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RPI Frustrated by Latest Winless Streak

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, December 7, 2006

TROY - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute hockey team hasn't won in its past five games. The Engineers don't feel like they're on such an extended winless (0-3-2) streak, however, since they've been playing some pretty good hockey during that span.

They saw leads of 3-0 at Cornell and 2-0 at Colgate wiped out by repeated penalties and thus recorded a frustrating 3-3 tie against the Big Red and incurred a gut-wrenching 3-2 loss to the Raiders. Their once strong 4-1-3 record is now 4-4-5.

"It was due to penalties," Rensselaer head coach Seth Appert stated flatly. "Some of it (was) our fault, by taking penalties we didn't need to take. Some of it (was) outside our control. And those penalties really dictated the outcome of those games."

Keeping the frustration level below a point where it may begin to affect their play is the main chore for RPI coaches and players as they head out on the road this weekend for ECAC Hockey League games at Quinnipiac and Princeton.

Rensselaer's last victory was a 4-1 decision over Merrimack, one of the nation's weaker teams, way back on Nov. 12. Again, though, the players don't feel like they're on a losing team.

"Not really," said sophomore left winger Kurt Colling, whose goal at Cornell gave RPI a 3-0 lead. "I think we're getting better with every game. Like coach (Seth Appert) said, we're playing a lot better than we were at the start of the year when we were winning games. I think it's just a matter of paying better attention to details."

"The play's been good but any time you haven't won in a while you have that urgency to get back in the 'W' column and I think we're getting that," said junior Jake Morissette, RPI's leading goal-scorer with seven.

"But we don't feel like a losing (team)," he said.

"No, not really," said sophomore center Matt Angers-Goulet. "We've been playing well. We've been getting the lead, we just need to keep it. I think we just need to get that first win (to end the slide) and I think we'll keep rolling after that."

Said assistant captain Kevin Broad, "it hasn't been resulting in wins but we've been playing good hockey. We're not pleased with the way we've been playing because obviously there would be more wins on the board (if we were pleased) but things are headed in the right direction, even though we haven't won in five games."

Team captain Kirk MacDonald agrees that if you look at the numbers, "we've probably played a lot better in the last five than we did in the first part of the year when we were 4-1-3. We just have to bear down in a couple areas. We're pretty focused right now and the coaches have us going in the right direction. We'll be coming through pretty quick."

How about that frustration level?

On a scale of 1-10, Morissette was asked.

"That's tough to say," he replied. "Guys are frustrated with the results but we do understand that we're starting to play better, so we have to stay positive. But I don't know, on a 1-10."

"I don't think guys are so frustrated that they're going to be squeezing the stick too much but there's got to be some urgency to get that first win," Morissette said.

"Of course it's frustrating," Angers-Goulet said. "But it's not alarming. We're pretty confident we can get a win (this weekend)."

"I think the coaches did a good job on Monday," Colling said. "They came in and said we played well this (past) weekend, there's nothing wrong with our play. There are just too many penalties we don't need to take and some details ... the coaches are a big part of it and we realize we're playing decent."

"It's real positive around here," Broad said. "You get into trouble when you're (so) frustrated that you let things get to you. The coaches are doing a good job of keeping things positive and working us hard in practice but not being satisfied at the same time."

"There are a lot of reasons to make excuses," MacDonald said, "but we're not going to make excuses for ourselves. We only got one point (last) week and that's not good enough. We have to go on the road again and play the same kind of hockey we have been and be a little smarter. There were some tough calls but we made some dumb plays (penalties) to compound those calls."