It’s been four years since RPI hosted a playoff series and that last one didn’t exactly end all that well with ECAC newbie Quinnipiac sweeping the Engineers out of the playoffs in two games. The last time Brown and RPI met in the playoffs, it was 2005 and the games were in Providence, Rhode Island. Brown swept that series in two games.
Of course, anyone who dares to bring distant history between these two teams into play to come up with a potential outcome is crazy and should not be trusted. In fact, don’t even let that person have regular scissors, give them safety scissors and only allow them to cut construction paper very poorly with them. I’d also suggest keeping them away from the Elmer’s glue too because they might ingest all of it.
Now if we’re going to do the right thing, we’re going to look things over by comparing what the teams did this year and for Brown, despite the 11th place finish, it’s a year of accomplishment and they’ll enter the playoffs with a sense of fearlessness. Why not? They went into last year’s playoffs as one of the worst teams in the country and knocked off the fifth seeded Harvard Crimson. This years team is decidedly better but they’ll get a bigger test than they did last year in dealing with RPI.
RPI goes into the playoffs this year sitting in the exact opposite position they were in last year hosting the 11th seed rather than being the 11th seed. Last year’s team went into the playoffs playing a little bit better and capitalized on then freshman goalie Allen York’s stellar play in sweeping out Dartmouth. This time around the expectations are much higher and winning in the first round is a necessity, but they’ll get a taste of what they doled out to Dartmouth last year as Brown is going to make life difficult for the Engineers.
Brown’s plan will be to pressure the RPI puck carriers deep in their own end and to bottle up the neutral zone to keep RPIs free-wheeling attack at bay and to eliminate chances. It’s not fun to see, but the key for RPI to loosen things up is to score first and get a couple of them. The other key for RPI is to play smart. Brown was effective at drawing penalties against RPI at their matchup in Providence this year, whether they were real or not is up for debate, but they drew them nonetheless and if there’s a fact of life in the ECAC its that the men in stripes are going to be wildly inconsistent. You can’t really prepare for it but you have to know what to do just in case things get out of hand one way or the other.
I know, that sounds stupid but it’s a way of life in the ECAC… At least until it’s the semifinals and the finals when things get cleaned up a lot. Go figure.
Many folks are banking on this series to be short and sweet and starting to look forward to an RPI-Union playoff series next weekend. I’m not much of a fan of looking past anyone, but if you’re a fan this is what ends up happening a lot of the time as it is. RPI is going to have to earn just about everything this weekend if they’re going to come out of this weekend alive. All season long, Brown has played everyone very tough and they don’t allow other teams to do anything easily against them and that’s certainly going to be the case this weekend as well.
Brown doesn’t fear being the Cinderella team and playing with nothing really to lose can be a benefit to a team like this that will come out and play tight, system hockey to keep things close so that a lucky bounce here or there can turn the game for them. Essentially everything I’ve said about Brown is a long-winded version of what Joe Glads at INCH had to say about them.
As for self-servingness, I’ll be providing color analysis of this weekend’s games for WRPI radio and with the bonus that the game will also be carried via video thanks to RPI TV on UStream. It’s their video and WRPI’s audio, so you can actually see if we’re making up what we’re talking about. Keep in mind, we don’t have access to this video as we’re doing the game so yeah, if we screw up that’s our bad.
Audio stream of WRPI is available by clicking here.
The UStream coverage from RPI-TV is available here.
These links will be available for all the games this weekend, so bookmark them for future use.