back in the groove after the semester break if the Engineers take care of business going forward.

I’m impressed by:
– Cam Hackett. Wow! What a way to step in and step up! This guy is nobody’s backup goalie. He filled in superbly when Jason Kasdorf missed eight games due to injury and after Kasdorf returned, the two pair split the Arizona State weekend and both racked up wins. Kasdorf stopped 23 of 24 shots on Friday, allowing just one goal 14 minutes into the third period, while Hackett stopped an identical 23 of 24 shots on Saturday, allowing just one goal 12 1/2 minutes into the third. Conclusion: it doesn’t matter which guy is between the pipes, we’re good either way.
– Riley Bourbonnais. Riley had just five goals last season and none in his freshman year, when he only earned his way into the lineup in time to play nine games. This year, with 15 regular-season games still to play, he’s leading the team – and tied for the ECAC lead – with 12 goals and 6 assists!
– the RPI defense. All of them. Last year the Engineers finished the season with a combined average +/- of -32. This year, to date, the team has a combined average of +9. Special kudos to Parker Reno and Jared Wilson, who are +13 and +10 respectively.
– the aforementioned 0-0 tie with Harvard. Coming off a 4-0 loss to the Crimson the previous week, the Engineers showed what they are made of in doing everything it took, blocked shots, hard hits and all, to deny Harvard at every opportunity. Harvard took 43 shots in all and got not a single one of them past Jason Kasdorf, in his first game back, and the RPI defense.
– the freshman class as a whole. All of them except Lonnie Clary have scored goals already (and Lonnie has only been in eight games so far) and all have shown a willingness to play tough, hard-nosed hockey and do the little things it takes to win. Special kudos to Jesper Ohrvall who didn’t get his first goal until December 11th and has already added three more.
– the Houston Field House faithful, who have supported the team through thick and thin, with a lot of thin some years, and have really stepped up to cheer the boys on to their 6-2-2 home record so far this season. Way to go, fans!

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You Gotta Like Their Chances!

We may not know what to make of the start the Engineers had in their non-league schedule this season, but it’s hard to argue with what they’ve done in league games thus far!

What do you make of a team that beats Boston College – the only blemish on BC’s otherwise perfect record to date, by the way – and then blows two third-period leads against the Alaska teams? Alaska-Anchorage looks to be a pretty good team this year, with a .688 record so far; Alaska-Fairbanks much less so, with a .375 record currently. Losses to UMass-Lowell and Michigan, currently ranked 5th and 12th in the nation respectively, are less surprising and less informative, but nonetheless RPI fans were a bit worried when the team went into ECAC play with a 1-4 record.

Fast forward two weeks and the Engineers sit atop the league, tied with Harvard, after sweeping Union in a home-and-home and taking three points in the North Country (although they did once again blow a third-period lead in the tie at Clarkson). This is their best league start in over 20 years. It’s also significant to note that some of this success has come with key players missing – senior center Milos Bubela and hot freshman Evan Tironese missed the whole Clarkson-SLU weekend with injuries, and star goalie Jason Kasdorf left the Clarkson game in the third period, also with an injury. Other players stepped up to fill the gaps, most notably Cam Hackett, who took over for Kasdorf at Clarkson and got the win at SLU.

So what does this tell us? Honestly, I don’t think it tells us a whole lot yet about how the Engineers will do over the entire season. RPI is notorious for being unpredictable, for playing up or down to their competition, and for putting up inexplicable wins as well as inexplicable losses.

It does tell us, however, that this installment of the RPI Engineers has talent, has grit and perseverance, and most apparent, has heart. They are capable of good things, maybe even of great things. They know how to come together and play for each other and for missing teammates. They know how to keep fighting when the odds are against them and the scoreboard is taunting them. And they know that one win is just one win and one loss is just one loss – it ain’t over till it’s over.

This weekend they’ll face another tough challenge playing 10th-ranked Yale, and probably have to do it without Kasdorf and Tironese again. There’s no way to know if they’ll come away with a win. But you gotta like their chances!

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