TROY, N.Y. – There's no denying that the season has not gone the way RPI anticipated.
The preseason second pick finished seventh in the ECAC, and instead of having some time off, now the Engineers are forced to play in the first round of the conference tournament this weekend.
In a tournament style, any team can get hot, and RPI is familiar with that falling victim to Brown's playoff run last year. The Engineers say the key in that series was Game One where they came out flat and lost.
Getting off to a fast start is the focus heading into this weekend against tenth seeded Dartmouth.
"You lose one game and you're in a real tough spot," player Bo Dolan said. "Once you get past the first two rounds of playoffs then you can't lose anything. We just got to get ready to go every night like it's out last."
"I think those guys have lived it now," head coach Seth Appert said. "We've been talking about it for a year. The understanding and importance of Game One and a short series and setting a tone; what you want the series to feel like and be like. You got to keep your edge this time of year. If you let your guard down, you lose a little bit of an edge, and with the margin of error being so tight you're going to be in trouble. And we want to be able to catch them this year."
"We saw it last year. We came out flat," player Mark Miller said. "We lost Game One and games two and three, we dominated Brown but we couldn't get it done, so that first game really sets a tone for the whole weekend."
The first game against Dartmouth is Friday, March 7. The Engineers are 2-0 against Big Green so far this year. The puck drops at 7 p.m. at the Houston Field House.