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Media, Coaches Forsee Little from RPI

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, September 25, 2007

ALBANY - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute finished in ninth-place (by tie-breaker after tying for eighth) in ECAC Hockey last season - its first under coach Seth Appert - and plans a significant improvement this coming campaign.

The Engineers will have yet to convince league coaches and media, who voted them 10th (coaches) and ninth (media) in preseason balloting, that they'll make a significant rise in the standings.

In the balloting of the ECAC's 12 head coaches, the Engineers were picked 10th with 31 points, ahead of only Brown (26 points) and Union (25).

The media foresaw the Engineers ninth with 86 points, followed by Yale, Brown and Union.

Defending playoff champion Clarkson was predicted by coaches and media to win the regular-season title, with Quinnipiac second, St. Lawrence third and Cornell fourth in each poll.

The Golden Knights totaled 121 points in the preseason balloting of ECAC coaches, 279 points in a poll of 23 league-wide media members.

The Knights, who were second in the 2006-07 regular season, claimed 18 of the 23 first-place votes among the media, 11 of 12 from the coaches.

"It means absolutely nothing," Clarkson head coach George Roll said of the balloting.

Appert shrugged several times when asked about the polls - specifically his team's projected finishes - searched for words for a few seconds and said, "it means that coaches and media are wrong; have been wrong in the past."

"Whatever," said junior forward Seth Klerer. "We don't even think about stuff like that. We know what we can do."

Said captain Jake Morissette, "that doesn't really concern us. We've seen before, the (finishes) are never what the predictions were."

Coaches predicted RPI would finish 11th last season.

"Ever since I've been here, we've been used to it and every year it's motivation for us," said junior left winger Kurt Colling.

Each year the Engineers have finished one or two notches above what the pollsters have forecast but they hope to increase that to four or five spots - or even more - this season.

"We'd love to and I think we have the tools to do that this year," Colling said. "And the belief is there and I think that can carry us."

"We weren't happy with where we finished last year and we have a lot to prove," Morissette added.

Quinnipiac, in just its third season of ECAC Hockey play, garnered enough respect to earn three first-place votes and 234 points in the media poll, one top nod and 104 points from coaches.

Defending regular-season champion St. Lawrence and Cornell, winner of five of the previous eight regular-season titles, each claimed one first-place vote and finished third and fourth, 223 points to 222 in the media poll.

They totaled 98 and 81 points in the coaches' poll.

Colgate and Dartmouth polled fifth and sixth with 179 and 172 points, respectively, in the media poll.

In the coaches' balloting, however, Harvard was fifth (73 points), Colgate (71) sixth and Dartmouth (59) seventh.

Rounding out the media poll are No. 7 Harvard (166 points), Princeton (104), RPI, No. 10 Yale (80), Brown and Union.

Filling out the coaches' poll are No. 8 Princeton (49 points), Yale (42), RPI, Brown and Union.