With 11 forwards already on the roster for the 2008-09 season, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute men’s hockey coach Seth Appert wanted to create season-long competition for playing time.
And because six of the Engineers’ eight recruits are forwards, no one will be able to rest on their
The forwards who will join the Engineers in the fall are Alex Angers-Goulet, the brother of RPI senior forward Matt Angers-Goulet, Patrick Cullen, Christian Morissette, who is not related to the recently graduated Jake Morissette, Josh Rabbani, Justin Smith and Jordan White.
The other recruits are goalie Allen York and defenseman Mike Bergin.
“These eight student-athletes will continue to push our program and our returning players to higher levels of success,” said Appert.
The Engineers are coming off a 10th-place finish last season in ECAC Hockey, going 6-13-3 in the league and 11-23-4 overall. They went 3-18-1 over their final 22 games, and scored three or more goals in a game just four times during that stretch.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily ideal, long term, to have this many forwards,” Appert said shortly after the school officially announced the recruiting class Tuesday. “At the same time, there are a lot of players who have had opportunities through 80 or 120 games in their career to show that they can be a real high-level contributing forward to our team, and helps us be a contender in the ECAC. If that’s not happening, we need to continue to bring in the type of talent to contend.”
Angers-Goulet, Rabbani and Watts are the top three scorers coming to RPI.
Rabbani had 20 goals and 28 assists in 53 games for the North American Hockey League-champion St. Louis Bandits. He had four goals and eight assists in the playoffs.
“Rabbani had a great year as a rookie,” Appert said. “Josh is a player that had scored, and produced points and helped his team win at every level he’s played. In midget hockey, he won a national championship with Honey Baked. He was one of the leading scorers in the prep school league for Berkshire.”
Watts had 15 goals and 27 assists in 35 games for the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League’s Aurora Tigers. He also brings some feistiness, with 74 penalty minutes.
“Offensively, he’s got a good stick. He’s got some wheels,” Appert said. “Above and beyond that, one of the key reasons we took him is a very edgy player, maybe in the Kris Draper mold.”
Angers-Goulet had 12 goals and 28 assists in 44 games for the British Columbia Junior Hockey League’s Langley Chiefs. He was named the team’s playoff most valuable player after collecting seven goals and eight assists in 12 games.
“He’s a legacy, with his brother being a senior for us,” Appert said. “I very much enjoy coaching Mathieu. [It’s] a great family, hard-working young men. Alex followed his brother’s lead in terms of training in the weight room. I think he’s going to come in, maybe, as one of our most prepared freshmen because he’s had a little more of a glimpse into how you need to train to have success at the Division I level.”
Cullen and Morissette come from the U.S. Hockey League, where they were rookies last season. Cullen had eight goals and 18 assists for the Indiana Ice, while Morissette had eight goals and 19 assists for the Green Bay Gamblers.
Smith had 10 goals and 13 assists for Langley.
York will challenge Mathias Lange for playing time. A sixth-round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in last year’s NHL draft, York was 24-5-3 with a 2.24 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage for the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Camrose Kodiaks. He led the Kodiaks to consecutive appearances in the Royal Bank Cup Canadian Junior “A” championship.
Bergin had 11 goals and 18 assists for the Central Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Smiths Falls Bears.
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