October 25, 2013

ECAC Journal: Haggerty, RPI thinking NCAA tournament

By Dan Guttenplan

Ryan Haggerty leads the Engineers in the early going with seven goals in four games. (Photo: Mick Neal)


RPI forward Ryan Haggerty (Stamford, Conn.) isn't one of those players who claims he hasn't had a chance to size up the talent around the conference this early in the season. Not with the way his team's season ended last year.

RPI appeared primed for an NCAA tournament invitation with its highest finish (second) in ECAC Hockey regular season since the 1992-93 season. The Engineers rested up for their postseason run with a first-round bye in the ECAC Hockey tournament. Then, they promptly lost to seventh-seed Brown in the quarterfinals, effectively ending their season.

The worst part: They watched three ECAC teams — Quinnipiac, Union and Yale — make the NCAA tournament, and of course, Quinnipiac and Yale met in the national championship game.

"It was tough for everyone on that team last year," Haggerty said. "We knew we were better than what happened against Brown. That still leaves a bitter taste in everyone's mouth."

Determined not to fall short of the NCAA tournament again this year, Haggerty and the Engineers are off to a 3-1 start. Last weekend, Haggerty scored five goals on 14 shots in victories over Boston University and Sacred Heart. He had two goals, including the game-winner on the power-play, in a 3-1 win at BU Friday, and came back with his first career hat trick in a 7-1 win over Sacred Heart in the Engineers' home opener.

"I don't see it as a role of the team's goal-scorer," Haggerty said. "Obviously, as an upperclassman, I'm relied on as a top producer in goals and points. There's a core group of sophomore, juniors and seniors who will have a big impact all season."

RPI will open its ECAC Hockey schedule Tuesday when it hosts Harvard. Haggerty expects his team to be focused for each and every conference game this season.

"Obviously, with the way things ended last year, we know there's no easy game in this league," Haggerty said. "It's never too early to look around the league and expect tough games. Every team in the ECAC plays hard-nosed. We're known for that, and it's not easy to play a skill game against us."


Player of the Week

Michael Garteig, Sr. G, Quinnipiac

Garteig posted a series sweep of UMass Lowell over the weekend. Garteig stopped 21 of UMass Lowell's 22 shots on goal in a 3-1 win at Tsongas Arena on Friday. On Saturday, in the Bobcats' home opener, Garteig stopped 23 of the River Hawks' 24 shots on goal in another 3-1 win.

Game of the Week

Brown vs. Yale (Friday, Prudential Center, Newark, N.J.)

Defending national champion Yale takes the ice for the first time in the Liberty Hockey Invitational, along with Princeton, Dartmouth and Brown. Yale beat Quinnipiac in the national-championship game its last time out. Brown fell to Union in the ECAC Hockey tournament championship.


1. Quinnipiac (3-1-0): Jordan Samuels-Thomas (Hartford, Conn.) scored two goals on the power play last weekend in a sweep of preseason No. 1 UMass Lowell, making him the only player in Division 1 to score two power play goals last weekend.

2. RPI (3-1-0): With two wins last weekend, RPI is off to its best start since starting the 1999-00 season with a 6-0-0 record.

3. Cornell (0-0-0): For the first time in program history, the Big Red will visit The Cornhusker State when it takes on Nebraska Omaha for a pair of games this weekend to kick off the 2013-14 season.

4. Yale (0-0-0): The defending national champions open their season by playing in the 2013 Liberty Invitational this weekend at Newark's Prudential Center, home of the New Jersey Devils. The inaugural two-day, four game tournament features four ECAC schools, Princeton, Yale, Brown and Dartmouth, competing for the Liberty Trophy.

5. Dartmouth (0-0-0): The Big Green spent 10 days in Italy and Switzerland in late August and early September, playing against some talented professional teams on Olympic-sized ice.

6. Union (1-2-1): Union was swept at home last weekend for the first time in nearly two years when Lake Superior State came away with two victories at Messa Rink. In the second game, Union freshman goaltender Alex Sakellaropoulos was lifted from the game in favor of junior Dillon Pieri (Needham, Mass.), who made his second career appearance in a Union sweater. 

7. Clarkson (4-1-1): Casey Jones will be looking to become the first Clarkson coach to lead the Golden Knights to a victory against Colorado College in a two-game set this weekend. The Tigers lead the all-time series 11-0-3, including three victories in the NCAA Tournament.

8. Brown (0-0-0): Junior forward Matt Lorito was a named one of the top-five candidates from ECAC Hockey to win the Hobey Baker Award for the 2013-14 season, announced by SB Nation. 

9. St. Lawrence (3-1-0): Freshman forward Drew Smolcynski scored two goals in his first collegiate game Friday on the road at Ferris State. He netted both the Saints first goal in a comeback win, along with the game-winner midway through the third period as St. Lawrence split its weekend series winning game one, 3-2. 

10. Harvard (0-0-0): Following a groundbreaking ceremony last spring, Harvard announced the renaming of the Bright Hockey Center to the Bright-Landry Hockey Center in recognition of the support from the late C. Kevin Landry (Class of '66) and his family. Construction is now underway for a major expansion and renovation to the Bright-Landry Hockey Center, a project that will continue through September 2014. 

11. Colgate (2-2-1): Raiders coach Don Vaughan was not pleased with his team's lack of discipline in a 7-0 loss to Bowling Green Saturday.

12. Princeton (0-0-0): Senior Andrew Calof appears primed for a Hobey Baker run. He recorded a hat trick as the Princeton men's hockey team defeated Ryerson 4-3 in an exhibition on Saturday at Hobey Baker Rink. 

Twitter: @Dan_Guttenplan
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