ECAC Journal: RPI, Haggerty starting to press

By Dan Guttenplan

After scoring 18 goals in the first 15 games, Ryan Haggerty's struggled to find twine. (Photo by Mick Neal)

It is no coincidence that the RPI hockey team's recent six-game winless streak overlaps the scoring slump of junior forward Ryan Haggerty (Stamford, Conn.).

Haggerty, who notched 18 goals in the team's first 15 games, has not scored in the last six, tallying just three assists during that stretch. The Engineers are 0-4-0 in 2014 and 0-5-1 in their last six, while scoring an average of just 1.75 games per game.

"Ryan wasn't going to stay on that streak forever," RPI coach Seth Appert said. "Regardless of who you are, it's tough to score in the second half of the season. There's a lot of 3-2 games, and teams are keying on him as they should. He hasn't scored in the last couple of weekends, but he played well at times."

Haggerty's best performance during the stretch came against Ferris State Jan. 3, when he took seven shots and hit two posts. However, the sniper was much quieter last weekend in losses to Quinnipiac and Princeton.

"Maybe last weekend I saw him pressing a little bit," Appert said. "I saw him trying to score instead of playing the game and letting the offense come to him."

RPI will need Haggerty to regain his scoring touch as the team moves into the final 40 percent of its regular-season schedule, suddenly sitting below .500 (8-10-2) after starting 8-4-4. Home ice and a bye in the ECAC Hockey tournament are the goals -- just like last year -- although a series win is paramount after the Engineers were the lone ECAC Hockey team to earn a bye last season that failed to win a postseason series.

"As a team, we didn't finish strong last year," Appert said. "Ryan didn't finish as strong as he started last year. I have full confidence he'll get right back in league action and have a high commitment to playing the game the right way. He won't go very long without a goal if he plays the right way. He's just too talented."

Player of the Week

Massimo Lamacchia, Brown University

Junior, Forward

Lamacchia scored a pair of goals to lead Brown to a 3-3 tie against Boston College Saturday. The junior gave the Bears a 2-1 lead late in the second period, and then scored his second of the contest early in the third, answering a Boston College equalizer just 25 seconds later for his fourth tally of the season.

Game of the Week

Yale at Clarkson (Friday, 7 p.m.)

First team to score wins? Clarkson is 9-2-1 when scoring first and 8-1-1 when leading after the opening period. On the other hand, Yale is 6-1-1 when scoring first and 2-2-3 when allowing the first tally. Yale senior forward Kenny Agostino has goals in five straight games.

 Power Rankings

1. Quinnipiac (17-3-5; 8-2-3): Sophomore goaltender Michael Garteig was 2-0-1 last week with a 1.66 GAA and a .926 save percentage in 181 minutes, 14 seconds in goal. For the year, Garteig leads NCAA Division 1 in GAA (1.74), wins (17), ties (5) and shutouts (4), as well as minutes played (1,513:02) and games started (25).

2. Union (13-4-3; 9-2-0): The Dutchmen lost their grasp on the top spot in the conference with a 2-1 loss to Quinnipiac on Friday. The Dutchmen suffered their first road loss, although the game was about as even as a non-overtime game can be. The teams were dead even on shots, 28-28.

3. Yale (8-3-4; 3-2-3): All of the sudden, what was once a concern for Yale heading into the season -- goaltending -- has become a strength. Freshman Alex Lyon earned the praise of coach Keith Allain after Yale's 5-1 victory over Harvard in the Madison Square Garden Saturday.

4. Colgate (9-9-3; 5-3-1): The Raiders extending their unbeaten streak to three games Saturday with a 3-2 victory over Vermont, and all three wins were against ranked opponents.

5. Cornell (8-4-3; 4-3-2): The Big Red were supposed to return to the ice Friday against UMass, but the game in Ithaca, N.Y., was cancelled due to a compressor failure.

6. Clarkson (13-7-2, 6-2-0): Clarkson finished the non-league portion of the schedule with a 7-5-2 mark against teams from Atlantic Hockey (4-0-1), National Collegiate Hockey Conference (2-0) and Hockey East (1-5-1).

7. Brown (6-6-3; 3-4-1): Bears junior forward Massimo Lamacchia scored a pair of goals to lead Brown to a 3-3 draw against Boston College Saturday. If the Bears make another deep run in the ECAC tournament, we'll look to that game as the turning point in the season.

8. RPI (8-10-4; 3-5-3): The Engineers are 0-4-0 in 2014. In the four games, they are averaging 1.75 goals per game and allowing 5.0 goals per game.

9. Harvard (5-8-3; 2-6-3): The Crimson have to be disappointed with the 5-1 loss to Yale Saturday at Madison Square Garden. The team was just starting to establish momentum with a win over BU and a tie against Quinnipiac in its previous two games.

10. St. Lawrence (8-10-2; 2-4-2): St. Lawrence senior forward Greg Carey is among the nominees for the Hobey Baker Award as he makes his second straight run for the nation's top award for college hockey players.

11. Princeton (4-15-0; 3-9-0): Freshman goaltender Colton Phinney had a 33-save performance in the Tigers' 2-1 victory over Rensselaer Friday evening before making a career-high 45 saves in a 3-0 loss to Union Saturday.

12. Dartmouth (3-12-2, 2-8-0): Just when you think the Big Green have righted the ship ... they lose 4-2 to UNH Saturday night after taking a 2-2 tie into the final three minutes. The Big Green have found ways to lose in the third period all season.

Twitter: @Dan_Guttenplan