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RPI Resumes ECAC Play on Road

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, December 1, 2006

TROY - Quick, which one of 10 ECAC Hockey League teams didn't lose either game on its Cornell-Colgate road trip last season?

Even Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute fans may need a few seconds to recall that RPI is the correct answer, as the Engineers played a 1-1 tie at both schools last season.

Six teams went 0-2-0 on the Cornell-Colgate trip, in most years regarded as one of the roughest in college hockey.

The 4-3-4 Engineers, one of two ECACHL teams without a league defeat at 1-0-1, face 13th-ranked Cornell (4-2-0, 7-3-0), then move into Colgate on Saturday night (1-4-1, 5-8-2). Both games face off at 7 p.m.

"It feels like the first game of the year, it's been so long since we've played a league game," first-year RPI coach Seth Appert said.

"It's good (to return to ECACHL play)," he added. "It's our first time, as a staff, through the league, our first league road trip, so it's interesting. We're excited to get back into league play."

The fact that the Engineers are 1-1-1 in their past three trips to Lynah, got one point in the game at Colgate last season, and have beaten both teams in the most recent meeting (Cornell 2-0 season, Colgate 2-1 this year) can give the Engineers a measure of confidence.

"You'd like to think so," Appert said. "They should."

"Confidence is big in college hockey and you find it where you can," says assistant captain Kevin Broad. "We know we're going to be in a war, both nights. But it's nice to know we have beaten those teams (recently)."

"We have beaten both teams but you can guarantee they're going to have better looks than the last time we saw them," said sophomore left winger Kurt Colling.

"I guess we can take some confidence out of it," said RPI captain Kirk MacDonald, "but I think we're just trying to be prepared. It's going to be a circus at Cornell, it always is ... and (being at home so long), we're a little excited to be on the road again."

"It's a hostile environment," Appert said. "There are a lot of good places (for visiting teams) to play in college hockey and Cornell isn't one of them."

Appert also said that while the Big Red were picked only fourth in the ECACHL this season, the road to an ECACHL regular-season title "still goes through Cornell ... until proven otherwise."

To break the 1-2-2 "funk" the Engineers are in and get some points this weekend, Appert says, "attention to detail needs to be a little bit better. We're doing some better things offensively. In the Niagara game, I think we had 85 shot attempts (actually 82) and they had 37 and we lose the game. That shows two things: that we played pretty darn good in a game we lost and but also that sometimes your lack of attention to detail on your game - special teams, face-offs, execution of your style of play becomes a little more evident."