Appert, Engineers look for an improved effort

The Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst­itute hockey team won’t have time to stew over its 2-1 loss at St. L
PHOTOGRAPHER:

The Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst­itute hockey team won’t have time to stew over its 2-1 loss at St. Lawrence on Saturday.

The Engineers are back on the road tonight, visiting Niagara for a non-league game at 7.

RPI (7-4-1) didn’t have a great showing against the Saints. The Engineers managed just 15 shots on goal, which came a night after they cruised to a 5-2 win at Clarkson. The loss to the Saints didn’t sit well with RPI coach Seth Appert.

“We need to make sure we play properly,” Appert said. “I didn’t like our game on Saturday at all. We didn’t play hard enough. We didn’t match their physical intensity. They played hard. They came out and played desperate, just like you would expect team to play at home after losing the night before.”

The play of RPI’s forwards left a lot to be desired.

“I thought, at times, our ‘D’ didn’t move the puck as well as I liked them to,” Appert said. “But the ‘D,’ for the most part, played pretty hard. I thought that there were too many of our 12 forwards weren’t willing to play with the urgency that you need to against a team like St. Lawrence.”

The Engineers are facing a Purple Eagles team that has run into some tough luck.

Niagara (0-8-2) has lost four games by one goal, including two in overtime. Three other defeats have come by two goals.

“They look good on tape,” Appert said. “They’re fast, they play hard, and they have good offensive players. They outshot Michigan in Michigan [on Oct. 22]. They took Cornell to overtime in Cornell [on Oct. 30]. When you take a first glance at it, you think that they’re really struggling. But when you really dig into it, you see this is a pretty good team that, for whatever reason, has been on the wrong side of some tough games.”

This is the only game for RPI this week. The Engineers won’t play again until their holiday tournament one week from Friday.

“I like not having [to wait] the two weeks [to play],” Appert said. “I like the weekend off. It’s a good time for us, especially with the Alaska week, we haven’t had a weekend off. We’ve been pretty much full tilt. It’s a healthy time for us heading into a really important six-game stretch after Thanksgiving leading into Christmas.”

Notebook

RPI defenseman Mike Bergin is questionable with an upper-body injury. He suffered the injury in the first period of Friday’s game against Clarkson. . . .

Also on the injury front, forward Tyler Helfrich (ankle) will most likely not play. He hasn’t played since injuring the ankle Oct. 24 against American International. Forward C.J. Lee (lower-body injury), who didn’t play over the weekend, will be out again. . . .

Niagara is 3-1 against RPI. In the last meeting, the Purple Eagles won, 5-3, in the RPI’s tournament Nov. 24, 2006.

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