Here we are with just four games left in the regular season and the Big Red Freakout and Senior Night coming up this weekend! (I won’t get into how I feel about Freakout and Senior Night being the same night – that’s another whole post!)
I got my New Year’s wish to some extent – the Engineers have been playing better hockey and giving us more to cheer about lately. Wins over Clarkson and Colgate and better play in, really, nearly all their games since the big win over Harvard. In the five games immediately preceding that upset, RPI allowed 29 goals and scored just nine. In the last eight games they’ve played, beginning with that Harvard game, RPI has actually outscored their opponents 20-18. It hasn’t always translated to wins, but at least it’s been more fun to watch!
I have to say that I don’t think RPI’s most recent game, when they lost to Dartmouth by a very close 2-1, was of the same caliber as other games recently. They seemed to be back to play more similar to earlier in the season, when they were less aggressive with the puck, took more foolish penalties, and spent too much time on defense. Let’s hope that was an anomaly and this weekend will see them finish the regular season strong before they head into the playoffs. Home ice is not a realistic possibility at this point, but the Engineers have won playoff series on the road before in recent years – more, in fact, than they’ve won at home!
Clarkson, Quinnipiac and Yale are probably our most likely 1st-round opponents. Of those, I guess I’d prefer Clarkson, since RPI beat them in their most recent matchup (let’s not even think about Lake Placid) and the Engineers won a playoff series on the road there just two years ago. Of course, if RPI manages to beat Quinnipiac on BRF/SN this Saturday, I may change my opinion!
First things first, though. Let’s get that win against Princeton on Friday night and NOT fall into the historical trap of overlooking the game before the Freakout, and then we’ll take it from there. Let’s go, Red!