Opening Faceoff: RPI’s Lange named Team Austria assistant coach for World Junior Hockey Championship

RPI men's hockey assistant coach Mathias Lange will be an assistant coach for Team Austria at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships next month in Edmonton, Alberta. (RPI Athletics photo)

RPI men's hockey assistant coach Mathias Lange will be an assistant coach for Team Austria at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships next month in Edmonton, Alberta. (RPI Athletics photo)

Mathias Lange played for his native country Austria in the 2004 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships. Eighteen years later, the RPI assistant coach and a former goalie for the Engineers is back at the World Juniors.

Lange was named an assistant coach for Team Austria for the World Juniors, which will take place Aug. 9-20 in Edmonton, Alberta. The tournament is restarting after it was canceled because of numerous COVID-19 outbreaks among the teams when the tournament was taking place in late December.

Lange will be working with Team Austria head coach Philipp Pinter.

“I’m extremely excited,” Lange said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “It’s an honor, obviously, to represent your country. I’ve been fortunate enough to wear the Austrian National team jerseys throughout my career, whether it was the under-18, under-20, or on a national team or on the Olympic stage, so it’s always special to be able to represent your country, whether it’s as a player or as a coach.”

RPI head coach Dave Smith is thrilled for Lange.

“I am really happy for Mathias to be selected as an assistant coach for the Austrian World Junior team,” Smith said in a text message. “He is a tremendous coach, and this brings with it positive exposure for our hockey program at RPI. Being around the best young players in the world is going to be a terrific experience.”

Austria’s chances of winning a medal are probably slim. Canada, Sweden and the United States are the teams most likely to win medals. The U.S., led by former Union College head coach Nate Leaman, is the defending champion.

“You want to win games,” Lange said. “At the same time, you’re realistic in who you’re playing against and what the level is. Historically speaking, Austria is usually more often than not part of the second division or Pool B or Division One as it’s called now. I was actually fortunate enough to play at the World Juniors. Austria.

“We’re going to be the underdogs, obviously. You always want to beat the top teams. Like I said, you’ve got to be realistic in what’s possible and what to do. But every game starts at 0-0. Anything can happen. We’re going to take it day by day, we’re going to work hard and we’re going to be prepared. At the end of the day, it’s going to be interesting to see how everybody does.”

Lange played in 108 games for the Engineers from 2005-09. He posted a 29-57-17 record with a 2.95 goals-against average and an .898 save percentage. He had two shutouts.

After RPI, Lange played professionally for 10 years in Europe. He was on Austria’s 2018 Winter Olympics team. In the only game he played, Lange made 34 saves in a 3-1 win over Norway.

Lange joined the RPI coaching staff in 2019-20 when he was named the team’s operations coordinator. In 2021, he was promoted to assistant coach. Lange is in charge of the Engineers’ penalty kill, as well as working with the goalies and recruiting.

Lange never thought much about coaching until he was getting toward the end of his career.

“I got into the hockey ops position because I knew I had to kind of just find a way into the college hockey world and pay my dues and learn and then just grow from there.” Lange said. “And I got the opportunity to do it at RPI, which was obviously special for a lot of reasons. I got fortunate enough that when a spot opened right away, Dave gave me the chance to become an assistant coach.”

Austria opens pool play Aug. 10 against Germany before taking on Sweden on Aug. 12. Austria faces the U.S. the following day, and then wraps up pool play against Switzerland on Aug. 15.


Former Union defenseman Jeff Taylor, a Clifton Park native, has signed a contract with the ECHL’s Adirondack Thunder, the team announced Thursday.

Taylor will join new Thunder head coach and fellow Clifton Park native Peter MacArthur.

“We’re excited to have Jeff join the fold for this season,” MacArthur said in a press release. “He’s an offensive-minded defenseman with local ties who keeps the opposition on their toes. Strengthening up our back end was a major focus for us this season, and Jeff is a big piece to doing just that.”

Taylor, 28, split time between the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack and the ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen this past season. He has played 162 career minor league games.

Taylor played in 149 games for Union from 2013-17 and had 18 goals and 74 assists. He was a part of the 2014 NCAA title team his freshman season. Taylor was selected in the seventh round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins.


ECAC Hockey announced its All-Academic Teams for men’s and women’s 2021-22 season.

On the men’s side, 295 players earned the honor. Locally, RPI had 28 players make the list, which tied Brown, Harvard and Quinnipiac for the most in the conference. Union had 24 players honored.

The Engineers named are Justin Addamo, Jack Agnew, Anthony Baxter, John Beaton, Nick Bowman, Jack Brackett, Dylan Davies, Zach Dubinsky, Jake Gagnon, Kyle Hallbauer, Louie Helsen, Rory Herrman, Jake Johnson, Mason Klee, Jakub Lacka, Jakob Lee, Ottoville Leppanen, Ture Linden, Ryan Mahshie, Linden Marshall, James McIsaac, Brett Miller, Altti Nykanen, Henri Schreifels, Shane Sellar, Lauri Sertti, TJ Walsh and Jack Watson.

The Union players are Trevor Adams, Matt Allen, Dylan Anhorn, Owen Farris, Cullen Ferguson, Fletcher Fineman, Collin Graf, Michael Hodge, Ville Immonen, Nathan Kelly, Josh Kosack, Connor Murphy, Nic Petruolo, Josh Phillips, Merek Pipes, Thomas Richter, Michael Ryan, Bram Scheerer, Andrew Seaman, Gabriel Seger, Ryan Sidorski, Chaz Smedsrud, Caden Villegas and Tyler Watkins.

Kosack, who won the ECACH Student-Athlete Award and the Hockey Humanitarian Award, and Marshal are two of five ECACH players to be named to the All-Academic team five times. The other three players are Brown’s Luke Kania, Clarkson’s Jack Jacome and Cornell’s Kyle Betts.

On the women’s side, RPI had 24 players make it, and Union had 17.

The Engineers named are MJ Alexander, Sara Bayne, Julia Blitz, Nyle Boyce, Sarah Bukvic, Meagan Byrum, Mikayla Capelle, Teeghan Dalby, Magdalena Erbenova, Lilli Friis-Hansen, Emma Hicks, Megan Hildner, Ellie Kaiser, Taylor Larson, Ashlyn Lewis, Jaden Mirek, Maddy Papineau, Maddy Peterson, Hannah Price, Amanda Rampado, Lauren Severson, Emilie Venne, Marah Wagner and Taylor Zahirnyi.

The Dutchwomen on the team are Ashley Adams, Celeste Beaudoin, Kaitlyn Ehmann, Maren Friday, Paige Greco, Olivia Groulx, Emma Hebert, Grace Heiting, Maya Jones, Meredith Killian, Emily King, Maia Martinez, Josie Mendeszoon, Cassidy Michalicka, Allison Smith, Katie Sonntag and Maddie Suitor.


Jessica Campbell, who was a forward on the Cornell women’s hockey team from 2010-14, made history recently when she was named an assistant coach for the AHL’s Coachella Valley Firebirds, who are affiliated with the NHL Seattle Kraken.

Campbell becomes the first woman to be an assistant coach in the AHL.

“I always had a belief as a young girl, playing boys’ hockey until I was 17, that I was equal and capable too. I’ve never focused on my gender,” Campbell said in an interview with ESPN’s Emily Kaplan. “Growing up, I never dreamed of coaching, because I didn’t see it and therefore didn’t know what that path looked like. But for young athletes now, it’s so important to have that visibility for them to understand they can literally be anything they want. Some of the guys I will be coaching, their daughters can now watch them have a female coach. And that opens up the conversation, which can inspire young girls for something they might not have seen as possible.”

Campbell collected 47 goals and 57 assists in 131 games for the Big Red, who reached the ECACH tournament final in her four years there, winning three titles.


Nick Sczerbinski was named ECACH Associate Commissioner on Wednesday.

Sczerbinski spent the past six years at Quinnipiac, serving as sports information director since 2018.  Prior to that, Sczerbinski served two years as assistant director of marketing and fan engagement for the school. He is a 2014 graduate of Quinnipiac.

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