The RPI men’s hockey team will once again be pushed to its limits as the Engineers are tasked with yet another difficult season for the squad’s 109th year of play. After bowing out early from the ECAC tournament last season, much will be expected for the talented group of skaters who have a healthy and hearty recruiting class to fill the voids of those who have graduated.
Last year, Head Coach Seth Appert led the team to one of its best finishes in years, with a 18-17-4 overall record, including going 10-9-3 in the ECAC. The Engineers finished fifth overall in the league and held home ice advantage through the first round of the playoffs, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 2006.
Unlike previous seasons, which have either opened with the Red/White Scrimmage or an exhibition game, the Engineers will jump right into the thick of the action with a two-game set in Colorado Springs, Colo. to face the Colorado College Tigers. RPI then heads east to Boston, Mass., to take on the Northeastern Huskies on October 15 before returning home to the Houston Field House for the first time this season to take on another Baystate foe, the Bentley University Falcons, for Homecoming & Reunion Weekend. This will be one of the first opportunities for fans to witness the renovations made to the Houston Field House over the offseason.
The Engineers remain home to host two non-conference games: the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers—a Frozen Four participant and one of four teams in the NCAA tournament that Rensselaer will face—and Niagara University. On October 30, RPI will take on local rival Union College at the Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, N.Y., for a special two-game event that also features the Clarkson University Golden Knights taking on the St. Lawrence University Saints on the same evening.
RPI’s ECAC schedule opens on the road against Dartmouth College and Harvard University on November 5 and 6, respectively, before heading back to the Capital District for a home-and-home series with the Union Dutchmen. Rensselaer will head to Messa Rink on November 12 before heading back to Troy for Black Saturday on the 13th.
Once again the Engineers play host to the oldest college hockey tournament in the nation, the 60th Annual Rensselaer Holiday Tournament on November 26 and 27, just as students head back to campus from the brief holiday break. RPI will play in the 7 pm games both nights, opening against the University of Connecticut Huskies on Friday, and playing either Bowling Green University or the University of Alabama-Huntsville the following evening.
Heading into the winter break, Rensselaer hits the road to face Yale University and Brown on December 3 and 4 before returning home one last time in 2010 to take on Boston University on December 11 in non-conference action.
Instead of the usual tournament during the winter break, RPI will head to Alabama to take on the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers for a pair of non-conference games on December 30 and 31. The Engineers then close out the remainder of the 16-game season with ECAC matches, 10 of which will be played at home. Through January 21 to the 29, Rensselaer hosts Harvard, Dartmouth, Brown University, and Yale University. The January 29 matchup against the Bulldogs also marks the 34th Annual Big Red Freakout!
The Engineers hit the road to face Quinnipiac University and Princeton University before coming back to the Houston Field House to play Colgate University and Cornell University in February. RPI closes out the season with a trip to the North Country to take on St. Lawrence and Clarkson, before closing out the regular season at home against Princeton and Quinnipiac.
For the second straight season, rising senior John Kennedy will don the ‘C’ for the Engineers. The defenseman from Saginaw, Mich., was featured in all 39 contests last season, and collected his first collegiate goal against Quinnipiac University on February 19.
Joining Kennedy will also be classmates Bryan Brutlag and Chase Polacek, as well as rising sophomore Jerry D’Amigo. Brutlag, who was also an assistant captain last season, started the year on the blueline, but shifted forward for some added production on the power play. Brutlag also played in all of the Engineers’ games, collected seven goals and 11 assists for 18 points, of which two goals came on a power play and two were game-winners.
Polacek, a forward, finished a stellar season with 26 goals and 26 assists for 52 points, making him among the nation’s leaders in scoring. The Hobey Baker nominee, All-American, and ECAC Player of the Year ranked third in the nation in power play goals, and finished fifth for points and sixth overall in goals scored. The Edina, Minn., native was also eighth in goals per game with 0.67, seventh in points per game with 1.33, and 10th in shorthanded goals with two.
D’Amigo, one of RPI’s budding stars, comes off a gold medal victory with Team USA at the World Junior Championships back in January. The Binghamton, N.Y., winger was named the ECAC Rookie of the Year after finishing second among all league freshmen in scoring, with 34 points on 10 goals in 24 assists.
Class of 2014 Announced
Joining the Engineers for the 2010-11 season will be seven skaters—three forwards and four defensemen. Also returning for RPI will be 22 upperclassmen, including 15 forwards, four defensemen, and three goaltenders.
New to Rensselaer will be defensemen Nick Bailen, Bo Dolan, Patrick Koudys, and Guy Leboeuf. Up front will be centers Brock Higgs and Johnny Rogic, as well as winger Matt Tinordi. In addition, sophomore forward Greg Burgdoerfer will be available after sitting out a season due to the NCAA transfer rule.