FLIP OF A SWITCH
After dropping two games to Notre Dame, Engineers look to pick up ECAC points at Yale and Brown
TROY>> RPI Hockey enters December with a few roads trips, a good break, and an urge to flip a switch after a busy final week of November which consisted of a home and home series with UMass-Lowell before a trip to South Bend, Indian to take on the No. 5 Fighting Irish in a two game series.
“They have good structure, they have good talent, their goaltender, especially Friday night, played very well,” said RPI Head Coach Dave Smith on the Notre Dame program. “When you’re building a pro- gram, as we have talked about, you can see what depth does. Their first line got the empty net goal, but their second line got one, and their third line got one. We want to have that depth, and that experience, and that skill.”
RPI lost to Notre Dame last Friday night 5-1 and the following Saturday night 3- 0.
In those losses, RPI generated 70 shots exactly. Just one goal crossed. Freshman defenseman Kyle Hallbauer was able to score his first career goal off of rocket from right above the hash marks. The shot was well placed above Notre Dame Goalie Cale Moriss’ blocker
and tucked right under the crossbar.
“It’s obviously a great accomplishment getting your first goal,” said Hallbauer. “To do it at Notre Dame is pretty awesome, but we were down 5- 0 at that point, so you can only live up to it so much and I think I was more fired up trying to get the boys back into the game.”
Another first since the last time we checked in on the RPI hockey team was Owen Savory’s first career win against UMass-Lowell on November 23. The freshman goalie has earned himself more time in net as of late, starting both games against UMass-Lowell and a game two start against Notre Dame on December 1.
“Anytime you can play in a big atmosphere like that is unbelievable. I was pretty happy with the boys. I think they felt comfortable with me in there and I felt comfortable getting in there,” said Savory on getting the start against Notre Dame. “I think they were confident with me in there which makes me feel good.”
Prior to his last tree starts, Savory came in for relief of Linden Marshall against UMass-Amherst in the first game of the season back on October 12, and played 37 minutes against Princeton on November 10.
Savory stepping up turns eyes to the net now. With Savory building confidence, the battle for the only spot in between the pipes be-
comes wide open between not only Savory and Marshall, but also senior Chase Perry.
“Owen has worked hard and I think he has put a good challenge onto Linden and Linden hasn’t been his best recently, but he’s also working through it,” said Smith. “That’s what good teams do. We talk about depth up front, depth in goal is real important and I thought Chase came in and played real well in relief Friday night.”
It’s a competition for time in net now. Savory, though pinned with a 1-2 record, carries a .931 save percentage with a 2.28 goals against. Marshall, currently 3-7 on the season, has a .889 save percentage with a 3.97 goals against. The senior Perry, made 17 saves and allowed just a goal in his relief efforts in the 5-1 Notre Dame loss.
“I think our relation-
ship started in the summer and it only continues to grow everyday on the ice as we continue to push each other,” said Savory on the relationship between the goalies all battling it out for the one spot. “Especially for that guy who is getting that start, the other two guys are working hard to get another start and I think that makes your goaltending battle better and your goalies better.”
Looking ahead to the weekend, RPI travels to New Haven, Connecticut to take on Yale Friday night before a trip to Providence to take on Brown. A big emphasis will have to be on generating offense off of the shots the team is taking.
“We talk about the ECAC’s and we play to win every game, but this is the standings. This is two points in the standings,” said Smith on the week-
end and if there is much of emphasis on ECAC implications. “Our strength of schedule is in our favor if we can roll off some wins here. Our focus is on Yale and continuing to get better everyday. I’ve challenged our group to change our mindset a little bit.”
That mindset, as Smith puts it, is to no longer feel that a game being “close” is adequate. Smith wants the Engineer’s to flip a switch and come out chasing a victory and two points in the ECAC standings.
“We’re going to Yale, who we respect, and we know that if we aren’t on our game, we won’t win,” said Smith. “If we have a little bit more confidence and a different mindset, we may go in there and come out with two points, so we need to put that in our back pocket as we travel. We can’t go in there and wait to see what happens.”
RPI Hockey Head Coach Dave Smith draws up a gameplan in the middle of the second period against Quinnipiac on November, 9at the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, Conn.
RPI celebrates Jakub Lacka’s goal on October 13, at the Houston Field House.
RPI Hockey celebrates after Meirs Moore’s game tying goal in the second period against Union on October 26