The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute varsity skaters from Troy, N.Y., descend on Boston Garden tonight in search of their second upset victory in the ECAC Division One Playoffs.
The eighth-seeded Engineers, who edged topseeded UNH, 7-6, in overtime last Tuesday, meet second-seeded Harvard at 6:15 p.m. in the semifinal round of the ECAC Tournament.
The Crimson skaters, having crushed Providence, 9-3, last Tuesday, will try to vault their second hurdle tonight in the race for their third ECAC Championship in Harvard history. Former coach Cooney Weiland led the Crimson to victory in 1971 and 1963; last year Harvard lost to Clarkson in the quarterfinals.
The RPI icemen have registered impressive upsets this year, although they stand 14-13-1 overall with a mediocre 9-9-0 ECAC record. Beside their overtime win at UNH, the Engineers boast a 9-3 victory over Clarkson, an 8-2 victory over Boston University, a 5-2 win over Cornell, and a 7-1 trouncing of the Larries.
The Crimson currently holds a 16-8-1 overall record, standing 16-6-0 in ECAC play. Harvard has won 10 out of the its last 11 games to collect the Beanpot Championship and the Ivy title.
"We're all willing, ready, eager to go--everyone's in good shape," Crimson coach Bill Cleary said yesterday. "I haven't seen RPI play, but we don't meet too many teams that make us alter our style. Our game is skating, and we've done pretty well."
Top scoring sophomore Barry Martinelli leads the RPI attack, centering the first line for freshman wingers Dino Serra and Pat Hahn. Martinelli has earned 50 points on 24 goals and 26 assists, while Serra and Hahn have notched 35 and 32 points respectively.
The Engineers' hero in the UNH victory, freshman Rick Smith, plays on the second line with junior Don Hearns (36 points) and senior Greg Bull. Last Tuesday in only his sixth varsity game, Smith scored his first two career goals, breaking a 4-4 tie in the second period and winning the contest in overtime.
Senior Don Cutts (4.38 goals-against average) will guard the RPI net.