Welcome ladies and gentlemen to year five or RPI Pep Band Alumni and Friends. Our fifth year has already started off with another outstanding Freakout! turnout. With football done 'till September, and hockey season well underway, there's a lot to talk about.
Men's Hockey: Engineers Stumble at Midpoint
It has been a wild first three months for the men’s hockey team. A fast start with a new coach led to a national ranking for the first time in several years, but recent games have not been overly kind, and after a 4-1-3 start, the Engineers head into the second half of the season with a record of 5-5-6.
After opening the year with an exhibition at home against Canadian school York and a 5-1 victory, the Engineers renewed their traditional rivalry with Boston University to start the season, attracting a sell-out crowd for a non-Freakout! game for the first time since the 1980s. The Engineers led 3-1 and 4-3 before settling for a 4-4 tie with the favored Terriers.
Next up was a road trip to Denver, the team’s major trip of the season, for a pair with the Denver Pioneers, coach Seth Appert’s former squad. The Engineers won 2-1 on October 20th for the first win over Denver in program history (after 11 tries), but fell 5-1 the next night. The win on Friday spoiled Denver’s homecoming.
Returning to the Capital District, RPI won their first tournament title in five years by taking the inaugural Governor’s Cup via a shootout win over local rivals Union and a victory against Colgate, both coming at the Pepsi Arena, soon to be known as the Times Union Center (by the time they hopefully return in March!).
From there, the fourth annual Black Friday was next on the ledger, and for the fourth straight year, a victory was the result, as Princeton fell in OT, 4-3. Quinnipiac, who swept the Engineers out of the playoffs last season, came in the next night and had to settle for a 2-2 tie. The following Sunday, perennial Hockey East doormats Merrimack came to Troy and were dominated by the homestanding Engineers, 4-1, which put the unbeaten streak at five games.
From there, things turned sour. RPI lost a home game to Sacred Heart for the second consecutive year, falling 5-4. The next weekend, in the RPI Tournament, the Engineers lost their own tournament for the fifth consecutive year after losing to Niagara 5-3, but rebounded the next night to claim a tie with Ohio State (despite blowing a 4-1 lead and having to come from behind to send the game to overtime) and took third place in a shootout.
Four straight ECACHL road games continued the sour streak, as RPI blew a 3-0 lead at Cornell and had to settle for a 3-3 tie, then blew a 2-0 lead at Colgate as they went on to lose 3-2. It was more heartache the next weekend, although it was a “better” tie at Quinnipiac after erasing a 3-goal deficit to force a 4-4 draw, but a 6-2 loss the next night at Princeton brought the winless streak to seven consecutive games.
The next weekend, the final weekend before break, saw a minor turnaround, as the Engineers held on to defeat a weak UMass-Lowell team 2-1 at Houston Field House.
The next several games will determine exactly where the Engineers will finish this season. They face a difficult Vermont team in Burlington in the Catamount Cup tournament, and then face either Union or highly-ranked St. Cloud State. Three consecutive home ECACHL games against Harvard, Dartmouth, and Union, await shortly thereafter, followed by a virtual home game in Schenectady at Union as the back end of a home-and-home series. If the Engineers can do well in the next six games, they could have a bright future heading into the core of the ECACHL schedule. If they continue to falter, the rest of the season could be the difficult rebuilding campaign that most had envisioned before the seasons started.
Some news and notes about the Engineers:
- Senior Jake Luthi is fourth in the nation among defensemen in scoring. He has 2 goals and 15 assists for 17 points in 16 games. He was first for several weeks in November. He also leads the Engineers in scoring, outpacing forwards Jake Morrissette, Seth Klerer, and Oren Eizenman, who all have 13 points each. Overall, Luthi is ranked 73rd in the nation in scoring, and tied for 9th nationally for assists per game.
- Morrissette leads the Engineers in goals with seven, tied for 82nd nationally for goals per game.
- Freshman Paul Kerins has 5 goals and 5 assists for 10 points in 15 games for the Engineers, which ties him for 38th nationally in scoring for freshmen.
- RPI is scoring 2.94 goals per game for the 33rd ranked offense in the nation, and allowing 3.25 goals per game for the 39th ranked defense. They are the 18th most penalized team in the country, averaging 21.3 penalty minutes per game.
- The Engineer power play has an 18.1% efficiency rating (24th in the NCAA), while the penalty kill is successful 83.3% of the time (28th). The combined special teams effectiveness (52.8%) is 12th best in the NCAA.
- RPI’s win over Colgate on October 29th was the first victory over the Raiders since March 2002, a span of ten games.
- The Engineers have tied Quinnipiac twice this season, stretching the winless streak against the ECACHL’s newest member to five straight games.
- RPI is now unbeaten against Cornell in three consecutive games, their second longest current unbeaten streak within the league behind the six-game streak against Clarkson, which goes on the line January 19th.
- The Engineers have been ranked as high as 16th in the USCHO.com poll this year, reaching that level in the poll of November 13 while sporting a 4-1-3 record. RPI is 1-4-3 since.
- RPI has won two shootouts this season (against Union and Ohio State), boosting their all-time shootout record to 2-1.
Current Ranks of RPI Opponents This Season (USCHO.com poll, December 18)
- #6 St. Cloud State (December 30)
- #9 Boston University (4-4 tie, October 14)
- #10 Denver (2-1 win, 5-1 loss, October 20/21)
- #12 Cornell (3-3 tie, December 1/February 10)
- #13 Vermont (December 29)
- #15 Clarkson (January 19/February 17)
- #17 Quinnipiac (2-2 tie, 4-4 tie, November 4/December 8)
- #20 Dartmouth (January 6/February 2)
- Others Receiving Votes: Niagara (5-3 loss, November 24), St. Lawrence (January 20/February 16), Sacred Heart (5-4 loss, November 17), Yale (January 26/February 24)
Women's Hockey: Engineers Begin Push to Playoffs
The women's hockey team got off to a slow start in their second season in
Division I, winning only one of their first nine games. Since then however,
the Engineers have really started to heat up, going 9-4-1 in their last 14
games, including a stunning 5-3 victory over the 10th ranked Princeton
Senior Sarah Daniel and freshman Whitney Naslund have lead the way for RPI.
Daniel leads the team with 10 goals and Naslund has a team high 14 assists
and 21 points. Sophomore Ashley Mayr has emerged as the replacement for
Rosina Schiff in net, recording a 2.30 goals against average and .898 save
percentage in 20 games this season.
With 10 games remaining, RPI sits in sixth place in the ECACHL with a 6-5-1
record. If the Engineers continue to play the way they have been, they have
a good shot at making the playoffs (top eight make it in women's) in their
first year in the conference.
Football: Engineers End Grid-Iron Campaign on a High Note
Well, this was an up and down year for the Engineer football team. The team had high hopes for an NCAA bid this year, bringing back all of its high-scoring offense while giving its youthful defense another year to mature. The promise looked to be holding early on this season, as RPI rolled through its non-league schedule with decisive wins over Endicott and Utica. The offense was scoring, and the defense held its two opponents to 17 total points.
However, as the team entered the league schedule, their fortunes began to change. While the defense held firm most of the game, the offense couldn’t score enough to overcome four fumbles, and RPI fell to Hobart at ’86 Field. A non-league drubbing of Becker seemed to be the ticket to get the Engineers feeling good about themselves, but the trip to the North Country erased those good feelings. RPI gave up 28 points in the fourth quarter to allow St. Lawrence to come from way behind to grab a 42-38 win. At this point the Engineers were 3-2, but 0-2 in the Liberty League for the first time since 2000.
The Columbus Day break seemed to be placed perfectly for the Engineers this year, as it allowed them to regroup to take on the rest of their schedule. Coming out of the break, the team seemed focused and determined, as it downed the Merchant Marine Academy, and then took on WPI for the Transit Trophy. While WPI outgained RPI, the defense forced seven turnovers and shut out the Engineers of Worcester 26-0.
Holding onto slim hopes of making the NCAA tournament, the team traveled to Rochester to take on the Yellowjackets. The Engineers started slowly, and ended the first half down 15-0. RPI was able to mount a strong comeback, but fell in the end 30-23. The team had no time to dwell on their tough loss, though, as up next was league-leading arch rival Union. The team put together their best effort of the year at ’86 Field, combining big plays on defense with an efficient offense to come up with a 24-19 win and the Dutchmen Shoes.
Although 6-3, RPI was invited to their seventh ECAC bowl, this time in the Northeast bowl against 15th-ranked Cortland. RPI dominated the Red Dragons, forcing seven turnovers and holding them to 200 yards of offense. The seniors led the way on offense, with Jay Bernardo scoring twice to tie the team record for touchdown in a career with 48, and Drew Taranto kicking four field goals to account for all 26 Engineer points in the 26-7 win. The team finished the season at 7-3, and are now 7-0 all time in ECAC bowl games. Senior tight end Jon Branche was named a second team D3football.com All-American, his third year as an All-American.
Looking Ahead to Reunion Weekend
Each year RPI Pep Band Alumni (and Friends) looks to improve on the year before, and find better ways to connect with our members. From the beginning, one of our events has been Pub Night at the Student Union. This year we'll be looking for feedback from you as we begin planning for Reunion 2007. What can we do to make it better? What other things would make you want to participate? Are there other areas or events where we can focus our energies to serve our loyal membership? Planning for this summer will begin sometime late February/early March, so look for e-mails on the list and PLEASE give us your input.
Before we begin our recap of this year's festivities, a huge thank you needs to go out to Sarah and Brendan for outdoing (not out doing) themselves on the lasagna dinner and after-party. I think one of the best compliments to their efforts are contained in two words: "I'm Stuffed."
Breakfast was a success as usual, and with a little help from the Latham 76 staff we were able to surprise "Daddy" Ray Kim with a little birthday celebration as well. Even though this year's game ended in a tie, it still felt like Freakout on stage. The band sounded great, and it was wonderful to see so many alums back in action. If you haven't already done so, be sure to sign up for the online Photo
Gallery so you can share your Freakout pictures.
We're looking for ways to make next year even better, so stay tuned this summer as we start planning for Freakout 2008!
It's been a slow quarter in the Life Updates department. Some big news out of New York State by way of Texas: Mike "Freakboy" Ben '98 has returned from the south! The Ben family has relocated to somewhere near the canadian border and have just bought a new house. Though they were unable to make it this year, we expect to see them at Freakout 2008.
If you have a life update you'd like to share, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First of all we'd like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. The pep band has been up to a lot since the last newsletter, so here's a run through of what we've been doing:
- Recorded a new album, Pep Band 2006, which can be downloaded here: http://pepband.union.rpi.edu/music2/. It includes mostly songs that weren't on the Pep Band 2001 CD.
- Traveled to Quinnipiac in November to see the women's team's first ever ECAC victory. The team was thrilled to have us there.
- Traveled to Union in December to see the women's team finish off their first ever ECAC weekend sweep.
- Ordered some new songs, including "Holiday" by Green Day, Hockey Night In Canada, "We're an American Band" by Grand Funk Railroad, and "Shake a Tailfeather" by Ray Charles.
- Began to redo the cheer sheets to make them more legible, and to increase the selection of cheers at out disposal. This should be finished by February 1st at the latest.
In the coming semester, we'll be traveling to Union (1/14), Brown (1/27), Dartmouth (2/3), and Harvard (2/4), all of which are men's hockey. We're expecting a large turnout of alumni and Red Army members (possibly upwards of 200 people), and it's rumored that Coach Appert will be speaking to most of these people at a local bar/restaurant before the game. We'll have more information on that as it becomes available. We'll also be playing all the home men's games from here on out and all of the home women's games that we'll be in town for, as well as any playoff games that we get to go to (with men's hockey taking priority over women's because of program longevity).
That should be about it for now....as always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, email us at email@example.com.
Gary & Chris
So, to recap:
issue: Hockey recaps, summer event planning, and more!
- For those outside of the Capital Region, the naming rights for Pepsi Arena have been acquired by the Times Union. This year's ECACHL tournament will be held at the Times Union Center, and tickets can be purchased through their website or through www.tickets.com.
- Thanks to all of you who made Freakout 2007 a success.
- Check out the APB Wiki at apbwiki.rpipepbandalumni.org
- Want to get involved in making RPI Pep Band Alumni (and
Friends) a success? If so, be sure to e-mail Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Be sure to take a look at the Message
Boards and Photo
Gallery! Both can be
accessed using the same account. To sign up, check out
the instructions in
the files section of the Yahoo Group.
- Please send
any other ideas/comments/suggestions/whatever to Chris
and Terry at email@example.com.