RPI Pep Band (and Friends) Alumni Newsletter
Volume 5, Issue 2








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Well friends, another season has come to a close. While There were high hopes for both hockey teams this year, it's now time to move past disapointing ends and on to new things. Fortunately, RPI Pep Band Alumni (and Friends) is here to keep you company!

Men's Hockey: RPI Looks to the Future

After finishing the season in a tie for 8th place and a second consecutive first round exit, coach Seth Appert is juggling things up.

Appert dismissed junior-to-be D Reed Kipp and sophomore to be F Jordan Cyr from the team at the end of the season, citing his belief that neither will be able to adapt to his new, up-tempo, WCHA-style game. They join seniors Kirk MacDonald, Kevin Broad, Oren Eizenman, Tommy Green, Jake Luthi, and Ryan Swanson in departing.

MacDonald was honored at the end of the season as USCHO.com's Unsung Hero of the Year. He was also the runner up for the first ever Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.

The team is losing some familiar and cherished names, but the Class of 2011 is looking exciting indeed.

F Joel Malchuk (Dauphin Kings, MJHL - 5'10" 170, 7/16/88) is the last of the Fridgen recruits. The MJHL is one of the weaker Canadian leagues, but Malchuk has been a force there for the most part, especially with his physical play. In 63 total games with the Kings this year, Malchuk accumulated 30 goals and 45 assists, while taking 198 minutes in penalties. Some insiders have been comparing him to Brad Tapper or Bruce Coles - a guy who can score but has a hard time staying out of the box.

F Ben Contini (North York Rangers, OPJHL - 6'0" 175, 2/27/89) has also done well in a less respected Canadian junior league, with 22 goals and 21 assists in 52 games. Contini's size plays to his benefit as well, and like Malchuk has had his share of penalties this season but not anywhere near to the same extent.

D Bryan Brutlag (Academy of Holy Angels, MNHS - 6'1" 190, 5/25/89) in my opinion is the rock that the future of Engineer hockey will be built upon. A 1st Round USHL draft pick, Brutlag chose RPI over Minnesota and St. Cloud State because both WCHA schools wanted him to spend a season in juniors before playing college, while RPI offered not only a superior education, but immediate playing time. Having seen Brutlag play, I can confirm that he is the real deal - a defensive talent that we have not seen in Troy since Brian Pothier. In 28 games for AHA this season, Brutlag scored 4 goals, but more importantly had 49 assists, many coming through setting up highly touted Minnesota recruit Taylor Mattson. A true power play QB, he was the second highest scoring defenseman in the state and earned All-State honors, the only non-WCHA recruit to earn the nod.

F Tyler Helfrich (Ft. McMurray Oil Barons, AJHL - 6'0" 180, 7/2/88) split time this year between Prince George of the BCHL and Ft. McMurray. Both the BCHL and AJHL are considered top quality leagues. Helfrich is perhaps one of the most anticipated scorers of this year's class, with 35 goals and 51 assists in 64 games played between the two teams. Helfrich should hopefully be able to step in and replace either Eizenman or MacDonald with relative ease as long as his transition to the NCAA goes well.

C Scott Halpern (Bay State Breakers, EJHL - 5'10" 170, 3/14/87) is apparently no relation to former Princeton and current Dallas center Jeff Halpern, and he may take a little bit of time to adjust to play in the ECAC. Coming out of the relatively weak EJHL, Halpern totaled 11 goals and 17 assists in 48 games. The word on Halpern is that he's good with faceoffs and is an excellent defensive forward, which should help out with the penalty kill immensely.

RW Chase Polacek (Academy of Holy Angels, MNHS - 5'8" 170, 6/19/89) comes from the same place as Brutlag. Aside from having the added benefit of coming to the Engineers alongside someone with whom he is already comfortable playing with, Polacek brings with him 26 goals and 38 assists in 28 games played, which ranked him 28th in the state of Minnesota in scoring. Polacek was also an All-State honorable mention.

RW Kevin Beauregard (Hartford Jr. Wolfpack, AtlJHL - 6'4" 209, 7/1988) is going to be one of the largest players the Engineers have seen in some time. With Hartford, Beauregard racked up 17 goals and 29 assists in 45 games, but his biggest contribution is undoubtedly going to be with his size - his large frame should hopefully be effective in helping him outleg the opposition and muscle players off the puck down low.

D John Kennedy (St. Louis Bandits, NAHL - 6'0" 190, 2/1/1987) is sure to be a fan favorite from the get go - his full name is John F. Kennedy, Jr. As one of only six defensemen currently slated for next year's roster, he's sure to see plenty of ice time and will be depended on to grow quickly. A classic stay-at-home defenseman, Kennedy has tallied 3 goals and 13 assists in 65 games in juniors this year as of April 13th. Like Malchuk, he has a penchant for the box - 134 penalty minutes this season, which is a rate of over 2 minutes per game. He's a good complment to Brutlag's offensive-minded outlook. Kennedy is the latest in the long line of African American players at RPI, which includes the aforementioned Bruce Coles and Grahme Townshend.

Reportedly, Appert is also looking to add another defenseman to the fold before completing recruiting for this class. D Jeff Foss (Moorhead HS, MNHS - 6'2" 180, 12/12/88) is supposedly going to choose between RPI and Colorado College. D Ryan Grimshaw (US National Development Program U-17 Team, 6'0" 1/28/90) is being breathlessly discussed by Engineers fans on the Internet as he has been the focus of intense recruitment effort by SA, but he would most likely be part of the class of 2012.

Speaking of which, here's a quick look at who Appert's already landed for the Class of 2012...

  • RW Justin Smith (New England Jr. Falcons, EJHL - 6'2" 195, 4/4/88)
  • LW Patrick Cullen (Washington Jr. Nationals, AtlJHL - 6'0" 180, 2/7/89)
  • D Mike Bergin (Smiths Falls Bears, CJHL - 6'2" 185, 9/14/88)

Don't know as much about these guys yet. We'll find out more next year, but the early word is that these guys are just as exciting.

Here's the bottom line - Seth Appert is definitely reaching into places where RPI has not recruited in some time, and is already landing some big names. We landed Brutlag over some of the top teams in the country, we're supposedly a finalist for the services of another big name in opposition to CC, a big-time WCHA school, and we're a serious contender for a highly touted USNDPT player.

Next year may still be tough, but there seems to be light at the end of this tunnel...

Next year's schedule, as we know it right now (subject to change)...

  • Saturday, 06 October - Red and White Game/Skate with the Engineers
  • Tuesday, 09 October - BENTLEY
  • Friday, 12 October - vs. Minnesota (Ice Breaker, Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN)
  • Saturday, 13 October - vs. Boston College/Michigan (Ice Breaker, Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN)
  • Friday, 19 October - at Army
  • Saturday, 20 October - SACRED HEART (Homecoming Weekend)
  • Friday, 26 October - vs. Union (Governor's Cup, Albany, NY)
  • Saturday, 27 October - vs. Colgate/St. Lawrence (Governor's Cup, Albany, NY)
  • Friday, 02 November - YALE (Black Friday)
  • Saturday, 03 November - BROWN
  • Friday, 09 November - at Harvard
  • Saturday, 10 November - at Dartmouth
  • Friday, 23 November - AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL (RPI Tournament)
  • Saturday, 24 November - NOTRE DAME/ST. LAWRENCE (RPI Tournament)
  • Friday, 30 November - at Princeton
  • Saturday, 01 December - at Quinnipiac
  • Saturday, 15 December - MIAMI
  • Sunday, 16 December - MIAMI
  • Saturday, 29 December - vs. Colorado College (St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, FL)
  • Sunday, 30 December - vs. Notre Dame/UMass (St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, FL)
  • Saturday, 05 January - vs. Maine (Portland, ME)
  • Friday, 11 January - CORNELL
  • Saturday, 12 January - COLGATE
  • Friday, 18 January - at Union
  • Saturday, 19 January - UNION
  • Friday, 25 January - at Clarkson
  • Saturday, 26 January - at St. Lawrence
  • Friday, 01 February - QUINNIPIAC
  • Saturday, 02 February - PRINCETON (Big Red Freakout!)
  • Friday, 08 February - DARTMOUTH
  • Saturday, 09 February - HARVARD (May be rescheduled due to Beanpot)
  • Friday, 15 February - at Colgate
  • Saturday, 16 February - at Cornell
  • Friday, 22 February - ST. LAWRENCE
  • Saturday, 23 February - CLARKSON (Senior Night)
  • Friday, 29 February - at Brown
  • Saturday, 01 March - at Yale
  • 7-9 March - ECAC First Round
  • 14-16 March - ECAC Quarterfinals
  • 21-22 March - ECAC Final Four (Albany, NY)
  • 28-30 March - NCAA Regionals (Albany, NY)
  • 3-5 April - NCAA Frozen Four (Denver, CO)

Thus, the Engineers will have at least 11 games against teams that played in the 2007 NCAA Tournament, and possibly a 12th. That's a pretty tough schedule, but hopefully it'll be a trial by fire for the Engineers as the road to recovery continues.


Women's Hockey: Ladies Hope to Build on Strong Finish

The women's hockey team got off to a slow start in 2006, their second season in Division I, starting the year with only one win in their first nine games. The ladies didn't let the slow start get them down, as they clawed back with seven wins in their next 10 games, including league victories over Quinnipiac, Cornell and a sweep or Capital Region rival Union. After starting 2007 with a tie and a loss, the Engineers picked up their biggest win of the season with a 5-3 victory over the then 10th ranked Tigers of Princeton. RPI continued their winning ways, winning three of their next five before falling in to a season-ending eight game slump, the last two in the ECACHL quarterfinals to top-seeded Dartmouth.

Despite the slow start and the tough luck at the end of the season, the Engineers came out of their first season in the ECAC with a lot of hope for future years to come. Freshmen Whitney Naslund and Allysen Weidner, and sophomore Jamie-Lynn Stewart led the way for RPI, scoring 30 goals and assisting on 39 between the three of them. Sophomore Ashley Mayr led the way in goal, playing in 32 games, racking up a 11-20-1 record with a 2.64 goals against average and earning third team all ECACHL honors.

At the year ending banquet, five awards were given out. Freshman Laura Gersten and Rossli Chace took home the Most Valuable and Most Improved Player awards respectively. Senior Sarah Daniel, who ended her career with 52 goals and 39 assists, took home a hat trick of awards, winning the Scholar-Athlete Award, Bill Cahill Memorial Award, and Willie Stanton Award.

Although it is not official the Engineers have three recruits coming in to replace departing seniors Daniel and Ciara Libaridian. They are forward Kendra Dunlop from Granum, Alberta, defenseman Victoria Germuska from Tilsonburg, Ontario and goalie Sonja van der Bliek from Toronto, Ontario. Germuska chose RPI after making visits to SLUt, Dartmouth and Harvard.

With 19 ladies returning next year is looking very promising for this young but now experienced team.


Changes For Reunion Weekend

File this one in the good news/bad news department. As many of you know, Pub Night started off as a good way to tie in with Reunion Weekend festivities and was a nice event to help get our organization off the ground. As more emphasis was placed on Freakout and Pep Band Alumni Night, interest in Pub Night (and Reunion Weekend in general) declined. Give our attendance for the event last year, RPI Pep Band Alumni (and Friends) feels that Pub Night was fun while it lasted, but it's time to try something new.

So the good news is that we're looking to be doing something new this year, and we're looking for feedback from our membership to figure out what that something new is going to be. We've heard a number of ideas tossed about over the last few months, ranging from a BBQ to a road trip to street hockey.

This is where you come in. And yes, that means it's time for another poll. So please go to
and let us know what you'd be interrested in. The event doesn't even have to be during reunion weekend.


Life Updates

This edition brings us an update from Yuri Koester '05 (Trombone, Manager 2002-2004). Yuri, who works for Tickets.com, is moving back to the Albany area in May to support the Times Union Center as their Client Services Representative. Be sure to say hi as he will be getting season tickets for the RPI games next season.

If you have a life update you'd like to share, please e-mail us at pepband@rpipepbandalumni.org.


From The Managers

Hello Alumni!

Another hockey season draws to a close, and with it you may expect the band to be winding down, but we’ve been busy since hockey season was cut short at Colgate, and still have several events coming up before the end of the semester. But first, elections!

Elections were held on Saturday, March 24, and resulted in two new officers. Mike Franke defeated Steve Malinski in the conductor race, while Gary Russinko (two terms?!) and Natalie Semczuk are now writing this column and will be doing so for the next year.

No need for any repeat introductions, so here’s one from Natalie:

Hi! I'm Natalie and a freshman this year. I'm dual majoring in Science, Technology & Society and Electronic Media, Arts, & Communication (a mouthful!). I currently play flute in the Pep Band, and am probably playing sax next year. I'm excited about working with Gary for the rest of this year and next - it should be a good season!

Now back to the third person for a review of what the band has been up to lately and a preview of what’s planned in the coming months:

The band traveled 5 times since the last newsletter, playing men’s games at Union and Brown, the men’s overnight trip to Dartmouth and Harvard, and the first round of the playoffs at Colgate. With playoff hopes dashed, the band prepared for elections and the off-season, only to be contacted by the Quinnipiac Pep Band and brought back into service to help play at the ECAC championship game between QU and Clarkson.

Relations with other bands (Quinnipiac and Colgate in particular) have been very good, while Clarkson’s band continues to stay planted on the unfriendly side of the fence (especially since we played opposite them in Albany). It remains to be seen if that relationship will ever improve, but that’s an issue for next year. :)

The band will be expanding its horizons in the coming weeks as it performs at the annual spring RMA concert at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Sunday April 22, at 1pm. 25 members of the band will be performing some of our more technical and intricate pieces (old and new) for the concert after several rehearsals specifically working on them. We’re excited to see how it turns out, as it will be a learning experience for everyone involved.

Finally, we plan on playing at Accepted Students Day as has become tradition, to kick off our recruiting efforts for the coming year. Admissions has indicated that the number of attendees will be up significantly from past years, so we’re hoping to get a good jump on generating interest among the freshman class. We’ll likely cap off the year with a performance at the Relay for Life as we did last year, before heading into finals and the summer break.

As you can see, a lot’s happened since the last column, and there’s a lot left to come. As always, if you have any comments, suggestions, or questions, never hesitate to contact us at pepband@rpi.edu.

-Natalie & Gary

The Managers


Final Notes

So, to recap:

  • Congratulations Natalie and Gary on your election as Co-Managers for the 07-08 season.
  • Congratulations also go out to Mike Franke on his election as conductor.
  • If you haven't already done so, please go to the APB Wiki at apbwiki.rpipepbandalumni.org and contribute your stories.
  • A quick reminder - if your e-mail address will be changing, please be sure to update your Yahoo profile with the group, or send me your new e-mail address so you can be added.
  • We're looking for feedback on what event should replace the Reunion Weekend Pub Night for 2007. Let us know what you think at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RPI_Pep_Band_Alumni/surveys?id=2187667
  • Want to get involved in making RPI Pep Band Alumni (and Friends) a success? If so, be sure to e-mail Chris at farrar@azhrei.net.
  • 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 pepband@rpipepbandalumni.org.
Next issue: Summer time, student orientation, football preview, and event news!