Sunday, October 13, 2013

Previewing the RPI Engineers

This afternoon, the Eagles will play their home opener versus the preseason favorite in the ECAC, the RPI Engineers. The big news concerning this afternoon's game is that freshman phenom Thatcher Demko will make his first colligate start. A lot of people have asked what I think the staff will do with the goalie situation. Let's say Demko plays real well today and gets the win, I believe he should start next weekend versus the nations top team, Wisconsin Badgers. If Demko struggles today, then it should be Billett. Either way, both guys will get a lot of opportunities to play in the coming weeks assuming they continue to play at a high level.

This will be the 38th meeting between RPI and Boston College with the Eagles holding a 19-14-1 lead in the series, including a 9-1 mark versus Renssealer @ Conte Forum. RPI has also played just one game this season, defeating Scared Heart last night 6-0, a day after Sacred Heart pulled off one of the biggest upsets in college hockey history, beating #1 Lowell @ Tsongas Center. Although they may not be as notable as a Michigan or a Wisconsin, this RPI is real good and in my opinion, a definite top team in the nation. The Engineers return twelve forwards from last seasons club and rank among the most experienced team in college hockey. Saturday night saw the Engineers got two goals from junior Ryan Haggerty and a thirteen save shutout for star goalie Jason Kasdorf. This will be the first meeting between RPI and Boston College since October 11th, 2007, a 4-1 victory for the good guys.

The bottom line is this club can't get off to an 0-2 start, especially with the Badgers and Gophers looming. I look for BC to be sharper on the penalty kill and in their own end because those were clearly the two biggest issues versus Michigan. The best way to solve the bad penalty killing problem is to not take penalties at all. The less time spent in the box, the better the chance BC has of winning this game. I'm sure the staff will make one or two changes in the lineup but probably nothing too dramatic. Each line had some scoring chances on Thursday night and if they can start cashing in on those opportunities, then BC has a great chance of winning this game today.

Keys for the Eagles-

1. Stay out of the box. If this becomes a trend this season, BC is in big trouble. No dumb penalties today.

2. Try and get some of the early momentum. I bet there will be a pretty decent crowd there today. If BC can score one or two goals early, it will get everybody energized.

3. Don' leave Demko out to dry. Like I said yesterday, Michigan might have had fifteen odd man rushes on Thursday. You can't expect your goalie to continue to bail you out on plays like that. BC needs to prevent those today.

Scouting RPI-

Rank- 15th in nation (1-0-0)

Leading returning scorer- Matt Neal (8-22-30 line a season ago)

Other top players- Jacob Laliberte, Ryan Haggerty

Go Eagles !

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