Engineers hoping offense breaks slump against Tigers (with video)

After giving a less than stellar effort against Union in a 5-1 loss Nov. 15, Rensselaer Polytechnic

After giving a less than stellar effort against Union in a 5-1 loss Nov. 15, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute coach Seth Appert decided it was time to loosen things up for his offensively challenged squad.

The Engineers (2-10), who have been shut out in five of their 12 games this season, look to break out of their offensive woes tonight when they visit Ritter Arena to take on Rochester Institute of Technology (5-3-2) at 7:05 p.m. The game will be televised by Time Warner Cable Sports-3.

RPI is averaging 0.92 goals per game. Only Alabama-Huntsville’s 0.77 average is worse among the 58 NCAA Division I men’s college hockey teams.

The Engineers have scored just one goal in a game five times this season. The most goals they have scored so far is four against Minnesota State on Oct. 8.

“The one thing we’re trying to get through to our guys is let’s have fun while we’re competing,” Appert said. “Let’s not come to the rink [down]. When you’re struggling, it can be a tough place. The mood, and the feel and the makeup of the team can be tough. We don’t need that. There’s nobody happy about the record. We need to work to change that, but we don’t need to come in and have a death march in terms of our mentality and attitude.

“We have very good hockey players on this team. We need to start playing the way we need to play to win. We need to start playing more cohesive as a team so we can be effective and put ourselves in position to win. But at the same point and time, we need to have fun coming to the rink every day.”

Appert thought the team was doing a good job in the games leading up to the Union contest. After grabbing a 1-0 lead early against the Dutchmen, the Engineers couldn’t contain Union’s offense. Meanwhile, RPI’s offense struggled again.

So, some time off after the Union game was needed.

“We played three real good games heading into Union,” Appert said. “I thought we were awful that night. Didn’t like our team at all. Liked Union, so full credit to them. I said that night that they deserved to win. . . . We were flat, both in energy and execution. It was a good time to have it off.”

Appert held a three-on-three tournament Monday before having regular practices the rest of the week.

“[The time off] gave us a chance to recharge the batteries,” forward CJ Lee said. “We focused on some things away from hockey to get our minds off of it a little bit. I think that’s helped us. We’ve had a couple good days of practice, and we’re ready to turn it around Friday night.”

As the offensive struggles continued. Appert has consistently said his team needs to start winning games ugly. That means getting to the dirty areas to score goals, and playing a tight-checking game that frustrates the opposition.

“They understand that,” Appert said. “I don’t know if we need to continue to pound them with it. I think they understand that. Now, the guys the guys who embrace the way we need to play will play. And the guys that don’t won’t play. It’s that simple.”


RPI forward Patrick Cullen (upper-body injury) isn’t expected to play in the game, Appert said. He was injured in the Union game. . . .

Appert also said that forward Matt Neal (high ankle sprain) probably won’t be back before Christmas. Neal has missed the last the last seven games because of the injury.

“It gets a little better, and then he takes a step back,” Appert said. “It’s been frustrating. He’s probably better off breaking it.”

Categories: College Sports

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